OH MY GOD! I’M IN MY 30s!!!!!!

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The absolute WORST thing happened to me today.

I realized how old I am.  More specifically, I realized how young I am NOT.  And, let me tell you.  That’s a heartbreaking realization.

So, here’s what happened.

I had to attend a professional development training after school today.  I got there on time, moseyed into the classroom where we would be having class, and looked around for a place to sit.  Most of the tables were full, but I spotted a seat at a table full of youngish women who seemed about my age, and so I asked if I could sit at the last seat left at their table.  They happily agreed and made room for me.

It took about 10 minutes for me to realize that something was sort of… off.

For one thing, they each had sorority letters on their shirts.  Something I have not seen since I was in college myself, or at least right out of college.

“Hmm…” i thought to myself, trying not to stare.  “That’s weird.”

And then, two of them mention that they were roommates.  Now, there is not a thing is the world wrong with having a roommate.  It’s just that I haven’t really hung around people with a roommate since before I was married – ALMOST TEN YEARS AGO.

Finally, they started talking about the bars they were going to after the class tonight (ON A SCHOOL NIGHT!) (DOWNTOWN!) and the boys they were going to meet there.

And that’s when I looked around and realized that I was EASILY ten years older than these girls.

TEN YEARS!

So, then we had to go around and introduce ourselves to our table mates.  They all knew each other, so it was really just me introducing myself.  Their hobbies included shopping, traveling, and frequenting the bars (ON SCHOOL NIGHTS!) (DOWNTOWN!).

My hobbies included reading books, running to lower my cholesterol, and playing with my CHILDREN.

“Oh!” one of them squealed.  “You have kids?!”

“It must be so hard to work and be a new mom!” another chimed in.

My palms began to get sweaty.  My eye began to twitch.

“Actually,” I practically gasped out.  “My daughter is three and my son is… is.. FIVE!”

And then I held my breath because I knew what was coming next.

“OH!” a third laughed.  “You look so young!  How old are you?”

My heart began pounding.  My stomach did a few flips.

“Well, I’m 32.”

And then they said it.  The words I have said so often to other people without realizing how awful they are, without realizing that I was crushing their 20-something spirit.  “You don’t look that old!” the fourth squealed.

I laughed outwardly and yelled out on the inside, “I KNOW I DON’T LOOK THAT OLD – BECAUSE 32 IS NOT OLD!” But when you are sitting at a table full of girls who just graduated from college, I guess 32 really is old.  Or, at least older.

The numbers here really aren’t the issue.  Age is just a number, right?  But what knocked me on my feet was my perception of myself.  I SAW myself as being the same age as those girls.  When I saw them sitting together, I thought, “Oh, there are my people.”  But when I looked around the room, I probably had more in common with the middle aged women sitting at various other tables, who all were texting their husbands to make sure they had picked up the kids and were feeding them something other than chips for dinner (like I was doing…).

I love being in my 30’s.  I feel like I have come into my own in the past few years.  I’m more confident, more settled, more patient with myself, more forgiving of myself.  The 30s are a great decade for me.  But apparently I had been thinking of my 20-something self as a 32-year-old.

But, sitting with those girls, I felt every day of my 32 years.

As the class went on, though, and their conversations rambled from single-girl topic to single-girl topic, I realized that maybe being 32 wasn’t so bad after all.  All of the girls wanted to buy homes, but weren’t sure they would ever be able to afford one.  Two of them were waiting for their boyfriends to ask them to move in with them.  One of them was checking her bank account online to see if her paycheck had cleared yet so that she could pay her rent tomorrow.

I remember those struggles.  They weren’t all that long ago, but at the same time, they seem like they were ages ago.  And I had to smile to myself at how far Chris and I have come since we were 23 years old.

So, no.  I don’t really belong at the 20-something table anymore.  And while that might be a hard pill for me to choke down, I think I’m pretty darn happy sitting at the 32-year-old table.

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19 thoughts on “OH MY GOD! I’M IN MY 30s!!!!!!

  1. well…i still don’t like sitting at the 45 plus table….because in my mind I’m 32.

  2. HeatherM

    I was at the doctor today when the receptionist said she had to do a double take, because she thought I looked 18-19 and I’m 32. And then I got the good old “you’ll appreciate that one day when you’re older.” But right now my baby face is a liability. I want to move up into management at my job, but too often I’m seen as just a kid, and I’m often not taken seriously as a result.

  3. LIssa

    I went to a Christmas concert with a lovely friend of mine from work. We have great fun together both at work and socializing. So when a 4 year old was making her precocious rounds of the adults sitting about and asked if I was her mother, my 59 year old self was more than a bit deflated. I know that my friend is 39, but still….I could be her mother, but so often we feel the same .Except for my ankles and knees I just can’t seem to reconcile these things 🙂

  4. Jenn

    There are some days I can’t believe I’m 32 either. Wasn’t I just 26? Where did those years go? Don’t get me wrong, I love my life but when people ask my age I have to stop for a second to tell them.

