Last September I began my 38th trip around the sun, and in many ways, you could say my late 30s are turning into the best years yet.
Many of the things I strove for in my 20s have happened. I have kids, a husband, a home, a career, and my wrinkles are still in their early years. I’m old enough where VSCO girls are now wearing my high school trends, but not old enough where I don’t know how to hashtag or throw out some asinine terms like “totes obs” or “meta.” (Those probably are no longer a thing, but again, I’m now 38, so go with it.)
These days, when I want to feel young, I simply throw on some old-school gangster rap and try to roll deep in my crossover SUV. The moments when I own my old age come when I enter a rooftop bar filled with 22-year-olds and realize I’m technically old enough to be their mother.
While I still feel pretty hip—and I fully recognize just saying “hip” makes me old as dirt—many moments in this new age have me shaking my head while whispering to myself, Yeah, I’m too old for this.
For example, self-help books for confidence. Last summer a friend recommended a best-seller claiming it changed her life and how she approached her work, friends, and more. One chapter in I closed the book because I’m too old for this. At this point in my life, I don’t need cheerleaders telling me I’ve “got this!” and that I’m “powerful and can be [myself]!”
The beauty of this season in my late 30s is I’ve stopped caring about other’s expectations and judgments of me. While juggling children, a marriage, a career, and life, who seriously has time for that? Who has time to let these things creep in and steal your attention from what’s really important in life?
Not this lady.
I definitely needed the cheerleading book when I was in my 20s and a walking ball of insecurities and anxiety. But at 38? I’ve got this. I know who I am, faults and all.
What else am I too old for?
My kids are now 6 and 9, and occasionally we’ll have a night when someone is sick and I get zero sleep. When I was in my late 20s or early 30s, I could muster through the next day with additional coffee and manage just fine.
These days, it’s as if Madea and Ursula had a baby. If you look at me wrong after a night of no sleep, I just might steal your soul or slap you with my purse. Ask my husband.
While we’re on the topic of no sleep, I’m also too old for cheap vodka of any kind and hangovers. At 38, it’s no longer just a headache in the morning. It’s now a two-day affair, and I can no longer sleep it off or eat ramen because of kids being kids.
Thinking I could drop five pounds by dieting for 72 hours is also a thing of the past, and after four kids I’d be a fool to think I’m ever wearing low rise anything again. Say no to crack, people, especially when sitting on the park grass at a play date.
When surveying my friends on what they’re too old for, the responses were hilarious: husbands who don’t load the dishwasher, people taking PTA way too seriously, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and thong underwear topped the list. I agree.
It’s funny how you spend your youth worrying about getting older, but then the life train pulls into this new station and it’s wonderful in its own, unique way. I had a complete freak-out on my 30th birthday, worried about the future and what it would look like. If I could write a letter to my younger self now, I’d tell myself, “It only gets better, and you’ll feel more like yourself than ever, in even comfier underwear.”