Why, then, am I so flustered about this age thing? Honestly, I have no idea… other than what Sally said: it’s just sitting there, like some big dead end. And it’s not even MY dead end — it’s a socially constructed idea of an age that should be something like the death knell for single women (and quite possibly the first handful of dirt thrown on the coffin of single single mothers).What it really is: this is bothering me, even though I don’t want to — and shouldn’t be, dammit! — be bothered. Does this mean I should finally buy some eye cream and start washing my face before I go to bed?
Remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally, when Sally is heartbroken that her ex is marrying the woman who was supposed to be his rebound girlfriend, and Harry comes over to her house, and she says …AND I’m gonna be forty and he says uh, in eight years and her response is But it’s there. It’s just sitting there, like some big dead end? Well, I remember when that movie came out and I was sitting in the Brauntex theatre with my guy friends (all of whom were impossibly in love with Meg Ryan) and we all laughed… hahaha, those silly women in their 30s who are already older than we ever wanna be and fret way too much about turning forty. So imagine my surprise when I was thinking the other day about how my best friend’s fiancé is forty years old but he doesn’t seem that much older than I am because… uh, holy crap… he’s NOT that much older than I am. And the entire world slowed down for more than a few moments as I thought about all my friends who turned forty last year and the ones who are turning thirty-six this year and my ex-husband is turning forty-eight and my uncle — my “young and cool” uncle — just turned fifty and how did THIS start happening without my even noticing?
It should be made clear that I’m not one of those fanatic anti-aging people. I have the beginnings of wrinkles and my skin isn’t as smooth as it used to be and my breasts are sagging (which I blame more on almost four years of breastfeeding than gravity) and a zillion other “signs of aging” are on the horizon, but I still forget to wash my face before I got to bed 79% of the time and haven’t yet figured out why I need to buy eye cream, much less apply it with my pinky because the skin is so supposedly “delicate.” Most people are surprised that I’m as “old” as I am — although this usually occurs when disclosing my age to fellow alcoholics, so I either look like a young thirty-four-year-old or a washed-up twenty-seven-year-old — take your pick. And I happen to like my age because I know so much more now than I did ten years ago and I have great relationships and I have fun in ways I never could have back then. Yeah, I might have had perky breasts and my ass was 1000% less cellulite-y, but my life is better now than it ever has been, and if anyone wants to argue that a dimple-less ass is more of an asset than self-esteem and health and awesome friends and happiness, then every single one of those twenty-two year olds with no sense of direction are yours for the taking.