20what?

On a recent shopping trip to Old Navy, I was checking out and the kid at the register did the usual “would you like to save 10% by enabling yourself to binge-shop opening a credit card” bit. I politely said no, and added that I know he has to say that because I used to work there in high school. His little sixteen-year-old eyes lit up and he said, “Oh! Then you probably know most of the people here.”

Most of the kids working there were all of like TEN when I graduated high school.

I pointed out that I graduated seven years ago, and he was clearly shocked.

“Wow– you don’t look like you’re 25!”

“Looking like” a certain age is becoming more relative the closer I get to thirty. Obviously, kids are kids– I can spot a high school freshman from a mile away (in part tipped off by the trademark insecurities and overcompensations of every fourteen-year-old who has ever breathed). But saying that someone “looks 25” or thirty or forty? I think that at some point the idea of my mom– or any mom– as a thirty-something was imprinted on my brain, making it difficult to conceptualize the fact that she’s actually approaching 45, and I’M the one approaching my thirties.

In the next five years, in fact, all of my closest friends will be thirty-something. Weren’t we just singing that emo song about staying eighteen forever? Staying up half the night, making poor life choices (see also: “finding ourselves”) and cramming for finals? And now here we are– wearing our big girl pants– getting married, buying houses, having babies, and saving for retirement like the thirty-somethings that once seemed so ancient.

I read recently that your thirties are supposed to be like your twenties, but with money. SIGN ME UP. A magical place where “dinner and drinks” means something a step above pizza and cheap beer, where vacations include resorts and room service instead of cramming ten people into one hotel room with a window unit. No, thirty doesn’t sound so bad after all.

But if I find myself nostalgically wishing for those reckless, pre-biggirlpants days once in a while?

Chances are that my fellow thirty-somethings will be craving a dollar slice, too, and there will be a broke twenty-something who will keep my kids alive in the meantime 🙂

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Author: Erica the Great

twenty-something + wife + momma + teacher + lover of nutella

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