This is 35

Thirty-five is a weird age, isn’t it? Not quite a girl, not yet a woman. Cognitively adolescent, yet on the brink of dementia. Mentally willing, but physically unable. So many conflicting emotions.

Last year, when I got nauseous on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, I could tell that things were changing. The days of eating spicy food on a dare and joyriding with the wildest dude in town were numbered. I bought a house. I had kids. I had finally become a mature adult.

Last month, a few short weeks before my thirty-fifth birthday, I rediscovered the adolescent desire to express myself. I went out and dyed my hair red, have been considering (and reconsidering) piercing my nose (for the third time), and have been urging my husband to get himself a shiny, new tattoo.

I want to drink (only gluten-free liquor mixed with real fruit juice), dance (early – none of this after eleven stuff), and party like a rockstar (perhaps Jimmy Buffett, or Neil Diamond).  Thing is, I can only drink when a) there’s no one home, and b) there’ll be no one around in the morning (which is never), the only jig currently in my wheelhouse is The Hot Dog Dance, and I generally cannot stay awake past ten.

I finally (after two years of freaking out) went out to a haunted attraction, and I was fine. I didn’t pee myself, or fall into a ditch, or experience a stroke. I had fun. The problem is, these fleeting, exhilarating moments give me the hubris to believe that I can, say, hit a bar, or go to a nine o’clock movie.

I want to rock with my socks off, but I get a little upset when one of my slippers slides too far under the bed.

Is this a midlife crisis? Overcompensation for an unrequited adolescence ? My last attempt to seize youth before it all slips away? Am I the Bad Terminator, reluctantly disintegrating in a pool of molten metal? Am I dying?

And sometimes I get this horrifying thought, a thought I can’t shake, a thought that would keep me up at night if it weren’t so damned easy to fall asleep: I’ll be forty soon. Forty years old. Me. The person who still calls her mom crying and dreams about what she wants to be when she grows up.

I’ll be forty years old soon. And that’s horrifying.

I want to be noticed, yet slip into the background. I want to eat the hottest plate of wings at the bar, skinny dip in the moonlight, and experience the vast richness of this world, but I must be home by nine.  I want to hop on a plane and take off, but I’m tethered to my family.

But someday maybe I will, maybe I can. If the nose ring doesn’t hurt too much, and I can sneak in a little nap.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne says:

    You will have many more moments like this. But, the forties are great! It is liberating. I loved this post. You made me laugh! Hot Dog Dance!! :)


  2. Sarah says:

    Get the nose ring!! I’ve had mine since I was 17 and still love it 14 years later. It doesn’t hurt too much and you can even get it done in the early evening; definitely before 9pm!


    1. Thanks! I’ve had one twice already. Just trying not to look like an old crazylady.


      1. Sarah says:

        Oh, well I’m sure that I sometimes look like an old crazy lady, but I probably can’t blame the nose ring.


  3. Gin says:

    I just turned 42. 40 wasn’t that big of a deal but 50 scares the crap outta me. I may be having a midlife crisis as I currently contemplate running away and I’m going with some girlfriends to get my very first tattoo soon. I’ve also thought about getting stuff pierced. My husband is scared…


  4. Kylene Poeira says:

    Go ahead take the plunge get a nose ring, get a tattoo. The one on my foot I got for Brooke made #7 so we’re never too old. When I look at my daughter, I don’t feel old, when I look at my nephew in college, that’s when it kicks in. It’s just finding the right place with the right atmosphere that suits you when you go out. That’s the tough part. And btw Redbridge is a gluten free beer, rum is from sugar cane, a nice fresh mojito might be in order for you!!


  5. Do the nose ring! I recently got a wild hair up my butt (at 34) and re-did mine… and I love it. A little bit of rebeliousness while we read Goodnight Moon for the 40,000th time has been good for my soul.


  6. Julie says:

    Meh. 35. pffft. Try wrapping your brain around 53! Holy mother of God! It’s ok cause it doesn’t feel real. BUT how the heck did my babies get into their 20’s?? That is the real mind blower.


  7. Amen!!! I was just thinking about this last month as well. I’m not sure how I feel about 35.


  8. skpadilla says:

    So timely. I’m going to turn 40 next year and it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I was listening to Neil Diamond on the radio today and found myself enjoying it :) Yikes. I look forward to hearing more about your birthday experience!


  9. This is great!!! Just wait until 48… Not a party!!! When you have a chance, take a look at my poem Class Reunion Blues- i think you will get a chuckle out of it!!! Cheers!!!:)


  10. Fadra says:

    I forgot about the rides making me nauseous. I still go on them but I have to space them out. A lot. I never had a rebellious period in my life and I still don’t want to go crazy. I just don’t want to give up. I do dye my hair every few weeks. I’ve thought about more piercings and then thoughts against them. I’m still evolving and probably always will be. And turning 40 was great. It was everything after that that was downhill ;)


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