The day my youth went to the moon
Posted on February 21st, 2013
A long time ago, in an AP Composition class far, far away, I was assigned a partner for a writing assignment in which we had to write what we thought the other would be doing in twenty or thirty years.
I can’t remember what I wrote for my partner. She and I had previously bonded over our mutual love for Camper Van Beethoven. She predicted I’d be an impoverished writer living in New York City in a hole in the wall apartment. She meant it well and was surprised I was offended, but in my teenaged fantasy, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be impoverished.
In retrospect, she got most of it right. I’m poor. I’m not sure this condo is a hole in the wall per se, but it’s close. I write. It’s just Portland, not NYC.
All of this is to say that with the milestone birthday approaching, I am struggling with the number. As a rule, birthdays don’t worry me, because I’m significantly younger than M, and I am younger than almost all of my IRL friends (but older than most of my online friends).
After this birthday, I’m no longer young, at least as our society views youth. I’ll be as old as my mother was when I entered high school. The number reminds me I’m on my way to invisibility, and that scares me. Sure, it’s vanity. I’m vain. I pluck out the white hairs appearing at my temples. I’m more than a little glad Botox was the last best hope for getting the migraines under control, because that eyebrow furrow is GONE.
Also, I can’t stop thinking of the things I thought I would have done by now. This is an irrational pity party: I know that. I have done a lot of things I’m proud of, that are accomplishments in anyone’s book. I helped a lot of people, even some who didn’t want to be helped. This time, reminding myself doesn’t work.
The pity party is stupid, but I can’t stop.
Pea has told me she wants to get me a unicorn, a Pegasus, a ship, and a sloth for my birthday. Those would all be nice (I really would like a sloth). In reality, I’m asking M for membership to a couple of academic historical societies, so I can get their journals and access to the back issues of their journals online. The silver lining of poverty is the going rate for memberships in my income bracket is dirt cheap — only a little more than a couple of tickets to see CVB.
My partner, by the way? We haven’t kept in touch, but from mutual FB contacts, I can see she’s now something of a bigwig in Hollywood.