I’ve hit a kind of awkward phase in my life. I’m no longer in my twenties, but don’t really feel resigned to the mid-thirties yet. I have no idea where to shop for clothes, as everything seems to be designed either by pirate sex workers or ladies who favor the twin-set and slacks. I have no idea what slacks are. I still get visited by the acne fairy, but I’m starting to maybe get some wrinkles. It’s like adult puberty. It’s weird.
I have a subscription to Real Simple magazine, and it feels like every ad page is devoted to some “Miracle Eye Lift” or “Sexy Chin Implants” or whatever is designed to make you feel/look/act younger. The radio (yes, I listen to the radio) is filled with ads for laser skin resurfacing and vein removal. TV commercials are as bad, if not worse. Everyone seems to act as if getting older is a shameful thing to avoid at all costs. I admit I’ve fallen into this trap. My twenties were a blurry, fun, exciting mess and comparatively, my thirties seem boring and lifeless. I used to think it would be fun to recapture the halcyon days of my youth… the ones that I see through the rosy tints of time and perspective. Lately, though, my feelings on aging have come around.
I used to be so afraid of getting older, which was ironic, since I lived like I would never see thirty. As I’ve gone into this new weird stage of my life, though, I’ve come to appreciate every day that I have. My mom died when she was about my age. I was incredibly young, and don’t remember too much of her anymore. I have a lot of pictures. I know she had more gray hair than I do, although at the rate I’m going, it won’t be too long before I catch up. I know she wore big eighties glasses, and dressed in that way the decade had that aged you twenty years with a single turtleneck. I know that she smiled a lot.
I came to realize that there are a lot of things worse than aging, so I’m getting older for the both of us. Maybe she never got to deal with the wonders of crow’s feet or wrinkly hands. Maybe she agonized over face creams and vitamins and anti-aging face wash. She also never got to see me get married or meet her grandchildren. I’m doing all of the things she didn’t get to do, hopefully with the same amount of grace and style, and I realized I am totally fine with it.
I’m sure everyone knows that there were bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston marathon yesterday afternoon. As of this morning when I left my house, there were three dead, almost two hundred people wounded. They aren’t sure how many devices there were beyond the two that exploded. Whether this was an act of domestic or international terrorism is still being investigated. The bomber’s motive is still unknown.
I first learned about the attack from an NPR email alert on my phone. I was still at work, unable to turn on a tv or go hunting online for news. Later, a “story” showed up that was a compilation of tweets, full of pictures that clearly showed blood and injured people. I was sickened, both at the sight of the destruction and the decision to publish those pictures. I deleted the email before finishing, there was no way I could look at all of the images and keep my shit together at work.
When I got home, MSNBC was on. As I sat down to watch Chris Matthews, I was curious to know if anyone had come forward, if they were sure all of the bombs were diffused and accounted for, if there were attacks anywhere else. Instead, I saw video after video of the bomb itself. There was live feed showing people taken away on stretchers. Chris had witnesses calling in to go over what they saw or felt. And in the middle of one of these calls, he asked “Did you see any limbs or body parts lying around?”