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on turning 35


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before our show last night, i was sitting outside having a cigarette with don sowersby, our pedal steel player. smoking is always a conversation starter; if two people happen to be smoking within ten yards of each other, a conversation is inevitable whether or not those two people knew each other before they lit up. we were doing what people do when they have a cigarette together; talking about whatever. our conversation ran the gamut from a broken string on his steel to an old back injury to somebody's new car to age. age. when did i get so old that i started actually talking about age? after a qualifying statement that he doesn't normally ask a lady her age so i didn't have to answer if i didn't want to, he asked me how old i was. i told him that in less than a month i would be turning 35. he told me that age was a state of mine (adding that maybe that's why he feels so damn old), and that his father in law once told him that nobody ever has any common sense until their thirty-fifth birthday. he didn't know what being thirty-five has to do with common sense, but i didn't care. it sounded good to me. i'm all for getting some common sense, especially if i don't currently have any. i've been operating on the assumption that i did have some common sense all this time. i guess that proves his father-in-law's theory.
is age really just a number? i hear that all the time and have spent countless, immeasurable amounts of time wondering if it's true, then convincing myself that it can't be true. age isn't a thing; age is a place. it's where you are in your life. my age, almost 35 is feeling like somewhere in the middle of nowhere. i don't think i know where i am. i'm not sure if that's a good thing, but i don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. it's just sort of, well, a thing.


this age, this impending number dangling over my head like the sword of damacles has been on my mind for some time now. the fact that it's less than 30 days from rearing its ugly head doesn't do much to ease the anxeity of that sword busting loose and impaling me right in the youth.

i don't do things typical thirty-five year olds do; at least not any of the thirty-five year olds i know. i'm not married. i have never been married. i don't have children. i don't own my house. i don't have cocktail parties (admittedly, this is something that has nothing to do with my age, and i certainly could have cocktail parties if i wanted to; i just needed to lament for a moment about my love for cocktail parties and my severe lack of having them.)

am i doing something wrong? am i doing everything wrong? is there some sort of gauge that i don't know about that tells me what i'm doing right or wrong? do i know when i'm grown up?am i supposed to be grown up already? i don't think i am. i still don't know what i want to be when i grow up. whatever this place is, i don't know quite where i would find it on a map. it stands to reason that since i don't know where i am, i have no idea where i'm going either.

thirty-five, that number, is sneaking up on me and will land on me in less than a month. twenty-nine days, to be precise. maybe it is true, what don sowersby's father in law told him. maybe i will just magically get my common sense when i turn thirty-five. maybe i should start looking at it like that.

i'm twenty-nine days away from recieving my common sense.

that sounds infinitely better than turning thirty-five.


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  • I'm melissa mcgee
  • From Temple, Texas, United States
  • photographer. singer. soapcrafter. herbalist. dogmom. godmother. fantastic cook. i kiss better than i cook. [all photographs on this blog copyright melissa mcgee unless otherwise noted.]
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