So, as you may or may not know (or care,) yesterday was my birthday. I celebrated 23 years of managing not to die. Now, I realize that 23 is not a particularly significant birthday. I wasn’t granted any new rights and there’s nothing particularly milestoney about 23. But it did get me to thinking in a way that few birthdays have.
It began in Kohl’s. (That’s where Gandhi did all his mediation, right?) Usually I shop in the Junior’s department. But as I approached, all the clothing looked positively teensy, like it was made for babies, and some of it was covered in skulls. The Misses department, however, was featuring Vera Wang designs, with mature fabrics (silk and chiffon as opposed to jersey) and mature colors (brown and cream as opposed to fuchsia.) So I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m an adult now, this is just another part of me growing up.” And I gave it a try.
The clothing that I tried on that night were more horrible than any I’ve experience before, and I’ve done a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army. Some of the comments I received from my husband were that they made me look pregnant, gave me pointy boobs, looked like a row of theatre lights, gave me bat wings, and drew similarities to an elderly woman. My body clearly was not made for the Misses section of Kohl’s. So what now? Do I squeeze myself into the teeny-bopper threads of the Junior section or drown myself in the drab fabric of the Misses?
I have a secret that you’re all going to hate me for. Ready for it?
I cannot wait to be 30.
I know, right? So many women around the world are lying and saying that they’re 29, and here I am whining about being 23. You can hate me later.
Because really, I believe that 23 might be the most awkward age ever, second only to 20. I clearly don’t fit in as a young college co-ed anymore; the last thing I want to be is one of those pathetic people who can’t let go of their “glory years.” Yet, college was the last place that I felt that I really fit. So new to “the real world,” I feel like an impostor, like a little girl in mom’s shoes. With barely 6 months out of college, no full-time job, no kids, no world experience, I feel as if I have no credibility to talk about anything. The only thing I can speak about with any kind of credibility is college, (which no one’s going to listen to because as a graduate I am now part of “the man,”) and what it’s like to be a 23 year-old trying to find my place in the world (which no one’s going to listen to because anyone younger than me thinks I’m boring and anyone older than me still hates me for complaining about being 23.)
The thing of it is, I want the confidence and self-assurance that I dream comes with 30. I’ve met many 30-somethings who are still youthful and sexy, (because 30 is the new 20, right?) but what’s more, they know what’s going on. They’ve figured out how the game is played, and even if they still don’t know how to beat it they at least know what the rules are. I want that. I know I’m still young and there’s still plenty of time to do everything I want to do, but I’m tired of being young and full of potential; I want to figure out where I’m headed and start getting there. I want to run the race instead of looking for the starting line. I want to find the treasure instead of looking for the map. I want to write a brilliant blog post instead of one full of pukerific analogies.
But since none of those things are happening today, I’ll learn to be content with 23. Because 7 years from now, I’ll be writing a post about how much I hate being 30 and wish I were 23, when I had few responsibilities and could still drink beer with my cereal without remourse.