Lately when I see new pictures of myself, I'm startled by how old I look. I'm thirty-four and I do know that isn't old, especially with most of my friends who also spent their entire twenties in school. We're a late blooming bunch when it comes to growing up. Still, now solidly in my thirties and with a kid on my hip, I don't really feel (or look!) young anymore.
When I was eleven years old my favorite TV show was Thitrysomething. I can't say why but I was obsessed with Hope and Michael and their arts-and-crafts house, ever in need of repair. I remember visiting my father and telling him that I wanted to rush back from a dinner out because I needed to see my show, Thirtysomething. He told me I should be watching Elevensomething, but we got back in time to see it anyway.
Years later when I was in college, I happened to catch the pilot episode of the show again. It felt nostalgic to watch, but also made me laugh. There was essentially no plot, the big tearful drama being whether or not Hope and Michael could bare to leave their baby with a sitter and go on a camping trip with friends. Why had this been so captivating to a pre-teen me? Also, had I really thought that men in vests, high waisted pants, and suspenders was a good thing?!
Fast forward to last spring when I discovered Thirtysomething was available on Netflix and decided it would be fun to see it again now that I actually am thirty something. I put my then seven month old baby to bed, poured a glass of wine... and proceeded to bawl my eyes out from the moment the opening credits started. Of course it was the greatest dilemma of all time whether or not to leave your baby with a sitter and enjoy a camping trip with friends. Clearly the internal debate over returning to a successful career or staying at home with a child is the most important issue ever captured on video... and vests, high waisted pants, and suspenders... totally sexy on men!
So I guess maybe I have more in common with the eleven year old me than the twenty year old one, or maybe everything just cycles around until it fits all over again. I still do feel like a bit of a kid, like someone is going to come over and open up my refrigerator and demote me back to twenty something for not having my act together.
I may not be a certified grown up, but I am a wife and a mother, and I do have well earned circles and wrinkles... and even the occasional gray hair. I'm sure every decade has it's unique beauty, but I am willing to bet that the thirties are the sweet spot for me... and I think I knew they would be even when I was eleven.