The other day I read a meme floating around that said “I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they liked me…Now I wonder if I like them” and I realized something wonderful. While aging sucks, with its wrinkles, grey hair and mysterious aches and pains, this silly meme right here has managed to hit the getting older bonus on the head.
In your twenties it’s all about judging and being judged. The majority of women at this age are so concerned with what everyone else is or is not doing that they look like a giant collective of sameness. They are the style setters, but it is only because they are so worried about what everyone else would think if they stepped outside the verdicts of the masses that they couldn’t help but appear to be interchangeable. It’s only people in their twenties that you hear saying idiotic things like “well, everyone else was getting married, so I did too” or “It seemed like a good idea- everyone else was having kids.”
In your early thirties, the uniformity is set. Now the worries upgrade themselves to what kind of car you drive, what kind of purse you carry, and what kind of kitchen counters you have. There are only two types of people that spend tons of time and money remodeling – those who have old kitchens and bathrooms and need to do it, and people in their early thirties looking to impress the Congregation of Clones. These are the school years – as in which kindergarten is your newborn going to go to? What style of education are you looking at for you 3 year old? What high school do you want to get your eight year old to get into? The hive mind is strong during these years.
Then you pass into your early forties. This is where things start to loosen a bit. Not right away, but slowly. Your kids are not necessarily friends with other kids just because they are you and the mom are besties. You start to part ways with people over different school choices as it becomes apparent that not all the kids are gifted. People move for jobs or family reasons. The ties that bind you to the group are loosening and snapping. It feels like a loss, but actually it’s just the opposite. It is freeing you up for what comes next.
The mid to late forties. This is where you come into your own. You have been through crisis’s, either your own or someone’s close to you. Maybe it’s an ugly divorce or an unfaithful spouse. Illness and even death will have visited in one form or another. You have teenagers, a phenomenon all its own that calls into question every plan, every parenting technique, and every single theory you ever had.
You don’t know it, but this is what you have been waiting for. These experiences have a way of letting you know who your friends really are. They are the ones you run to when you are in tears, they are the ones you tell your deepest, darkest secrets to and they don’t even flinch. When everything falls apart, they help you pick up the pieces with kindness. There is no judgment to be found with these people. They have been through it too. They speak truth into your life with only love in their hearts.
All of a sudden you will find that you don’t care who chops their veggies on granite and who chops on formica, who has money and who doesn’t. You won’t care whose kids are smart and ready for the best college and whose kids smoke pot and work at the mall. You are too tired to give a shit about anyone’s kitchen cabinets, shoes, or cars. Maybe you are fashionable, maybe not. Some have run the gauntlet with you since your own childhood and some have just appeared recently. It doesn’t matter because these are your people.
As you slap on your glasses to read the wine list and take a good look at those still around your table it almost makes you look forward to your 50’s.