I turn a year older next month and i’m not quite sure how to feel about it.
Not that i’m scared of getting a year closer to 30 because, to tell the truth, i’m pretty excited to see what my 30s will bring. Whenever I mention that to friends however, they usually look at me like i’m lying, which, I can understand since i’m a female, that gender raised to fear age from the day we’re old enough to know what aging really means. That fear that is insidious and so very very hard to shake off, and I can’t say it was any kind of easy for me to not let it burrow inside, not with a mother who collected anti-aging creams like they were collectibles and a father who’s romantic inclinations only seemed to encompass the qualities of “younger”.
Thing is though, even though next month I will finally be solidly in my mid 20’s, I can’t wait to leave them behind, and I really wish with all my might that everyone older than me would stop telling me to enjoy my youth, to stop cocking their heads to the side in apparent sympathy at my naiveness to think the outrageous thought that getting older is going to be something fantastic. It’s an odd kind of self-hate, at least as it appears to me, to be in your 30’s or edging towards your 50’s and tell me words like “gosh, you don’t know what you’re saying, I wish I still lived in my 20’s”.
Part of it might be a generational thing, or maybe it’s a cultural thing or maybe it’s just the people I associate with. Whatever it might be though, the outcome is the same: me clicking my mouth shut like a steel trap and nodding in agreement as in my head, I ask the same question over and over again.
“Why? Why do you hate aging so much? Is it the idea of death? Of edging closer to being forgotten? Is it the greater possibility of falling to illness? It is the fear of your body no longer giving what it once could easily spare?”
If it was any of those things, I would understand and sympathize. But it never feels like it’s any of these things. The sentiment of “youth is wasted on the young” always seemed to come from a place of regret and i’ve yet to meet a single person who has lived even half of a full life express any combination of those words. The women I admire and aspire to emulate, they revel in their age and settle more and more comfortably in their skin as the years pass and to them at least, their age is not a weakness or something to look on with regret, if it’s even a think to remark on. It is years of experience, of learning, years full to bursting with more and more and more life.
Look, i’ll be honest here and say my early 20’s have been a surreal kaleidoscope off a terrifying mess, and maybe i’m hoping with age I will learn how to keep myself together better. But I don’t exactly expect the next 5 years to be filled with any less of a disaster, because I think I will always be the kind of person who drives off into the middle of the night with a half charged phone and only snacks in the backseat. What I DO expect however, is to approach my 30s with more discipline towards the things I’m passionate about and more temperance towards the people I love.
I want to fill my life with learning, experience and eventually have the kind of face that speaks towards character more than beauty. I don’t want to be the kind of person who tries to instill fear in the heart of the young girl sitting across from me when she tells me she’s excited to get closer to her 30’s, because what does that achieve? I want to be in my 40’s one day and be able to say, “I can’t wait to see what my 50’s will bring.” And sure, perhaps that makes me come across as unbearably naive- but it’s better than coming off as bitter.
Songs on Repeat:
Blood Bank– Bon Iver
Make Me Feel Better– Alex Adair
Go Out and Love Someone– Pogo
La Mer– (cover by)Julio Iglesias
Fire Escape– Foster The People
Runaway– Yeah Yeah Yeahs
November– Max Richter