Just Go Left

I'm Feelin' 32

Choosing Joy, PersonalAshtenComment

I had make an emergency run to the grocery store over the weekend (I didn’t buy enough wine for my Fireball Sangria; first and last time I make that mistake!). I was the definition of a “hot mess”: hair thrown up in a messy bun (emphasis on messy), old yoga pants, no make-up and flip-flops I’ve had since 2010. After a morning of cleaning the apartment for our guests, I was also sweaty and possibly woozy from inhaling all the cleaning supplies. It was a gorgeous sight to behold. I bee-lined for the wine section (a section I’m no stranger to, mind you), grabbed the goods and made my way to check out. The cashier was a lady maybe in her mid-forties who, after scanning the wine looked up at me and said “ID please?”

 I pulled my ID out of my wallet and gave my usual “please don’t judge me on my awful photo” spiel and thanked her for carding me, as all women do once they’ve passed the age of 30.

 “There is no way this is accurate,” she said, looking at my ID skeptically, “your birth year has to be incorrect.”

 “No, it’s correct. I had bangs in that picture but I’m trying to grow them out now. And my birthday is on Thursday the 16th. I’ll be 32.”

 She looked back at my ID, then back at me. She stared at me with judgmental mom eyes. Then she bagged up my wine, took another look at me and said:

 “I need to know your secret.”

 I smiled the kind of smile only a woman who has just been told she looks younger than she is can smile.

 “I guess I’m just young at heart,” I joked, “you made my day, though. Thank you.”

 “I thought you were about 24 years old,” she said, “Have a nice day, young lady.”

 I left the store with a little extra pep in my step. When I got home I told Kyle all about how I was mistaken for a younger woman, to which he replied “yeah but did you get the wine?”

 Men, they don’t get it.

On the eve of my 32nd year, I’m feeling very Taylor Swift-ish. Like I might wake up tomorrow morning and starting singing “I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I’M FEELING THIRTY TWO!” I didn’t feel like this a week ago…..I may or may not have laid in bed in the fetal position bitching about how 32 felt like such an insignificant age and how I was feeling the sting of smile wrinkles and a metabolism that is slower than traffic on the 101 South on a Friday. But I had a change of heart on Saturday as I stood in that check-out line and that wonderful woman told me I looked 24.

 When I was a little girl, I always wished I was older. When I was 13, I wanted to be 16 so I could drive a car. When I was 16, I wanted to be 18 so I could excuse my own absences from school. When I was 18 I wanted to be 21 for obvious reasons. At 21, I wanted to be 30 because it sounded cooler and then I turned 30 and I was like “whoa, where did the time go?” I was so busy trying to rush through life to get to the next chapter that I forgot to embrace the here and now. Now I’m officially “older” and I’m wondering where the time went; wishing I could go back and do it all over again. I’m learning to be fully present in my current chapter I’m in, even if that chapter means smile wrinkles and metabolizing last Thanksgiving’s dinner six months later.   It’s about finding the good in each year, learning new lessons and embracing personal growth.

 I’m entering the 32nd chapter of my life, and damn it I’m excited. This is going to be a full year, which will add to my already full life. So tomorrow I’m going to throw some confetti on the bushes outside my house, have a couple of dance parties, eat some hibachi and spend the next 365 days embracing this new year.

 ….and also celebrate that I still look 24. Nope, not getting over that any time soon.