humor

Before 40

Last week, I turned 39. So it might seem strange that I’m already thinking about my next birthday.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to age out of childhood. I was always more comfortable around adults, so naturally, I wanted to be one. I fantasized about being one of those cool older women, with gorgeous gray hair, rock climbing into my 60s, kicking ass and taking names.

Never mind that I’m terrified of heights and have never rock climbed a day in my life. IT’S MY FANTASY, OKAY?! (Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash)

What I didn’t anticipate was that I’d start having a midlife crisis in my 20s. By 30, my master plan of aging gracefully came to a screeching halt. I was freaking. The. Freak. Out.

What am I doing with my life? What’s the point of it all? What if I never figured “it” out?

The crisis, in many ways, continues to this day. Perhaps suggesting we have more of an existential, versus midlife, one on our hands. This can’t be it. This can’t be all there is. Accumulating baggage and trying to unload it. Accumulating more baggage, attempting to unload it. Over, and over, and over. An endless series of life lessons, distilled into messages that read like a crappy, floral-covered mug.

Love is the answer. Live in the moment. Breathe.

My 39th birthday was filled to the brim with love and celebration. It always feels deeply humbling and bittersweet to be on the receiving end of so much kindness. Face in the sunshine, puffy white clouds, heart full – full of gratitude, but also the knowing that every puffy white cloud casts a shadow. Darkness and light. Hope and despair. Two sides of the same coin, forced to exist together to hold any value.

And maybe that’s at the root of all of our crises. The idea that there’s anything to hold onto. A certain person. A certain age. A certain weight. A certain feeling. A certain bank balance. A certain outcome. In the quest for certainty, we miss out on so much.

So over the next 11 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days, as I wind my way towards my biggest milestone birthday yet, I’m going to try something different. I’m NOT going to sit here and type out a list of all of the things I want to make happen before I turn 40, which was my original plan.

I’ve already checked countless boxes. Hiked/run/biked all the miles. Surpassed my own To Do lists. If any of that held the Key to Existence, Oprah would have interviewed me by now.

Annnnd still waiting.

The coming year will be as likely filled with promise as it is with heartache. There will be picture perfect moments with people who raise my spirits, and lonely nights with a bottle of wine that whispers, “You’re unlovable.” Suns will set and rise, and laughter will come and go, and instead of trying to hold onto any of it, this year, I’m just going to ride the waves.

F&@*. That sounds like a floral-covered mug.
Chipmunks Forever, Uncategorized

My Life Coaches Prep Me for the Big 3-0

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on the whereabouts of my life coaches, Zest and Zeal.

You might recall their infamous post-Christmas shenanigans. I’ve since moved the vodka to a higher shelf in the freezer, and confiscated the handcuffs. Nevertheless, old habits die hard…

In fact, it would appear they’ve even started having secret meetings. I fear a cult is forming, and these young recruits will soon do their bidding.

This can't be good.

Nothing to see here, Jules...

For Champagne's sake, Zest and Zeal, not the children, too!

Despite their unsavory reputation, I find myself turning to Zest and Zeal for advice. You see, something terrible is about to happen. And I can’t stop it. It’s almost as terrible as when someone tells you “you have a pretty face” or when I learned you can’t legally buy Kinder Surprise eggs in the United States.

I’m about to…

…Well, you see…

It’s just that…

Dangnabbit. I’m turning 30 in 3 weeks!!! And I don’t like it one bit. So, with an old, decrepit and heavy heart, I sought out Zest and Zeal last night. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: Guys, I just don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

Zeal: Here, have another drink.

Me: F&*%. How’d you get my vodka?

Zest (glancing nervously at Zeal): You know, Jules, you’d look really good with green hair.

Me: Ha ha. Thanks for bringing that up. Thanks a lot. You’re supposed to be making me feel better.

Zest: Um…Second Husband? Glee? Champagne? Cats dressed like Easter bunnies? Titanic in 3D?

Me (starting to smile, then frowning): But won’t I be too old for all of that? 30-year-old women aren’t supposed to eat animal crackers just because they come in a cute little box with a string. And I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have a Jersey Shore wall calendar in the kitchen. And, oh god. I bet the next time I go to the MAC make-up counter they’re going to call me ma’am.

Zeal (hiding the vodka behind his back): Jules. Jules, Jules, Jules… On the road of life, there are many winding, um… roads.

Me: Shut up.

Zeal: I wasn’t finished. (takes deep breath) There are many winding roads, and you need to learn to…um…put on the brakes and stop and smell the…deer…poop.

Me: I hate you.

Zeal: Why don’t we just SHOW you how good life after 30 can be?

Me (narrowing eyes): The last time you said you wanted to show me something, it involved a bb gun and Kate Gosselin wigs.

Zeal: You said you liked it!

Me: I was…just trying to be…polite…

Zeal: Listen. Do you want our help or not?

Zest: Isn’t he as cute as a peanut when he’s frustrated?

Me (muttering): …I’m going to regret this, but… Fine. Show me.

Zest: There's always retail therapy. DSW Shoe Warehouse doesn't care HOW old you are. They'll still take your money. Trust me. I know. I've taken your money there lots of times.

Zeal: You're old enough now that you can drink vast quantities, I mean, higher qualities, without winding up here. And when your friends' kids get married? Oh boy. They'll be disappointed if you don't sidle up to the open bar and then insist on dancing with all their friends.

Zest: I'm PRETTY sure by the time you're 40, polygamous relationships will be legal in New Jersey.

Zeal: That reminds me, I think in another 10 years, you'll be able to grow a lot more than soy beans in this windowsill...

Zest and Zeal: Plenty of things get better with age, Jules. Including you.

Me: Gosh. Thanks, guys. I actually do feel better now. …Zest? Zeal? Where’d you go? Aw, crud. I’m getting too old for this sh*t.

Have you ever gotten any good (or bad) advice about getting older? How do you cope with the aging process?