My birthday was September 25, this past Tuesday. I turned 37. Yes, I said it, 37. I’m okay with being 37 because turning a year older is certainly better than the alternative and I recently figured out that I don’t want to be in my twenties again. I think that when I personally whine about missing my younger years I’m not actually whining about missing my younger years. I’m missing the version of my twenties that I wished I had lived. I’m missing an idealized beer commercial version of my twenties where I am slim, mentally stable and not socially awkward. I’m missing a non existent twenties version of myself that traveled to Europe, had intense but tragic love affairs and went to a lot of star studded fancy parties. It’s weird to miss a version of myself that never existed.
Ten years ago, when I was turning 27, I was slightly smaller than I am now, but still very overweight. I was living at home. I was teaching sixth grade language arts and social studies and almost completely overwhelmed by it. It would have never occurred to my 27 year old self that the job was impossible. No, back then I viewed my inability to be the perfect teacher as a personal shortcoming resulting from some teaching gene that I lacked and my laziness. I enjoyed my students but hated most of their parents and my boss.
I wasn’t on my meds because I foolishly believed that I didn’t need them. I was a high functioning, scatterbrained, unfocused depressed, Obsessive Compulsive, angry person. I didn’t really go out much. When I did go out I was self conscious. I was afraid that someone would think of me as a fat girl or notice how I couldn’t walk very far without being out of breath. I was miserable and my misery made me anxious and a little paranoid. I often felt that Massachusetts, the state of Massachusetts, was out to kill me.
Growing older doesn’t bother me. I’m much happier now than I was when I was younger. I may be heavier, but I’m also in a better position to deal with my body. I’m definitely more mentally stable since I know how important it is to remain on my meds. I am happy to be 37, much more happier than I was when I turned 27.
Hopefully, I will remember this insight when I’m daydreaming/moaning about how I’m not a hot girl anymore running around in miniskirts and stillettos, partying with P. Diddy in the Hamptons and then rushing off to Paris to try escargot for the first time. More importantly, I hope I remember that none of those things ever happened nor were they likely to when I was 27.