Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"You make me feel so young:" adultness, one in an occasional series

I have a big birthday coming up. It's time to come clean on how old I'm gonna be...

Sally is an inspiration to me. Truly. A month ago, when I was getting ready to take time off of work, and be smart about it--one pay period, then vacation, then back to work, she cheered me on. She said it was a mark of an adult to know what you needed and ask for it. And wouldn't you know, I was able to hold my word to my employer and just take one pay period and a week of vacation. It is so empowering to know that I was able to say, I need this, and follow through.

Yesterday, we road-tripped to Eastern PA, just us girls, to wish her grandma a happy 89th. We spent five hours each way in the car for a four hour visit. After lunch, I was exhausted, and asked the hostess, Candy, if I could excuse myself and take a nap. Sally was so thrilled that I was able to know what I needed and ask for it. This being a grown-up, and having your friends notice, it feels amazing!

Being an adult is also doing the yucky thing you don't want to do when it has to be done. (Like paying bills, doing dishes, laundry...)


Working on that.

But what I really want to say is...um, I'm going to be 35 in November, and up until last week, I was really scared to admit that to the world at large, as I often hang with a much younger crowd. Most of the folks I hang with at the Open Door were born in the 80s!! And I love them. And I don't think of them as a "them" but as my peers, who happen to be chronologically-differently abled. (That was a joke...) Sometimes I have more in common with twentysomethings than I do with men and women my age, because as a single woman, I haven't marked a lot of the milestones that many thirtysomethings have marked: a marriage, children, divorce. (That last one is unfortunate, but a reality.)

And I may seem younger or more youthful, so I can get away with it, or whatever, but I've come to a place where I have to be 35. I want to shout it from the rooftops, wear it like a badge of honor--hey world, I made it!! (We can wait til November, though...)

I guess I've been scared because 35 for so long has been like the old maid cut off. You know, there was that whole Newsweek study twenty years ago:

"According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, NEWSWEEK reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry." (Marriage by the Numbers, Newsweek online article.) Recently, they retracted that quote, said it was a bad choice of words and irresponsible reporting. Women ARE marrying later.

There are actual books at my library called "How to get married after 35."

Yesterday at Sally's grandma's 89th birthday, her grandma asked me, "Do you have a family?"
I was totally blindsighted, didn't realize she was tactfully asking me if I was married with children, and I said, I have a brother and sister. She said, oh where do they live? It was easier to just say Virginia, even tho the young one is moving to Austin as we speak. And what brought you to Pittsburgh? School.

Later in the car, Sally brought this up and I bust out laughing--I had no clue at the moment the question was being asked what the subtext was. She said, I heard Grandma ask you that out of the corner of my ear and I waited to see what you would say.

I've had actual conversations with guys, discussing the age thing, and them being surprised that I was that old, and me thinking, egad, could we have avoided that discussion? Because I'm meeting mainly younger guys and you know, the trend in May/December, the GUY is older. For a while, if I made reference to the early nineties, when I was going dancing at clubs in Pittsburgh, Pete would say, oh, yeah, when I was 13 or so and I'd snap back, I know how old you are.

But this week especially, I've come to a place where I need to be 35 in November. All the crap I've been through couldn't fit in someone in a younger package. It's been predicted that I will marry younger, and personally, I would be fine with that. I have met men that are 26 that are more mature than men I know that are 37.

So, let it rip! Sarah Louise will be 35 in November, and God willing, I'm throwing a big party. I wish I could pay for plane tickets from Australia for some of yins to come...

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12, NIV)

It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. (Colossians 3:11, CEV)

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
(Proverbs 31:30-31, NIV)

May these words be true in my life as I move and breathe in my life.

Time to get ready for work...y'know, like a grown-up.


Amy A. said...

Happy almost birthday!

MsCellania said...

Aw, honey; I got 15 years on you and I don't think I'm even middle-aged yet.

And remember, I didn't get married until I was 44. And only then because I was preggers and needed dh's insurance! And that is exactly how he proposed to me: "OH YES WE ARE TOO GOING TO GET MARRIED! You need my insurance!"

But -- I didn't move in with him for 6 months after our marriage - I wouldn't move in until he had
for 13 loooooooong years.

PJ said...

Age is power baby! When I turned fourty I grabbed the world by the um...tail and haven't let go. I love being in my fourties and the fifties are just going to get even better!

I even love that I have a great big grey streak in my hair.

yt said...

What a powerful post! Good for you!

Sarah Louise said...

Thanks! This went through three drafts and many tears.

Amy said...

I have so often felt just the opposite. That I may be 35 but I feel like I am 45. That I have lived too much for just 35 years. And then there are times when I look at my son and i can't figure out how it is that I'm his MOTHER. I mean, i can't be old enough to have a 10 year old!! Enjoy who you are, no matter what the tally of the years add up to. Live as if you had no idea what year you were born.

Poppy Buxom said...

Like Vickee, I'm staring at my sixth decade.

We think you're a WHIPPERSNAPPER.

Lazy cow said...

What date in November? I'm 40 on the 12th. It's just a number (that's what I'm saying now!)
A girlfriend who turned 40 this year had a great-aunt say to her recently: "so, you never married?" Like it was too late.Ridiculous. I think it's often the 'older' generation (not your fabulous blogger friends though) that see being in your 30s and single as a bad thing. My mother has been unhappy in her marriage for years, but still thinks it is the pinnacle of a woman's existence to get married (why? so everyone can be as unhappy as she is?) Oops, didn't mean to go on so.