The Death of Youth

I don’t want to be pressed about anything — least of all worrying if I’ve still got “it.”

I am not a young person.
 
Your instinct is to gasp. To launch into litanies about how much life I have to live and that I’m only as old as I feel and that 38 is the new 28 and all the other platitudes that make women feel better about aging and I’m going to stop you right there.
 
I did not call myself an “old” person. I said I’m not young.
 
As I observe my peers contemplating age and self-expression, I see the struggle. Letting go of youth means you’re old. Submitting to a sad life of mom jeans and sensible shoes or acting out a real-life Saturday Night Live sketch about old bitches in the club.

Continue reading The Death of Youth

This is 38.

What to say about the last year of my life?

It’s hard to do big, retrospective moments when you live a small life on purpose. But I guess that’s a good place to start: the decision to play it small.

It’s counter to everything we encourage, and boy, have I caught various levels of exasperation from friends when I describe myself as “ordinary,” but whittling my world into easily manageable parts has kept me afloat in the madness of the last year and a half. Not saying that I’m keeping up with Michael Phelps or anything, but I’m not screaming for life rafts via vague “check on your friends” memes on Instagram, so I’ve got that going for me.

As I think about it, though, I can see how small decisions in the last twelve months have added up to a theme. In March, I stopped going by “Skinny Black Girl.” In May, I quit Twitter after nearly 11 years of vomiting my inner dialogue into the world (142 days off that narcotic as of today). In August, I dropped my lifelong objection to strength training (crystallized by years of being the absolute worst at everything in elementary school phys. ed.) and picked up my first set of weights.

By the end of the summer, I had collected a handful of moments that felt like “last times” and it hit me that I was shedding skin.

To know me is to know I’ve had several radical life transformations. I flame out. I rise from the ashes. Rinse. Repeat. Stopping the rollercoaster and living in the middle makes those transformative moments harder to recognize, but in the slow, steady way that characterizes this phase of my life, I’m turning things over; making room for who I’ll be in the next decade of my life.

I’m excited to meet her. In the meantime, here’s to another year of clearing the way for her grand entrance.

Whatever You Want

“What do people our age do for fun?”

“Whatever we want. And whatever you enjoy doing becomes your version of ‘what a thirtysomething does for fun.’ So, figure out what you enjoy. And do that.”

I am annoyingly on-the-nose when I’m giving my friends advice. I have no idea why I suck so badly at advising myself. But there it is — a truth that I’m forced to come back to over and over again. There’s no blueprint for the life I’ve created. I don’t make enough to be the “rich/well-traveled auntie.” Am not energetic enough to be the “forever young auntie.” And don’t enjoy the opposite sex enough to be the “flirty auntie.” I have to carve my middle-aged life out of the big ball of clay that is the endless space and time I’ve afforded myself with my lifestyle choices.

That idea continues to thrill and terrify me.