Today is a my birthday and I am twice times 20 years old, and we will never speak of this number again.
Honestly I haven’t been so upset about a birthday since I turned 20, when I panicked about not being a teenager anymore and freaked out on the phone to my friend Pete, who (from the safety of a 17-month age difference in his favor) spoke smugly about how much he relished growing older and looked forward to becoming more mature and being taken more seriously.
FYI, that smugness wore off sometime in our 30s and now he’s as depressed about birthdays as anyone should be when staring down the long, dark barrel of the inescapable decline into decrepitude. But just to make sure we’re good and even for his lack of empathy on a single college freakout phone call two decades ago, regardless of the countless other instances of support and care in our 23 years of friendship, here’s a photo of us at his senior prom.
Truth be told, I’m not actually upset about being this age (although I’m not thrilled about the prospect of looking like I should be this age, so I’m really amping up my complicated Korean skincare routine these days) so much as I am upset about the prospect of having to admit to being this age on, like, paperwork and surveys and things. Because I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the world is kind of a dick about women being anything older than, like, 25.
Just ask my targeted digital ad profile, which now seems to think that I’m interested in anti-sagging elbow patches and kicky short hairstyles that will really make me stand out on the shuffleboard court.
I’ve got news for you marketers and your old-timey conceptions of women and what makes them old: You mofos can pry my green nail polish and my shredded fishnet leggings out of my cold, dead hands (in about 15 minutes when I expire of old age, probably). If being pregnant didn’t make me sick, miserable and on occasion nearly dead, I’d have another baby right now JUST TO PROVE I CAN.
Now that I’ve Crossed Over the Invisible Line of Maturity, I have no intent of going down without a fight. In fact, I intend to become one of those age-ambiguous women who never lets on how old she is and could be like a really rough 27 or a spectacular 55 or anywhere in between.
I also intend to lie about my age on paperwork whenever practical. I know some of you are going to be all like “Don’t do it! You earned those years! Maturity and confidence! Old is relative!” Guess what? YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ME HOW TO AGE, EITHER. Thank u, next.
Anyhow, to celebrate my impending agelessness, I did what any reasonable person would do: I put on an evening gown and jumped in a stream.
Bring it on, age that shall not be named.
Photos by Amanda Vick Creative