So… as of today I’m halfway to 70. Distinctly mid-30s. I no longer get mistaken for a college student or part of the youth group. Bikinis will never again be my thing. (Let’s be honest, bikinis never really were my thing.)
I’m feeling all the things one feels when one realizes that life is moving by at quite a brisk clip, though the overwhelming nature of such a big load of feels is lightened a small amount by the fact that my husband hit this birthday milestone last month. (Always marry someone a touch older; it’s good for the ego.)
For many of you reading, 35 might sound young. For others, it seems ancient. I remember a college friend who started dating her tennis coach when I was an undergrad. My roommates and I whispered about it. “How is she dating him? He’s, like, thirty!”
Turning 35 reminds me of my mortality (halfway to 70!). I no longer live in a body that springs back easily after a run on the beach or a third donut. If we ever decided to have another baby (that’s if, friends, and a biiiiiig if) I would carry a geriatric pregnancy. Talk about a word that bruises the pride…
The little signs of being a human who has been on this planet for three-and-a-half decades–smile lines, stray gray hairs, the yearly trip to the dermatologist to have random moles burned off of my arms, they remind me of Auden’s line: the crack in the teacup opens a lane to the land of the dead.
I won’t live forever. I’ll probably live quite a few more decades, but not forever. None of us will.
Yet the signs of mortality, of thirty-five, they are grace, too. Time is precious; it’s limited. Nothing lasts forever, me included, and this reminder pushes me to let go of the unnecessary things, the time-wasting ones, the pretentious things, the moments of anxiety.
Above all, I’m grateful that I’m finally comfortable in my own skin most days, stretch-marked though it may be.
I’m happy to be 35.
There’s a lot of life behind me, and a lot yet to live.
Here’s to the next 35 years.
Have you hit a birthday milestone lately? What was it, and how did it make you feel?