It even has a cute name. Because being thirty-four and a half is waaaaayyy too young to be tripping down that number line. So I’ve dubbed it my quasi-midlife crisis, and so it shall be.
I’m kind of blaming my husband for this panic attack.
When we met, I was adorable and shiny and all of twenty-two. In other words, a baby. But as usual, I thought I knew it all. Who I was, what I wanted, where I was going and how I was going to get there.
D was thirty-four and three-fourths. And he was enamored with me. Well, he was quasi-enamored with me. It took a Friends themed time-out and a return to an old flame for him to really realize how fantastic I was, but that’s a boy for you. What mattered in the end was that I WON! And once this silly boy returned to his senses, and to me, he could not stop waxing poetic about the woman I would be when I was thirty-five. Because how much more fantastic could I really get?
Personally, I thought it was kind of weird. Older men were always after younger women. Why was he so intent on hitting the fast forward button?
I am more than a decade younger than him. When he was graduating high-school, I was graduating kindergarten. Literally. The first time he met my Mom, he walked up our Brady Bunch stairs, and came face to face with my kindergarten self, circa 1983. He has a picture from that same year, but in his hands was a real diploma; not one made of tissue paper and tied with a ribbon. And on his head was a real cap with a real tassel, and he wasn’t singing, “The world is a rainbow”. He was in a band at an alternative school with smoke breaks and sit-in-a-circle-let’s-talk-about-our-feelings sessions. I thought it was hysterical at the moment, but now that I’m practically in his shoes, I can’t imagine why he didn’t turn away and run out that door, as fast as his grown-up feet could carry him.
Thirty-five sounded light years away. I imagined that we’d have adorable, well behaved children. The house with the picket fence. I’d be fabulously successful (at something) and he’d be profoundly successful in the world of plastic surgery. We’d have a fat bank account and would be the people you’d really, really want to hate…but couldn’t.
I’ve never worried about my age. Ever. I’ve been grey since my twenties and too busy fighting acne to ever worry about wrinkles. Turning thirty didn’t cause tears, and I can say with confidence that hitting forty probably won’t either.
But this thirty-five thing? It’s been festering for years, without my even realizing it. It’s practically around the corner. And I’m not at all where I thought I’d be. For one, I’m working at the SAME job that I had before we were married. Not only is it the same job, but I’ve actually gone backwards. I used to be a Manager; now I’m an Admin superstar. We’re renting a house, don’t have a fat (or even an anorexic) bank account, and people don’t waste a second thinking about hating us. I have beautiful babehs, but they drive me stark-raving-mad, and we have another one who isn’t even talking to us. How’s that for the amazing woman of (almost) thirty-five?
I don’t know what triggered this realization; maybe it’s the sudden slew of birthdays that have descended upon my Leo dominated household. Maybe it’s because I had my first not so fabulous week at my new-old job. Whatever it is, it sucks. I am not fun to be around, and I’m trying so hard to stuff these unpleasant feelings down that I’m plagued with nightmares every night. Nightmares that I’ve misplaced my children, horrible episodes where I’m being fired from a job that we’d starve without…horrific dreams that I can’t even recall upon waking, but leave me in that terrible bad-dream-induced- funk for the rest of the day.
In true Michelle style, I’ve descended on my pity party with Pollyanna fervor. I’m trying with everything I have to channel these feelings into something productive. I’ve applied back to school and have studied the qualifications of what I want to be when I grow up. I’m having deep conversations with people who know me better than I’ll ever know myself. I’m ordering “how to” books with the intention of actually reading them. And I’m forcing myself to write, even if I don’t know what to say. I’m determined to make it through this mess in time for my actual birthday, so I can get over myself and actually enjoy this benchmark that my poor husband created for me, all those years ago.
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