I’m tired of listening to people whine about the woes of aging. And by people, I mean me.
I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about the passage of time and the unfortunate things it does to my mind and body. Enough of that.
In honor of my birthday today, I’m sharing a list of twenty things that are better now than they were twenty years ago, when I was twenty. Here goes:
1) I no longer put up with people I don’t really like. I’m not rude to them (I don’t think), I just feel less obligated to stay involved.
2) I’m not afraid to go places — bars, plays, museums — by myself. I’ve stopped worrying about what other people might think of it.
3) I blush less often. Not never, but much less often. If you knew me then, you know what a big relief this is.
4) I know how to change a diaper and snuggle a baby. I’m a mom! I enjoyed this whole learning process more than I thought I would.
5) I can write a proposal, make a presentation, navigate strange airports and cities, and find my way back home again.
6) I can make a reasonably good dinner for six or heavy hors d’oeuvres for 60.
7) I have friends who are not my age. I find that anyone between 20 and 92 can be equally entertaining. We’re all grown ups here.
8) I don’t have homework. Anything I’m reading or learning is by choice.
9) No more boyfriend drama. Or drunk friend drama. Nobody’s crying at the end of the night.
10) I eat much better and more interesting food now. And drink much better and more interesting drinks.
11) I don’t have to make copies for anybody. Actually, I don’t know what entry-level grunt work is now that there aren’t hard copies of anything. But whatever it is, I don’t have to do it.
12) I’m equally happy spending time with other people and by myself. Which is a good thing, since everyone I work with is in Pennsylvania.
13) I rarely do things just because I think I should. Like grow vegetables or make all our bread from scratch.
14) On the other hand, I do plenty of things that I think I probably shouldn’t. Because I’m a grown up, and I can if I want to.
15) I’m a better friend than I used to be. I spend more time thinking about other people instead of focusing energy on myself.
16) I’m much less worried about what I look like or what anyone else looks like. (And it’s a good thing, because 40 sure as hell doesn’t look like 20.)
17) I’m a little bit settled. It’s hard to give up the feeling of having the big wide world ahead of you. But putting down a few roots here and there is not so bad either.
18) I know when to save and when to spend money. Which hopefully means that the fun I have will far outlast the work I do.
19) I can see the other end of the tunnel. I’m not saying I’m ready to keel over, just that I can imagine a time when work and child will be behind me, and that time looks like a lot of fun.
20) I know enough not to mourn this birthday. Life is good and, if you’re lucky, life is long. And that’s good.