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I turned 36 last month.
It has such a grown-up ring to it, being 36. Fresh out of college, I worked in a department where a few of my co-workers were in their mid to late 30’s. I remember thinking that they weren’t “old”, but they were definitely a generation ahead of me. They went to school in the 80’s, and I could kind of tell they weren’t quite “up to speed” with what was young and hip. They tried, honestly, but it just wasn’t the same.
I think that is what I’m becoming. Someone who is trying to stay relevant, but at the end of the day, I can still remember owning a powder blue Nokia cell phone that just made phone calls and was as big as my hand. And I’m okay with that…without Snapchat and those short wide sweatshirts that make me look six months pregnant and whatever else.
But do you know what is really throwing me for a loop? Growing up. I had this idea buried somewhere in the recesses of my mind that once you “grow up”, that’s it. That’s you…as a grown up. But it just doesn’t work that way. The person I was at 22 is certainly not the person I was at 30 and isn’t the same person I am now at 36.
I kind of like it, the idea that we are in a constant state of metamorphosis. We are not static beings, but have the ability to refocus our energy, our interests, and even our personality in different directions over time. We can change and we do change, whether we want to or not. I also like the idea of being conscious of those changes, so that we can understand ourselves better and adjust the expectations of people around us.
For example, when my kids were all little, I depended heavily on the different groups I was a part of – MOPS, Bible study, book club – they literally dragged me through a really challenging time. Now, with my kids in school and much of my attention redirected towards work, I have less time to participate in those types of groups, and perhaps I need different things. I started a Lean In circle at work, where we can talk about our experiences and I try and purposefully get together with just a couple of friends because that’s about all I can handle. It’s different.
I suppose the big takeaway for me has been to accept and celebrate those changes. It is sort of like trying to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. It just ain’t gonna happen, and the sooner I can get around to accepting that I am a different person now, then the sooner I can start enjoying the place I am right now.