On Growing Up…


two… nine


That’s how old I am now.  When did that happen? I am acutely aware of how fast a decade can go, because it feels like I just barely got used to being an official adult like, yesterday.   I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I like it very much.  Because next year I will sit down, potentially in this exact spot, and blog about turning 30.  And i am not ready to be 30 yet.  People who are 29 going on 30 are different than me. For example, they own a house, or a condo.  They also generally have a pet. They own furniture…that they picked out and bought themselves.  Many of them have children.  They know what they want to be when they grow up.

They are someTHING. They are Doctors, Lawyers, Teacher’s, Accountants, Managers, Electricians, Hair Dressers, Insurance Agents, Therapists, Nurses, Designers, Chefs, Wives, Husbands, Mothers, Fathers, Owners, etc. They can define themselves by these things.  So if they are at a cocktail party and someone says “tell me about yourself,” they can say, “Well, i am a mother of two and I work part time as a nurse in the oncology unit.”  Or they can talk about  the current state of the economy and the housing market and how their stocks have taken a hit.

They talk about the woes of pregnancy, or leaking roofs, or their upcoming vacation to Cancun, Mexico. Some of them are married, some are already divorced. Some have 3 degrees. Some have a decade of experience in their jobs.  I have none of these things.

But I do know that identity isn’t determined by what we DO. I swear I do. It’s just that being 29 going on 30 means a lot more than just getting a year older. It’s loaded with all sorts of expectations.  I’m not old. I don’t feel old and it would be insulting to people who are older than me if I called myself old.  But I am, as it turns out, a grown up. I think i need to figure out what that looks like for me. So that I will, at the very least, have something to say at cocktail parties.

On a side note, for some reason the past few weeks, with the perspective of turning 29, I have become obsessed with people’s ages (mainly celebrities). I google everyone to find out how old they are. Why? I have no idea. I guess to get some perspective on my own age. Am i older or younger than the people I see in the news all the time?  It’s very strange, I know. But, just in case you were wondering… Madonna is 51, Kate Hudson is 29,  Owen Wilson is 40, Michelle Pfeiffer is 50, Patrick Dempsey is 43,  Rihanna is 21, John Mayer is 31, Katie Holmes is 31, Katherine Heigl is 31, Brad Pitt is 44, Angelina Jolie is 34, and Meryl Streep is 60.

sad. i know.


5 Responses to “On Growing Up…”

  1. 1 larissa March 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm


    Your blog got me a little panicky. I wish we could just….be.

    Screw careers and stocks. Neither of those things are even fun, at all.

    In any case, I completely agree with you. And, I love you hair that color 😉

  2. 2 Don Brewster March 13, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Its a crazy thing that I hope to enjoy next year… the dredded double thoughts of pre-thirty syndrome, thanks for the reminder of what to expect. But Shelley, you are you, a wonderful you infact. Oh and ummm in that list of celebrity ages… i couldn’t help but notice that my name was not on that list…cough…cough…. Or Evangeline Lilly for that matter. hm… just looking for loop holes, thats all.

  3. 3 Ashley B. March 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    you are infinitely more interesting than people who answer the “tell me about yourself” question with their job title.

  4. 4 Jasmine March 25, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I like these thoughts. Not enough good thoughts on this subject are said aloud.
    I am also obsessed with celebrity ages, and it is a fixation rooted in bad things…like I find myself actually thinking fretfully “So by the age of 21, Rhianna has produced the ultimate summer anthem, a string of best-selling albums, become touted for her original style and hair, and fallen in passionate love with a consonent shunning, woman beating, adolescent!” Damn. That’s a lot of territory. But then I think about the exhaustion, the misogyny, the hair gel, etc. required to maintain that kind of accomplishment and I think – “woot woot! JC, you got it good!”

    P.S. Have you ever listened to anyone actually talk about their stocks? As in the stocks THEY own? Makes one instantly snore like a troll. Gawdawful stuff. Shouldn’t want to be part of it I think.

    But in sincerity, the most interesting and rewarding people I have met in my life are the ones who are unable to answer questions like “tell me about yourself” or “what do you want to be when you grow up” (for the record, my answer was Cleopatra) because the vitality of their life lies in other things unseen and undescribed. An old friend of mine, who used to be my church elder, told me one that the best parts of God were the ones in “the little white spaces” on the page between the words of the bible. That is to say that what speaks to our hearts the strongest and deepest is the mystery in the nature of something, the things inexplicable that can not be written or transcribed. I think life is the same. Go for the things that live in the little white spaces of your life. The rest is all fallible anyway.

  5. 5 borcoemezed November 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Wow, I did not heard about this topic until now. Thanks!

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