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Posts Tagged ‘growing up’

When I was younger – think, about 7 years old or so – I remember taking an acting workshop. Nothing fancy, just a short class one summer at the local community center, most likely. (Mama can fill in the details.)

The point is, I remember one exercise where we had to come up with a character. We had to decide the age, sex, career, mannerisms, etc. of this persona that we were going to portray. When the teachers (who were probably in their early 20s) came around and asked me about my character, I told them, “I’m a middle-aged woman.

So about how old do you think that is?” one of them asked me.

Oh, you know, 30,” I responded, nonchalantly.

I don’t remember the teachers’ reactions, but I have to imagine that it was either a laugh, a groan, or somewhere in between.

I’ve thought about that character exercise a lot in the past few months, for one very specific reason. And that’s because today, according to my younger self, I have officially become middle-aged.

And I’m surprisingly okay with that.

I loved my 20s – a lot of good things happened. But, as with any decade, there were also a number of shitty things, too – things that I’m not sad to leave behind.

I’ve never really been one for dwelling on the past. I do love old stories, and can get nostalgic with the best of them, but more often than not, I focus on what’s ahead.

So in that spirit, I decided it was time for the birthday list to make a comeback – a little 30 for 30 of the non-ESPN variety.

It’s an ambitious list, but it’s worth a shot. I just hope my newly middle-aged body is able to keep up.

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Recently I’ve been wondering where the time has gone.

There were times when it felt like it was taking forever to get pregnant in the first place.

And then, once we found out we were, that first trimester of not making it public seemed to drag on and on. How do you sit on a secret that big?

Then I hit the second trimester, regained some energy, started showing, and found out that the little tumbler inside my belly is a boy. Everything became a little more real, and even more exciting.

But now we have about 11 weeks left, and I’ve entered the freak-out stage.

I’m still excited, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also keenly aware that I will have a human coming out of my body just a little bit later this year. And I (and Husband) will be responsible for his life.

And, as I said to a friend who has two beautiful little girls, despite all my confidence and experience caring for other people’s children, all of a sudden I’m terrified that I’ll do it wrong with my own.

She assured me that babies are tough to mess up, and that parenting is a process, but still I worry.

  • I worry about breastfeeding (especially after reading this article).
  • I worry about having the “right” bottles or diapers or swaddling blankets – none of which I can test out before he gets here.
  • I worry about knowing how to take care of him and making sure we get him to all the appropriate check-ups and appointments.
  • I worry about becoming so sleep-deprived that I can’t focus on conversations, or so consumed that I can’t talk about anything else (kind of like I’m doing now).

I worry about many, many things, and then I worry about more.

But at the end of the conversation, Mom-friend said this:

You just have to come to terms with the fact that something is going to have to give. Your house might not be clean, you might not have clean underwear, and you might have stale bread – but you will have a happy home filled with people you love and so the rest doesn’t matter.

So, for the next 11 weeks, I will attempt to commit that to memory, and try to breathe and stay calm.

And I will also buy extra underwear. Just in case.

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At my five year high school reunion I got sloppy drunk and ended up making out with a guy PiC was trying to set me up with. I’m not proud of it, but I was 23 years old and acting like it.

Half a decade later I showed up to my ten year reunion, Husband in tow, Baby on board, and stone cold sober (obviously). And I have to say, this time around was much more enjoyable.

hsgirls

I saw the usual suspects (minus PiC, sadly, who got sick at the last minute), but I also chatted with some friends that I really haven’t kept in touch with at all.

One girl was also pregnant, so we swapped stories and watched the (slight) reunion debauchery while sipping our ginger ale.

Another girl is moving to Abu Dhabi soon for her husband’s job, so we all shared travel tales.

Guy friends that I thought would never grow up or settle down have done both, and are a good reminder that none of us are exactly the same people we were ten years ago.

The strangest surprise of the night, though, was entirely unexpected.

It wasn’t the girl who came up, hugged me, kissed my cheek, and loudly professed how happy she was to see me (even though we probably haven’t spoken since 1997).

It wasn’t JB who would randomly come up behind me and put her hands on my belly throughout the night.

It was, surprisingly enough, a work-related rumor. As I was chatting with N, one of those guys who I thought would never grow up, he mentioned it.

“So, you’re still in DC, right? And you work at The Heritage Foundation?”

“Yes, I’m still in DC, but, no, I work at The Office. But it’s strange – you’re the second person tonight who’s asked me about Heritage specifically.”

“Yeah, there’s a rumor going around that you work there, and I was surprised you worked at a conservative think tank. I’m glad to hear it’s not true!”

Maybe this doesn’t seem so odd, but it struck me for a few reasons:

1) Growing up (i.e. when most of these people knew me) I wasn’t especially political. And I definitely never talked politics enough to be labeled one way or the other.

2) Outside of DC and holiday dinners with family, I still rarely talk politics. And it’s not exactly a topic I anticipated at the reunion – however peripheral it may have been to the conversation.

3) It’s such an oddly specific rumor, and so easy to dispel via social networks. I always thought rumors should be vague if you want them to catch on – hard to verify, but easy to believe. (Not that I’ve thought about this before.)

