Gray matters — Just this side of the hill

By Tanya Mitchell | Oct 02, 2012
Source: File image

It's sneaking up on me much sooner than I ever thought was possible, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.

In a couple of weeks, I'll be turning 36, and there's been no shortage of discussion about aging amongst my family and friends.

Some of my closer friends aren't too shy about reminding me about the fact that at 36, I will no longer be considered a woman in her early-to-mid-thirties. Of course many of those who do feel the need to point that out are older than I am (ha ha), and so I take that kind of commentary with a grain of salt.

But I also know I cannot escape the truth — I'm now staring straight across the latter part of this decade at the big 4-0, and I must admit that's a little unsettling.

The thing is, I don't know when or how this happened. It seems like just yesterday I was strolling into The Republican Journal office as an enthusiastic 20-year-old who had absolutely no idea what I was in for when I said I wanted to be a reporter. It wasn't so long ago that I could spend an entire day running through the park, catching a Frisbee with the finesse of an Olympian and never once feeling the stiffness and soreness that now so often plagues me for at least a day after such activity. I thought nothing of coming to work with the benefit of only a few hours of sleep after what may have been an excessively long evening out with friends.

Now I'm up to my posterior in more work than I can usually accomplish in one week's time, and I find myself leaning more on my good friend Vitamin I (also known as ibuprofen) to get me through the day after a really tough workout. As for sleep, I require slightly more of that now — I'm often in bed by 10:30 p.m. at the latest. In an effort to sleep more, I recently cut about six inches of my hair off simply because I no longer wished to take the time to style it in the morning. Really.

It seems a lot of people see approaching birthdays differently. One of my best friends from high school, Paulette, is a year older than I and sees the world very similarly to the way I do.

"Age is just a number, man," she said to me in a recent phone conversation. "You look just the same as you always have. And you totally still act like you."

That may be the case, but I reminded her that I have had to tone down a lot of my antics since I became a mom.

"True, but I don't care what you say. You're still the same chick who rode shopping carts down Main Street hill with me. Just a bit more grown-up."

And that's another story for another time.

My buddy Jenn, who has appeared in this column on a couple of occasions, said she feels old all the time.

"Really?" I said. "I have subtle reminders that I'm not exactly considered young anymore, but I wouldn't classify myself as over-the-hill by any stretch of the imagination."

When I was talking to my dad, who is in his early 60s, he said I shouldn't even begin to think of myself as old.

"This is the age where you really begin to accomplish things," he said. "You're right in the prime of your life."

And since I'm now old enough and wise enough to appreciate the advice of a parent (and because I like his comments the best), I think I'll stick to that logic. Besides, I'm too young for a mid-life crisis and I think I'm too old for a good ole fashioned all-nighter at the local pub (and quite frankly, too tired).

At this stage I think I can safely classify myself as just this side of that hill everyone seems to think I'm supposed to go over eventually, and I think I'm OK with that.

Just don't talk to me about that 40 thing yet.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Oct 03, 2012 08:40

There is no guarantee that you will reach the "big 4-0". While we all need some plans for the future, it seems to work best enjoying the moment we have.

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