Friday, April 7, 2017

37 Sucks*

3 year old Becky - still full of hope!

No one has called me "young lady" in quite some time. I almost never get carded, and the songs I liked in high school are considered "oldies" by people in their 20s. A lot of my friends from high school have teenage children... at least one is already a grandmother! And yet here I am. 37 years old. With an increasingly furrowed and wrinkled brow, a spattering of grey hairs fighting to see the light of day, and a body that reminds me regularly that I'm no longer 22. 

I haven't been sitting idly watching the world go by, mind you... I've kept myself plenty busy for the last 37 years! But I feel like there is SO much I let pass me by. So many experiences, people, feelings... I can't believe it has taken this long for me to finally be ready to live my life as I had always hoped to live it.

Now, I have friends and family who are reading this thinking that I'm a brat. I know I've been lucky to do, see, and experience the things that I have done in my life. And there are also going to be people who read this thinking, "But 37 is so young! You still have so much time!"

Don't worry. I know how good I have it, and am extraordinarily grateful for the same. I am also acutely aware of my age. I always have been. I have been reminded my entire life of how lucky I am to have lived this long too, which makes these feelings of regret feel all the more heavy now that I'm out of my middle thirties. 

Women in my family don't live very long. The grandmother I was named for passed away when she was just 36... my other grandmother (with whom I share a middle name) passed away just 7 years older. I had a nightmare when I was 10 that I wouldn't live to see 23 (making turning 23 a milestone that I celebrated hugely). So, you would think that I would live each day to its fullest in appreciation of same. You would think that I would pursue my dreams with wild abandon. And you'd be wrong.

I spent my mid-to-late 20s and early 30s trying to figure out solutions to problems that didn't exist, aiming for goals that were not my own, and worrying incessantly about the opinions of others. I carried the burden of self-imposed guilt for my little successes in life and never fully enjoyed them, punishing myself with isolation and giving so much to others that I forgot to ever give to myself. Even multiple health scares in my early 30s weren't enough to change my ways and toxic thoughts. Why are we always so hard on ourselves? Le sigh. I digress...

So, what does all of this have to do with 37 in particular? While not a milestone age for most, 37 has always symbolized a coming of age in my head. People can call me ma'am, and it actually makes sense. I can't buy clothes in the juniors department and get away with it. I will never again wear a bikini and feel comfortable about it. The scars on my body are here to stay. And I can no longer pretend that I'm not aging... If I want to make a leap into a new venture, the clock is running and it's running fast. I need to do the things I want to do now while I'm still young enough to enjoy them.

37 sucks. It's closer to 40 than 30, and this is hard (as a woman in particular). I still feel 23. I still want to go out! I want to call in sick and take a beach day. I want so badly to stay out late, dancing to jazz so long that I eventually take off the heels and hold them in my hands. I want to eat cake, and drink beer, and still have the stamina to run a 10K the next day.  I still want to wait to decide if I want kids. But I can't. I can't do these things because I'm old. Seriously... stay young as long as you can. Because 37? It sucks. But I'm still going to try to enjoy it the best that I can.

--- Becks

*Note: I started this blog post on the eve of my 37th birthday. I decided not to post it, as its sort of sad. I revisited it this week. I had a weird March, and an even weirder start to April. I recently proposed a business idea to a friend, and it just might pan out. We'll see. But in the meantime, I've been thinking about this blog post a lot so I decided to reopen it. Add to it. And I guess I'll post it. Because I've always thought that saying your ideas and feelings out loud helps you actualize your true intentions. Worth a shot!