You're aging well*

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Right on schedule, pre-birthday panic has hit.
Grace at high school graduationIn eight days, I will be 28. Seeing it written out, it seems like a perfectly reasonable age to be. 28. Going to my ten year high school reunion next month (just like Romy and Michelle...). 28. In my late 20s. 28. Homeowner, dedicated partner, holder of a reasonable job. 28. All grown up.

But I don't feel all grown up. I've been in some kind of weird second adolescence all summer, all the way down to the unusually bad skin. And y'all, my first adolescence was really nothing to write home about--I didn't need another one, particularly not one in which I have way more responsibilities and weigh 50 lbs more. Good God.

I'm told more and more often these days that really your 20s are not all they're cracked up to be and it is better to be in your 30's, and I more or less believe this and have been saying for a couple of years now that I am looking forward to 30. But if that's true, why is 28 filling me with such dread? Partially it's the usual "I haven't done as much as I should have by this advanced age" bullshit, which I know enough at this advanced age to know is bullshit, but partially it's something else. I feel like I'm crossing some sort of threshold that I only barely know is there, making some kind of decision I'm not totally cognizant of. And I'm not sure I want to cross, or sure it's the right decision. This responsible, adult life that my 28 year old self has created--is it really what I wanted? It's certainly not what I'd have expected of myself fifteen years ago, or even ten. Nobody ever thinks she's going to end up this much like everybody else, I guess, and it was likely just childish hubris for me to expect it, but I did expect it. Not so much that I was going to be more than this, but just that I was going to be different than this.

And as it turns out, I'm going to be 28 next week, and I'm doing pretty much what's expected of a middle-class white girl in her late 20s in the U.S. Why do I find that so very disappointing?

*apologies to Dar Williams, of course


For me I think it was that the window of doing crazy stuff is closing. Like, if I quit my job, and then travelled for the next two years, it would negatively impact my career and stuff. Yet there was a time when that would have been acceptable behavior. Four years ago, if I didn't have my shit together, came to work hungover, or couldn't pay my bills, it was pretty expected. Now, it would make me look like a loser. That's kind of lame. Not because I want to do this, just because it isn't an option as much.

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April 2012

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