Ten Days in October
It’s that time of year again. My birthday is right around the corner. Yippee. And, in case it’s not abundantly clear, that was dripping with sarcasm.
I never used to mind birthdays. I don’t even recall giving it much thought when I turned 30. But each year into this decade stings a bit more. I mean, really, in the grand scheme of things, 34 is young. I feel young. I live young. I have no problem keeping up with my toddler. I have so far managed to fight the allure of mom jeans and the admittedly more tempting sweatsuit for every day of the week. I get out regularly to have a few drinks with friends or go to concerts or hang out with the girls. I’m tired and ready to go home by midnight — fine, 11 pm — but at least I’m out there. I’m living life.
So what does it matter if I’m not technically 26 — the age my older sister has instructed me to maintain because she refuses to budge from 29?* For about 355 days of the year, it doesn’t matter. I feel pretty much the same as I did when I was 26. It’s those other 10 days that piss me off — sneaking up on me and making me think I’m old.
I swear I entered October in a perfectly young state of mind. So what if I’m turning 34? Half the time I have to pull out a calculator to remember my actual age. Then little by little I started noticing things. Things I didn’t like about my skin, my teeth, my body. I couldn’t sleep at night, painfully aware of my older, less elastic facial skin being tugged and squished by the pillow. Next thing I know I’m on drugstore.com ordering an obscene amount of anti-aging products – teeth whitener, anti-wrinkle cream, another cream to micro-sculpt. What does “micro-sculpt” even mean? I have no idea, but I was sure I needed it.
Then another day, my lack of routine exercise became so overwhelmingly distracting that I started just all out running — pitiful, painful running. I hate running. And it was obvious. It was ugly. But I’m not going down with a post-pregnancy pot belly! Not without a fight!
Realizing that I was quickly spiraling into a mid-life crisis, I tried to take a step back. Exercise is good, but maybe I need a routine that won’t render me lame and coughing for three days at a time. Taking care of my skin and teeth? Yes. But getting upset about having laugh lines? They’re laugh lines! A sign of a happy life! What’s to be upset about? So I just need to take it down a notch.
Then I recalled one of my pre-birthday freak-outs from last year and realized it would all be alright. A day before my last birthday, my father commented that he couldn’t remember what my “real” hair color was, having assumed that I had already begun dyeing the grey out of my hair and apparently had been doing so for quite a while. “What?” I balked. “This is my natural hair color. I haven’t dyed my hair in years. And,” I added indignantly, “I have never had a grey hair in my life.” Minutes later, to my complete and utter horror, I noticed my hair catching a strange light in the mirror. No friggin way, I said to myself. And then pulled out my first grey hair. You son of a bitch! It was long enough that it must have been there for a while without my noticing, but it felt an awful lot like it had just sprouted there that day to spite me.
That hair haunted me for days after my 33rd birthday, but now I am about to celebrate another birthday and there has not been a grey hair in sight. And there hasn’t been all year. So today I woke up feeling good. I admit I still slathered on a couple layers of age-defying products before brushing my teeth with some sort of bleaching paste, but generally I felt good. I thought I might have even noticed my laugh lines looking a little more shallow. And then, don’t you know it, I saw a little sparkle of light near my temple . . . another grey hair. A short one. Probably only a few days old. Like maybe 10 days? Ten sneaky, spiteful days. Damn you, October.
*[Correction: In response to a friendly, but firm, request from a concerned reader, I would like to correct the first sentence of the third paragraph. It should read: “So what does it matter if I’m not technically 26 or younger — the age my older or twin sister has instructed me to maintain because she refuses to budge from 26.”]
The Ten Days in October by MushBrain, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Terms and conditions beyond the scope of this license may be available at mushbrain.net.