In any case, I laughed about it with N and realized that if this is what’s going around, then even the rumor mill has matured over the past five years.

And that’s not a bad thing at all.

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Yes, ma’am

I’m sure by now you’ve seen the Buzzfeed lists on signs you’re almost 30, and signs “you’re too old for this crap.

Maybe they resonated with you, like they did me.

I, for one, love NCIS, appreciate Aerosoles, and really do want to graduate to West Elm.

But I would add one more thing to the list of signs you’re getting older – or, at least one that makes you feel older.

Getting ma’am-ed.

I’ve gotten it from TSA before, and probably on other occasions, but it never registered as a reflection of my age – just a general courtesy. Everyone was getting ma’am-ed.

This past Friday, though, it was just me.

I was at one of Husband’s baseball games, retrieving foul balls in between cheering and yelling, and chatting with the ump every now and then. And this ump, he seemed to be around my own age, maybe a little bit older. 

But when I tossed him back one of the foul balls, he caught it and said, “Thanks, m-, uh, ma’am.

I must have looked surprised, because he immediately followed it up with an (unnecessary) apology.

I brushed it off and told him not to worry, and immediately became more aware of all my laugh lines and other wrinkles.

Not really. (Kind of.)

Actually, I realized that it didn’t really bother me. Sure, it was a little bit of a surprise to get ma’am-ed by someone roughly my own age, but it happens.

And I’m sure it was more out of courtesy than because my laugh lines have taken over my face. Right?

Right?

I’m almost positive.

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Husband and I were talking a while back about the fact that a friend of ours had asked me to pass along his hello to someone else. (Follow all that?)

Why? Does he like her or something?

Not like that,” I replied. “She’s an adult.

Well, what does that make us?

Oh. Good point.

I seem to be stuck in the thinking that everyone older than me is an adult, and everyone younger is a kid. It’s incredibly self-centered and simplified, and not really accurate.

But is there a word for being in your 20s and 30s? Or rather, is there a word to distinguish that age group from people in their 40s and 50s? And that age group from older ones, and so on, and so forth?

Sometimes the age differences – particularly regarding life experience – seem vast, necessitating a way to differentiate.

But other times, age is truly just a number.

So maybe it’s the terminology.

Maybe it’s the mindset.

Or maybe I just need to get more sleep and stop overthinking adulthood.

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Thanks to the wonder (or devil, as you like) that is Timeline, I can unequivocally say that today is my 8 year Facebook anniversary.

More than anything else in my life, that makes me feel old.

More than friends having babies; more than getting married; more than the Beloit mindset lists.

More than my impending 10-year high school reunion; more than 19-year-olds in major league baseball.

More than babysitting a kid who says, “Whoa! You were born in the 80s??” with a mix of wonder and horror.

Social networking is what does it.

Congratulations, Facebook. You win.

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Don’t act like you weren’t expecting this. You know how I love me a list.

If the 26 list had several items requiring attitude adjustment (letting go of grudges, judging less), 27 is a little more concrete.

So, as I march into my late-20s, I want to:

1) Get married!

2) Go to Phillies spring training in Clearwater.

3) Learn to drive stick. My younger cousin tried to teach me once. It wasn’t pretty. I don’t think I’ll be able to convince him to give me another shot.

4) Make my own creme brulee. (I already own the blowtorch!)

5) Run Boston (which will also mean fundraising, because try as I might, I’m not qualifying).

6) Stop talking about doing more yoga and actually DO more yoga. Let’s aim for once a week.

7) Read more. Last year I set the bar at 10 books, and finished 18. So let’s go for 30 this year. With my new Kindle Fire I’m unstoppable!

8 ) Try a new recipe every other week.

9) Travel somewhere new, even if it’s a neighborhood in DC I’ve never been to before. Though I would like to branch out a little more than that.

10) Create a bucket list. I’m honestly not sure why I haven’t done that yet.

11) Learn to fear the ocean less.

12) Eat dimsum. It just sounds fun.

13) Get involved with the youth program at church. For all the work I do with camp, you’d think I could do a little more locally.

14) Visit the Statue of Liberty. I was sick the day of the middle school class trip and I’ve never made up for it. Maybe we could even throw Ellis Island on there for good measure!

15) Replace my computer. My trusty MacBook is 5 1/2 years old and the hard drive has crashed twice. It’s time.

16) Host a seder.

17) Learn to make challah from scratch. (Do you notice the trend of food goals?)

18) Visit at least one new state.

19) Finish all the “thank you” notes within 2 months of the wedding.

20) Set a new half marathon PR.

21) Take a bike ride out to Mount Vernon.

22) See all the Oscar nominations for Best Picture (before the Oscars).

23) Get involved in international volunteer work.

24) Volunteer at a race.

25) Explore my career options. (Yes, this is intentionally vague.)

26) Give blood. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you have to wait a year after getting a tattoo, so I should be eligible in May 2013.)

27) Set a new 10k PR.

I suppose this list could be summed up in three words: food, running, travel.

And I see nothing wrong with that.

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