One of my friends just celebrated her 38th birthday. She said this year she didn’t feel the need to take off work, because for the first time in a long time things are just so perfect in her life. She has been in a happy relationship the last ten months, her job is really steady, she makes good money, and she can travel when she wants.
I’ve always been hesitant to reveal my exact age on this blog. I’ve been blogging for a long time, and ran an e-zine before blogging was called blogging, and I can’t help but notice there is a bit of ageism when it comes to blogs.
It seem that 90% of bloggers I’ve come across are in their 20′s and early 30′s…but mostly their 20′s. That’s totally cool, and I can hang with them no problem, but as soon as I have ever revealed how old I am, I find a decline in comments and interaction. It’s as if I’m suddenly viewed as an old fart who wears mom jeans, and should be spending my time shuttling my kids off to soccer practice instead of interacting on twitter, and learning the joys (sarcasm intended) of WordPress.
But here it is folks. I’m a non-mom-jeans-wearing 41-year-old. And the thing is I don’t look or feel like it (At least I hope I don’t look like it-Photoshop helps). I mean isn’t 40 the new 20? Hello? (crickets)
I like Rihanna and Pitbull and other current artists (just not Justin Bieber-he needs to be slapped). It’s just that I saw Pearl Jam in concert nine times while most of y’all were still in diapers. I have a colorfully woven tapestry. Yo.
The reason I’m telling you this is because to be a 100% completely honest blogger, I need to be truthful on where I am in life.
So where are all the other 40-something PF bloggers? I have no idea. Maybe they are too busy going to PTA meetings?
Anyway here’s the point. When my friend brought up her happiness about her life, I had a moment of self-pity.
Here I am 41-years-old (there I said it again…are you still reading or did you get scared off when I yelled at you for getting off my lawn?), struggling financially, not married, and considering taking on a retail part time job to make ends meet. I live in a standard one-bedroom rental and drive a 12-year-old car with a broken air-conditioner. And instead of “upgrading” my life, I’m downgrading by canceling services like cable, and selling as many things as possible on Craigslist.
Am I a loser?
“Don’t even dare go there!” I tell myself.
The thing is, and I want to make this point especially to you 20-somethings who are, by the way, doing one hell of a job getting your shit together at such a young age; there is no ONE path.
There is no ONE way to be at a certain age. You are allowed to define it however you want, and not let society dictate the standard.
While one person may view my life as sad, others may view me as someone who is a mindful spender, who appreciates simple things, and who values the small pleasures of life. It’s not important how society defines you, it’s how you define yourself.
There are times I look at FB and see my friends from high school in Michigan, doing things that I friggen can’t believe could possibly be me in an alternate reality, like sending their first-born off to college. Holy shit! Really?? I could have a kid who is a freshman in college? Or my friends here in LA who are 30-something, who are buying their first home. Sigh….
But the thing is, you don’t know what is really going on in their lives, do you? The friends in Michigan could be looking at my FB pictures and see that I’m at the beach practically every other day, soaking up the sun and playing beach volleyball. Or my home-buying friends might think I’m lucky I’m not tied down to a mortgage, and could move anywhere I feel like (cue ramblin’ vagabond music).
The thing to focus on is gratitude. No matter what age, you are alive and thriving and the possibilities are endless. You can define yourself, and re-define yourself as many times as it takes. You have your whole life, again no matter what age, to be present and live it fully.
So whenever you find you start comparing yourself to others your age and what they achieved, remind yourself of that. Enjoy what you are and who you are no matter where you are in life.
I gotta go take my Geritol now…and while you’re at it, “GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN!!!”