So it’s February and, along with a host or vastly more interesting and important events (and also Valentine’s Day), it’s my birth month. Which basically only means that my friends buy me food and I spoil myself only slightly more than I usually do.
Birthdays dredge up all the weird feels for me. On one hand, I’m physically older, changing, another year of experiences tacked onto my record, another year more than I thought I’d make given my medical history. But in so many other ways, I don’t feel like I’ve “arrived” at adulthood. Every milestone, every badge of maturity that I was raised to aim for, never happened. I have no career, or even a steady job of any kind due to my chronic illness. I’ve never had a significant other or children (and that’s a whole separate post). Don’t own a house or car, or anything bigger than my bed. I don’t resent or feel a lack for any of those things; but it’s an odd feeling sometimes to see how far my life is from the people around me and it makes me feel like I’m in some kind of limbo, not a youth, but not like most other adults. So where does that leave me?
This year, though, feels good. I’m edging ever so much closer to being 40 (and holy fuck does that blow my mind) and, considering how aging, especially as a woman, was portrayed when I was growing up, I keep half-expecting to hit some kind of panicky existential crisis…but what I’ve really been feeling is relief.
I was raised with the heavy impression that being a woman past her early 30’s means being obsolete. You’re too experienced and too damn tired to be charmed or charming, not pretty enough to be attractive, too old to be sexy. With age, a woman is basically seen to have no value to society, especially if that woman is unmarried, with no children, or, gods forbid, disabled in any way. And I’m not even getting into factors like not wanting to get married or have children (or being unable to) or being voluptuous enough to break someone’s spinal cord. It’s expected that no man will ever look my way again.
The relief I feel is breathtaking. All my life I had to fight to do what made me happy, what made me feel like me. Now – well fuck, I’m old! Nobody cares! I physically can’t have children, so all you fuckers can stop bringing it up! It’s great!
I mean, god only knows what I’ll do if I have to go back to the workforce; ageism and sexism aside, my resume is basically held together with gritty duct tape and pixie dust, but society’s stupidity aside, I think this is going to be a good year to get older.