Sunday, August 10, 2014

This Is 35

When I was younger, I had a very specific image in my head of what my life would be like as an adult. I would be married, have children, be a famous costume designer, and have a dog named Albert. I wrote about this image a few years ago and my struggle to understand what it means to be an adult. When I was in my teens, I thought 25 was so old and 35 ancient. Age is pretty irrelevant; there are teenagers who are more adults than some of the people I see everyday and some "adults" that will always be 16. And that is my problem: where do I fit into this whole thing?

I hoped that when I turned 35 there would be some magical moment on my birthday where I would just get it. I would understand what I'm supposed to be doing in life and know that I am what I wanted to be when I grew up. That magical moment did not occur on my actual birthday BUT I did get to meet John Waters and learned that he had never been to an Outback Steakhouse until he started his hitchhiking book. New experiences happen at the weirdest moments. (Read his book Carsick - it's really funny.)

Flash forward to the Saturday following my birthday. I decided to have a birthday party this year since 35 is a milestone birthday (according to my mom). It was a bowling party. I love bowling. Any activity where you can combine junk food (snacks are important), beer, and special shoes is a success in my book. I was talking with one of my friends during the party about turning 35. She turned 35 in April and had a phenomenal roller skating party to celebrate. She told me that it took two months to adjust to the idea of being 35 (she was at two months) and I should report back when I came to my two month anniversary.

Well here we are. I have been 35 for two months. There's still been no magical moment of "This Is 35" but I have come to some realizations over the last two months about this whole adult thing. What better way to discuss than a list?
  • One of the greatest joys in life is having cereal for dinner. Frequently. I actually have cereal for dinner more now than ever before, including college. I'm not a huge fan of cooking (although I love to bake) and cooking for one is horrible. I end up having to eat the same thing for days or I freeze the leftovers and then promptly forget about them. My co-workers like to go out to lunch so I tend to have a big lunch anyway so cereal just makes more sense. Or I'm suddenly very European.
  • I excel at being a good rock and roll citizen. Old Lady Concert Rules are not just something my crankier self came up with because I hate fun and people. Peter Frampton has even entered the fray and taken drastic measures to make concerts a fun and safe space for all. If you can't respect Old Lady Concert Rules stay at home.
  • I am a feminist and you can deal with it. I know that feminist is a very loaded word for a lot of people. You need to get over it. As I've explained before, I believe in feminism in the way that I believe it was intended: the equality and full humanity of all women and men. I don't hate men (I love men) and I'm not here to tell you that your traditional values are terrible. But I don't like making less money than men for doing the same job OR having people (Congress, the Supreme Court, corporations, fundamentalist religious organizations, Fox News) make decisions about my body and my rights to make choices about my body OR the belief that I am less of a woman because I don't have a husband or children to take care of. Y'all, women are more than their wombs and we need to stop defining woman and womanhood in these terms. 
  • Let's all geek out together. I love that we live in a time where geekiness about anything is encouraged. The fandom sphere is vast and welcoming (except when Comic Con attendees are acting like total d-bags). Even if you haven't been reading Marvel Comics (or insert any book, tv show, or comic) since you learned to read, you can catch up and be part of the fun. Recently, I had a lengthy conversation with the intern working for my department this summer about comic books, the DC v. Marvel universe debate, the reboot of Red Sonja, and a female Thor. She and I also discussed feminism and Cat Woman. I love our intern; she gives me hope for the future. We have yet to discuss Guardians of the Galaxy but we'll get to it this week.
  • It's okay to hate the gym. I hate going to the gym. I've had some very negative gym experiences in my life and I don't feel the need to continue to repeat them. That doesn't mean that I don't care about my fitness and health. I got a FitBit in February, stopped drinking soda, and am much more aware of what I eat. Gyms aren't for everyone; the key is finding what you like to do and doing it. I walked 17,333 steps in one day two weeks ago and it was an exciting accomplishment.
  • Youths. I enjoy making fun of the youths as much as the next person. Guess what? They're making fun of us too. Not everyone under 30 is a terrible, self-absorbed millennial who doesn't understand the value of hard work and applying themselves. They're not all special snowflakes but neither am I so let's just work together in peace and harmony.
  • I like pineapple patterned sweaters. Personal style can be a challenge. I would consider my personal style somewhere between classic and slightly punk librarian. I like really bright colors and patterned sweaters (the pineapple sweater is a recent addition) and stripes. I like wedge heels and would kill for a pair of Doc Marten Mary Janes like I had in the late 90s. (Why didn't I keep those?) I don't understand women over the age of 8 who think rompers are attractive. I have come to terms with skinny jeans (I own exactly one pair and they are purple). I finally know what works for me and I have stopped trying to be a person I'm not because of fashion. Nina Garcia will probably never love what I wear but that's totally cool. 
  • Take a break and enjoy recess. No really, take a recess break. Even NPR did a story on the importance of play and having fun in adulthood. Having grown up responsibilities tends to make us all forget about having fun. Two Fridays ago, my brother and I spent the day at Kings Dominion and it was awesome. We rode all the roller coasters (some of them twice) and stopped at Sonic on the way home for slushies. It was a great day and it reminded me of the importance of taking a break. Have fun. Be a silly. Life's too short to be serious all the time.
  • Always take the bonus cupcake. I shouldn't have to explain this but I will anyway. When I bought a dozen cupcakes for my birthday party, the woman at the bakery gave me a bonus cupcake for my purchase. Of course I ate it and then ate another one at my party. We shouldn't deny ourselves the simple, good things in life. Sometimes you need a bonus cupcake and sometimes you need a new purse. Just follow Donna and Tom's advice and "treat yourself".

Two months in to being 35 and that's what I have figured out so far. Reality is way more fun than what I imagined as a youth. Let's do this, second half of my thirties!

Photos by me

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