The day of my birth x 38 is fast approaching. I can own it. I'm turning 38. Thirty-eight. I don't have a problem with aging, per se, which is probably good because I don't seem to have a choice in the matter. Those numbers keep on getting bigger, whether I like it or not.
I mean, there are the attendant anxieties about being an aging femme. I have a shit-ton to say about this but it is probably best left for another day. The femme-i-liscious Amber Hollibough has written some fine work on this subject, if you feel like reading about it in the meantime. For now, suffice it to say that I spend more money than I should on anti-wrinkle creams that I know probably do nothing but ameliorate my anxieties somewhat.
The part of aging that is the hardest is the whole 'where I am of it', of course. And where *am* I, exactly? Well, let's see. I own nothing. Actually, that's not true. I own a car. Which keeps breaking. I have no job. (And, after having spent many years as a stay-at-home mama, I'm fairly unemployable in a way that actually uses my previous rad work experience and actual skills). I'm a graduate student who is the same age (or older?) than many of the professors around me. This bit is weird. It's weird because it makes me constantly feel like an under-achiever. And infant trying to hang with the grown-ups. Big-time. I know it's silly. It isn't like I've been doing nothing all these past years. But the things I've been busy with are not the things that build a resume. They aren't the sort of things that generally get recognized as important. Or look good on a SSHRC application. So - I *do* rather emphatically feel funny (read: yucky) about being what I jokingly (read: not so jokingly) refer to as being the worlds' oldest graduate student.
I'm not, of course, where I thought I'd be at the age of thirty-eight. I'm not actually sure I ever thought I'd *be* as old as 38. I fancied, when I was younger, that I'd be a writer or a professor. Or you know, just generally employed. I'd be partnered (of course - 'cause that's just what grown-ups do, right?). I'd have a home. I'd be *someone*. But I'm quite certain my imaginings didn't involve pushing forty and single. Jobless. Still a student. Owning nothing. Flat fucking capital B Broke. I'm not destitute, by any frame of imagination, but certainly not what the world tends to define as "successful" either.
Of course I've done all kinds of things in my life that I am immensely proud of. I am raising these amazing little people. They are amazing. Really. Beautiful small beings with enormous hearts. Smart-as-whips. And total wee bad-asses. And I am trying my damndest to raise them in a way to shows them all the hard in the world without letting that hard squash them. It's a delicate balance and not easy. Kid-wrangling and raising is without a doubt the most difficult thing I have ever, and likely will ever, do. I know it is no small feat, even if the world would tell me otherwise. And I hang onto that. I've done some pretty great community work in my time, and some half-decent research. With an eye to more half-decent research and community work...
But in a bigger (and maybe more important) sense, I've also adventured and loved and learned and taken all kinds of risks. I'm fucking bold-assed brave. It's true. I really am. I've fucked up and learned. A whole bunch. I've worked on myself. A lot. I've tried to take great care of the people that I love. I've tried to learn to love better. To make myself stronger. I've tried to grow. I love who I am now, at nearly 38 much more than I did at 18 or 28, or even at this same time last year. I know my heart (and between you, me and the lamppost, she's prettyfreaking beautiful). Beyond that - I have absolutely nothing figured out. Nada. Zilch. Zip. I think I kinda like it that way. That's part of the fun of it. If I had it all figured out and settled, I'd likely be horrendously bored. And I don't exactly do bored well. More than this, I'm not sure having it all figured out is actually the point.
As Ferron would say (well, sing actually) I'm a girl on a road. (And if you don't know who Ferron is, then it's safe to guess you weren't raised by lesbians in the 80s and 90s).
So 38, hiya. It'll be nice to make your acquaintance soon.
Let's see what we can do together...