approaching the Cliff

I am not happy about my upcoming birthday. Odd, I thought, because I usually LIKE and enjoy my birthdays. I like the thought of having put another year behind me–the act of summarizing the year past and creating new goals go forward. To just think, “Cool, today’s my birthday.”

But not this year. It first began when I sensed my face was sagging JUST a touch. Not noticeable at all, to be honest, but just enough–and very marked if I were to, let’s say, browse through old photos taken when I was in my early twenties. Hypothetically. And see how I have aged. Hrm. Hypothetically aged. Hrm. Older. Hrm.

And then there are some personal things going on that have exacerbated this whole growing another year older thing, the feeling I’m going OVER THE CLIFF.

They say at age 35, your fertility, for instance, drops over a cliff. When you’re pregnant, post-35, they put stickers ALL OVER YOUR FOLDER stating you’re “over 35” as if it is some horrific territory. It seems arbitrary, but medicine claims it is NOT arbitrary.

So I’m not happy with turning 35 at all. For more than a few reasons.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “approaching the Cliff

  1. Erica

    I felt a tad odd about turning 35, but oddly, I LOVED turning 36. It was as though my expectations of my life & my actual life finally caught up with each other. Even at 40 pounds overweight & recently having discovered that it would be unlikely for my husband and I ever to have kids (which is okay, as we weren’t planning to head down that road anyway), I feel fabulous and am loving my 36th year. Less than 6 months to go to 37 and I’m looking forward to that, too. I hope you can find the same balance I have.

  2. Hi Erica

    Thank you for your kind words. I know that 35 is not “old”–but it’s my “scary age.”

  3. Cat

    It’s funny how we each have “an age” that feels especially fraught with significance . 45 was hard/scary/weird final feeling for me – but 50 felt GREAT! My point is, “It does get better.”

    And meanwhile, it’s a great excuse to treat yourself. I spent a week on a private island in the British Virgin Islands for my 45th. I know one woman who bought herself a whopper of a rock to wear, and another who went backpacking solo. Treat yourself to something you didn’t used to think you deserve. You do.

    big hug on your impending bd.

  4. Hi Cat. Thank you. πŸ™‚ Birthday is today. Thank goodness it’s almost all over. Not in a good mood today.

  5. Okay, it’s OVER! YAY! You are, officially, hopefully, in a Better Place. Maybe you even bought something cool. If you did, you owe it to your devoted readers to ‘fess up.

    My thought about this is that there’s no rule that you have to like the whole thing and it is in fact true that there are harder years than others. For some it’s when you turn a decade older, for others, it’s the half decade, for others it’s every single one of them.

    I guess the hard thing at the core of this for me is mortality itself, the truth that we are not here forever and yet we spend time watching crap television or working at jobs we don’t love, or make mistakes and submit stories that aren’t ready to journals we love, or… you know, whatever private regret you might have.

    When this happens, I tell myself that birthdays would be easier if I spent more time during the year thinking birthday-type thoughts and so took the sting out of the whole thing by facing up to it in smaller increments.

  6. I’ve had some really sucky birthdays, and some really great ones. I’m sorry this one wasn’t fun for you. I hope this year still turns out to be a good one.

  7. bloglily: thank you for your kind and encouraging words. You are so awesome, I hope we meet someday irl and I can give you a big hug. πŸ™‚ I sometimes wonder if we’ve brushed elbows already at the Bowl or some other Berkeley haunt.

    Susan: yup, they come and go. Luckily I have many supportive friends like you, so it never gets too bad. πŸ™‚

  8. Eve

    Jade, happy belated birthday. I’m sorry I missed it; I’d have put on a party hat to write this!

    About the babies; I’ve had babies at 36 and 40 and it was no big deal. I had plenty of energy and felt like I did at 25 until this past year. The biggest change has been actually needing sleep (I used to be able to function on 5 hours a night, but not any more).

    Anyway, I think every woman has her own “over the edge” age. I loved my 30s and 40s, but had a crisis at 50. I was thrilled to turn 30 and 40, but I do remember that 48 gave me pause. Other friends have felt differently. I know some people who have never had an off the edge age. I call them “unconscious.”

    Ha ha!

    There is nothing bad about a birthday that can’t be cured by (a) good food, (b) alcohol, (c) good sex, (d) loud singing, or (e) a great new pair of shoes. Or any combination thereof. If you’re still blue, try some combo and get back to us. I recommend doing them all in one fell swoop.

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