  5. Lee Ann

    When my grandmother was in her 90s, she told me that she always felt — in her heart — like she was still 18. I couldn’t understand that then, but now at 52, I know exactly what she meant … I feel like I’m around 20. And I hope that I will ALWAYS feel that way, because I don’t want to feel my age, ever!

  6. Janet

    Yes, I have to say that my 59 (–whaaat!—) year old self still feels about 35, except for when I’m working in the garden. I have to many more breaks than I did when I was 35.

  7. jenny-bird

    As someone who was never in a sorority and married her high school sweetheart in college, I’ve always felt like I lived my life at least 5 years older than my age group. I’ll be 28 this Thursday, and in a few short weeks, I’ll have my first child. I’m so excited to move on to the next stage of life!

  8. Last night I may have had a meltdown and said something to my husband like, “I’m going to be 34 in June! 34! And 34 is only a year away from 35, and 35 is practically 40!!! I’m so old!” I’m just glad that I’ve been able to maintain my dramatic flair as I age. Although, half the time I’m too tired to think about how old I am. Here’s to being a middle age soccer mom!

  9. Jennie

    I’ll be 32 soon, and I occasionally will read an article about people in their 20s, and then think, “Wait, I’m not in that age group anymore!”

    I also get the “you look so young” thing quite a bit.

  10. Katie

    I can totally relate. The older I get, the younger I feel. In a few days I will be closer to 50, than 40.

  11. Katie

    My comment didn’t finish. I have a freshman in college and a jr in high school. When we visit the colleges I feel like I should be the student not the mother!!!!!!!

  12. Lauren G

    I have these exact same thoughts! I feel so young until I’m around 20 somethings and then that 10 year gap makes itself known. I also think it is hilarious that my older cousins used to say this all the time “I don’t feel 30/35/etc” and I would be secretly thinking Gosh, 35 is SO OLD. And now I’m 32 and thinking no way do I feel 32, and 35 CANNOT be old because no way am I old! Ha…it comes full circle.

  13. Ha. This happened to me at work. I had just started a new job, and was talking to a teacher that I thought was my age or close to it. She had graduated from my alma mater, and I figured we must’ve had some classes together but nope, she graduated TEN YEARS AFTER ME. I was mortified.

  14. Ruth

    Hahaha l am so glad to known I am not alone. For me was also a shock seen pictures from 10 years ago, I don’t look the same!!!!

  15. It took awhile but I love being in my 30s. I turned 33 in November and I really do feel like I know myself better now and I feel way more confident. We get med students that I have to mentor and it is funny to hear them talk about going out all the time but you know what? I’ve both been there and done that and thank god there were not iphones at that point in time. Some of those memories need to stay hidden 🙂

  16. Hilary

    I just started a new teaching position in the fall in a school that is a quarter of the size of my previous one. I am also one of the youngest teachers there (at 36!) because no one leaves until they retire. One of my kids asked me the other day if I knew the song, “Piano Man” by Billy Joel and just to tease her, I said, “Why Sarah? Because I’m OLD??” All of my kids laughed and then proceeded to tell me that I looked 27 or 28. Which is actually not that much younger than 36. I’m trying to cherish my 30’s, though. 40 can’t be possible – I still wear Converse sneakers!!

  17. Haha, great post! I turn 30 this year – and while I’ve been dreading “getting older” – I am MUCH happier with myself than I was 5 and 10 years ago. I too have a 3 year old and a 5 year old and life ROCKS! I just wish it didn’t have to fly by so quickly.

  18. farrar

    I lurk instead of comment but ABSOLUTELY on this one. I still “see” myself as 23 until I am with some 23 year olds then I feel every day of my …. ohh… gasp… 33 years… OUCH! But then I realize I am pretty darn happy where I am. Bloom where you are planted! :0)

  19. Michelle Kolwyck

    I completely understand! I’m 35 and my best friend and I have often spoken about how surreal it seems to have a mortgage and kids and husbands, when we still see ourselves as we were in Jr. High or High School. I don’t feel 35 and yet at the same time, 15 or 16 seems like a lifetime ago- almost like those things happened to someone else.

    My poor nephew always enjoyed talking to me about music because for a while, he was into the same hard rock/metal that I listen to- so we could “talk shop” about Metallica and AC/DC and all that. Back in December was the first time I’d seen him in a year and he tried to talk to me about music like always and that’s when he realized that I was “old”- because now he’s into the Trap music and Dub Step and I really don’t know anything about that stuff aside from “well, I hear that Skrillex lad drops things a lot”. Poor guy was crestfallen. I think he took it harder than I did!

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