I’m turning 34 tomorrow. I know, I know. I’m a baby.
Unless you’re under the age of 25, in which case I’m used up with one foot in the grave and should probably just throw in the ol’ towel now while I still have some dignity left.
To be honest, I get a little freaked out about my birthdays, not because I’m upset about getting old and therefore less hot (um, “less hot” is a condition I’ve grown rather accustomed to, thankyouverymuch) and more saggy (tits to knees, for the win!), or because I’m afraid to face my own mortality (I’m kinda happy just to be here).
But rather because I get a little irritated that I’m not “further along” in my existence – like I should be more or better or someplace else, you know, more “accomplished,” “advanced,” SUCCESSFUL. Whatever the fuck that means. I don’t know. I’m happy where I am. At least I think I am. I have you people. I like that.
But my birthdays are always accompanied by a vague irritation, a little stick in my side, a lil bastard sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear: “Janelle, you really should be more by now. You’re kinduva loser.”
I think this irritation is significantly increased by the fact that I spent a good portion of my adult life drunk, running around and around (and around and around) in tiny little circles (which felt very important at the time, FYI) – going nowhere, as they say, very, very fast.
So really, I’ve only been a grown up since 2009, but considering where I was then, it’s safe to say I’ve come a long way, and, once again, have nothing to complain about.
So that’s rad: When you set the bar really freaking low, you can totally be satisfied with minimally awesome conditions.
Wow, that sounds like a lot parenthood.
Anyhoo, as usual, since (as you know) I’m a radiant beam of positivity, I thought I would make up a list of all the things that suck worse than turning 34.
This is my version of “positive self-talk.”
I think you’ll agree with many of them.
Things that Suck More than Turning 34:
- Being a crack head.
- Eating lunch with Poppy Harlow.
- Being Poppy Harlow’s son.
- Growing up in Westboro Baptist Church.
- Being born a female in Afghanistan.
- Running a day care.
- Finding yourself locked in a room with other people’s offspring. (Oh wait. That’s number 6.)
- Finding yourself locked in a room with your own children. (Yes, that’s better.)
- Tattooing small nautical stars all over your face whilst drunk.
- Realizing you miscalculated and you’re actually 35. (Whatever bitch, I was born in 1979!)
- Failing your Master’s Degree comprehensive exam. (Somebody hold me.)
- Being born a male in Afghanistan.
- Weighing 400 pounds.
- Having 11 kids.
- Driving home from the beach with sand in your bathing suit. (Seriously, do you remember that?)
- Owning a yellow Labrador retriever who runs away from you at a softball game, breaking his collar, at precisely the moment your 2-year-old bolts off in the other direction and you realize you’re alone and totally and completely screwed because OMG the dog and OMG the child. So you start asking strangers to help you (because they’re all standing there motionless with a face like “Wow. Look at this unique unfolding of events.”) until an angel from on high comes over and says “I’ll get the kid. You get the dog.” And you run off and tackle the motherfucking Labrador like a ninja WWF wrestler. (Not that this happened to me last night.)
- A world without the Grateful Dead.
- A world without Tyler Durden, Jane Austen, Bill Murray, and/or my husband. (Um, that was a odd list.)
- All things that hurt people.
- Over-zealous baseball coaches.
- And their evil parental cohorts.
- Expressions like “the miracle of motherhood” and “I’m playing catch up,” and “at the end of the day” and “we need a paradigm shift” and…
- BabyCenter forums discussing circumcision or sleep training.
- Little girl shirts that say “Step Aside, Barbie.”
- Implying that your child is a replacement for an emaciated plastic doll.
- Making up cute, catchy new words, such as “brutiful.” (Sorry, Glennon, but REALLY? Have a little mercy.)
- Peeing for the first time after giving birth.
- The expectation that because I’m a mother I should give a shit about seasonal cupcakes and yoga pants.
- Cleaning up dog diarrhea from the back seat of your car in a Safeway parking lot while the offending canine vomits at your feet while simultaneously trying to eat it.
- Listening to people try to defend the conclusion that marriage equality is a bad idea.
- The moment you realized you sneezed um, too hard.
- PTA meetings.
- Administrative staff meetings.
- Okay pretty much any meeting.
And…the Number ONE thing that sucks worse than turning 34…yeah that’s right you guessed it…
NOT TURNING 34.
Because that would mean I didn’t make it past 33. And who wants that?
Really, it’s funny, right? That this is what we all want and don’t want: Getting older. It sucks. But the alternative sucks more.
So this is it, I guess. We just keep moving on and on and on until we aren’t moving on anymore, and every year we get a little closer to that moment, trying like hell to live in this one (Make it count! It may be all you’ve got! (no pressure, though)) — even when it’s a little grayer than expected, a little less glamorous and interesting and bright. Though in some ways, it’s way more so.
It’s the accumulation of all that I’ve ever been and the stuff my future is made of. Here is where it ends, and begins, the life I’ve got, the only one.
So I guess I’ll just say fuck it, and welcome, 34.
To be honest, I’m just happy to be here.
Also happy I’m not having lunch with Poppy Harlow. Because really, at the end of the day, we all just have to look on the bright side and enjoy the fucking miracle of motherhood. A paradigm shift, people. That’s what we’re going for.