Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Old AF

On the eve of my 40th, five years after starting this blog as a creative outlet for my satirical rants, I find myself checking in to see where I'm at.

I'm old. I'm actually old AF. So old that I say AF IRL. And while that is probably embarrassing, I DGAF. Something nice happened after 40 years. The confidence I so desperately lacked in middle school, high school, college, post college, the ghost years and beyond, arrived eventually. I am now blessed with some of that old person confidence, and in addition to saying batty things to school age children, I am also able to write and perform with my sole interest being my own happiness. Old person confidence results in ladies arguing with the deli that the turkey is not sliced thin enough or old men sending their soup back because it was too salty. For some it is an affirmation of their firmly rooted beliefs, for some a general acceptance of who they've slowly become, and for others it is the ability to say and do things they maybe once found terrifying or daunting for fear of offending, disappointing, or merely failing to entertain.
And on the eve of 40 (and here's where the offense comes in) I have managed to create a life that I am genuinely happy with.

In 40 years you learn things.
I have learned that I don't have regrets. I have things that I recognize I could have done different, but firmly accept that everything I have done has led me to today. The good, the bad, the tears, fights, moments of weakness, moments of strength, laughter, joy, difficulty has all made my life what it was, what it is today and that only I get to decide what it will be tomorrow. 
I don't have regrets, but I do have a few tips for myself that might have made some parts a bit easier.

I should have appreciated being pushed around in a stroller more. My kids are unappreciative of the amazing thing that is a free ride while being fed snacks and taken to fun places. My next shot at being pushed around while I talk nonsense and occasionally shit my pants comes way too late in the game. I would like that free ride now, in the middle, when my tired self can really appreciate it.

Now it seems silly, but a quick note to my ten year old self to tell her we all get pubic hair could have stemmed a bit of panic back then. Cause as the first of my friends, I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty freaked out right at the onset. 

I'd go back to my teenage self and tell her that no, the boys you crush on and pine for will never love you. You are a swan who will take another 20 years to peak, and then another five years after that to realize you've peaked. But, not to be sad about those boys because one day you will get to watch them grow bald, fat and old on a yet to be invented social media platform on a yet to be invented internet. And while it seems no one will ever love you now, #itgetsbetter

I'd go back to college and see myself skipping class to hang with my friends, eat bad food and watch cartoons and say: yes! Keep it up. These are wonderful years that you are experiencing in the best way possible. You're not a scholar and when you do want to learn more later in life, you'll just be able to pull your personal phone out of your pocket and ask an electronic woman for more information on it. We're all Jetsons in the future, and tonight is probably ladies night somewhere. 

I'd go back to my drunk self in her early 20s and make her say a little prayer of thanks that easily accessible and portable cameras are still a few years out, and while it's sad to only have 24 or 36 photos from most significant life events, you also don't have 150 photos from very insignificant events to constantly haunt you the rest of your life.

I'd check in with my single self and tell her that 25 is exactly when you should be learning about yourself. You might not ever have it all figured out. But the hyper emotional journals you are currently writing will provide hours of shocked amusement when you reread them 15 years from now. Take it down a notch kid!

And when those cameras do start appearing everywhere, I'd remind my aging young lady self to tell the camera person to shoot from above and to always put your hand on your hip when you're on the end. Fat arms affect all of us.

I would point out to my single self that yes, married life is about getting to be with your best friend all the time, but that sometimes being with your best friend involves both of you sitting on your phones until one of you decides to engage with the other who is still on their phone and then getting annoyed at how rude your best friend can be sometimes.

I'd remind my newly married self that in the talks about where to live and how many kids to have and how to raise them there will be trickier conversations about underwear and when they're ok to be put in the communal laundry and when they must be washed separately.

I'd tell my kidless self that it's not ok to judge the parents you see for giving their kids popsicles at 11am. Because one day you're going to see another parent with kids with lollipops before 9am, and you're going to silently acknowledge the day they've already had with a sympathetic nod and a moment of gratitude that thankfully you haven't had one of "those" mornings in a while.

I'd point out to my new parent exhausted ass that you don't need to pretend like you've got this. You don't have to appear to be doing everything perfectly. In fact, the other parents hate the ones doing it perfectly. We like the ones who are fucking it up like we are. There's something very comforting about knowing the entire next generation is fucked, not just our kids.

I'd tell myself that my kids will remember my emotional outbursts, inappropriate comments and cursing. And hopefully they will learn to control their outbursts, make appropriate comments and curse, in the right context... eventually. We don't need them dropping c-bombs in nursery school.

I'd sit myself down, on the eve of 40 and say you've done ok. 
You've made some friends that are accepting of not being in constant contact because when we are together, it is like no time has passed. 
You've fucked some shit up. 
You've lost touch with people that should be in your life and gave too much time to people that should have been dismissed sooner. 
You've had nights that you can't remember and that's too bad and you've had nights you can't remember and that's for the best. 
You've lost your temper when you should have kept your cool and you've held in your rage when you should have rained hell on people. 
You've set an example for your kids that includes the nuances and complexities of what life is. You express anger, hurt, fear and sadness, but also teach them how to be compassionate, kind, friendly and fun. 
You eat a lot of donuts. You also go for the occasional run and drink a cup of green tea every now and again. 
You eat a few more donuts, but then justify a family dance party in the name of fitness. 
Your varicose veins are bad, but you realize a smile on your face is all you need to look your best. And mascara.
You laugh a lot. 
You make other people laugh. 
You make your kids laugh. 
Some people you will never make laugh.
On the eve of 40 you're doing ok, which is actually pretty good. And pretty good makes you happy.

Oh, and don't worry about all the stuff you haven't done yet. You're not done yet. 

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