Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Turning 42 is Awesome(er)

I wrote a post last year entitled, "Why Turning 41 is Awesome",  but I deleted it.  At the time, this was a relatively new blog without many followers, although someone I worked with was reading it, and it felt just a bit too personal a post for only this one acquaintance to read.

Now ya'll have seen photos of my messy house, got me liquored up in NYC, know my medical secrets, and still read my blog, so I have nothing to hide.  Here you go:  Why Turning 42 is Awesomer Than I Thought it Would Be:

I received a birthday card from an old friend this morning with a photo of the skyline of Florence, Italy.  She wrote, "Remember what you were doing 20 years ago today?"  Yes, I do:  I had just quit my job in Rome, and I was sitting in a restaurant in Florence with her, celebrating turning the ripe old age of 22.  I remember the food we ate (gnocchi), the wine we drank (chianti) and the name of the restaurant (Aqua al due).  I remember the hotel we stayed at on the Piazza della Signoria, that we stayed up that night playing a drinking game called Pigs with some other Canadian backpackers until the hotel owner told us to shut up.

It was great fun; I felt so worldly having travelled around Europe, speaking three languages, and I felt like I'd just passed through the most exciting phase of my life.  I had that naive notion that adulthood meant stability and a slowing-down of everything, as if my life would begin its inevitable deceleration and I was having my one great last adventure.  I pictured life like this, where the X axis is age and the Y axis is some quantitative measure of experiences:

I grabbed this from Bio-Rad.com rather than try to make my own, but note how the curve decelerates just before 30. Like I thought my life would.

But there was a whole hell of a lot I didn't know.  I didn't know that grownups have exciting lives too.  I didn't know that I would go back to grad school at 29 and change jobs.  I didn't know that I would do it again at 37.  I didn't know that I would do more travelling in my 30s and 40s than in my 20s.  I didn't know that "settling down" with a partner doesn't mean that the relationship never changes.  I didn't know that having kids would be so difficult and fun and frustrating and loveable and exhausting.  I didn't know that there was still so much to learn.  I didn't know that I would forever be looking back at my past self and wondering how I could have been so ignorant about things.

Here's to exponential growth with no plateau! 

 
ps:  Thanks for reading everybody. Your comments and advice mean a lot to me.  Just to show I've been doing some actual Real Life Sewing now that I'm feeling better, here's a taste of what I'm working on: 



22 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday! Being in a phase where I sometimes feel slightly stagnant myself despite all the joy it brings, it is always reassuring to hear that there is still so much time to do fun and fulfilling things in life. Thanks for the happy reality check. And again, Happy Birthday!

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    1. Yeah, those early years at home with baby really make you feel like your world is getting smaller, but sometimes it's in a good way; to slow down and see things from their perspective, low to the ground and in close detail.

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  2. i know i know! it's a shwe shwe gown. right? yeah, i knew it.

    happy 42, sexy worldly lady. hope you're drinking something dangerous.

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    1. If by "something dangerous" you mean two glasses of Hungarian mousseaux, then uncontrolable sleeping* in a toddler bed with your kid, then yeah baby, I'm dangerous.

      (*We had a Japanese exchange student stay with us one summer, and so naturally I took her out for drinks one night, after which she came back home and promptly crashed in our guest room. The next morning she apologized for having had "uncontrollable sleeping" which she couldn't explain. It's now become part of our family lexicon because it was so hilarious. Yeah, I'm a really responsible home stay host. Send me your daughters.)

      I was going to finish the shwe shwe dress this evening, but the aforementioned mousseux + nap delayed that until tomorrow at least. I'll post it to the Sew Weekly for the City Inspiration once I'm done.

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    2. i love it. adopted in kalkatroona now. big daddy has definitely fallen victim.

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  3. Happy Birthday from Down Under!!!! Hope you are celebrating in style...

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    1. Well, I got to have lunch at our new favourite Afgani restaurant WITHOUT KIDS, which meant that we could actually savour our food and linger. Usually we are eating quickly, sweeping up the scattered mess, leaving a big tip and getting out within 30mins!

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  4. Happy birthday from England! ONE of the reasons I read your blog (apart from the sewing, natch!) is because we are the same age, but I have three teenage children! Life is never boring with them around! So let me assure you, plenty more exitement to come...

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    1. Where can I buy some extra patience before they turn into teenagers?! Well, by that time I'll be in my late 50s, so I'll probably be so worn out that I'll just tell them, "What the hell, take the car keys and do what you want...." ;)

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  5. happy birthday! really enjoyed reading your b-day post :)

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    1. Thanks mokosha - any more photos of Fashion Week coming?

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  6. We share a birthday! Also with Loran's cat, Stuart!

    It's nice to read your perspective on aging. Next year is the big 3-0 for me and I think everyone is waiting for me to flip out about it. But life is pretty good, and there's always something to look forward to, so there's very little to be upset about. Hope your day was great and life continues to be awesome. :)

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    1. People made a big deal for my 30th, but it didn't really feel like a milestone to me. 40 did, but that's because I remember quite well when my parents were that age. I was joking the other day with my man, saying, "Aren't we supposed to be having a mid-life crisis right about now?" "Nah, we're too tired." ;)

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    1. Thanks Charlotte! D'oh - you've reminded me that I forgot to sign up for MMMay.

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  8. Happy Birthday, you marvelous lady you! This post made me deliciously glad we got to meet up this year - you are such a delight :)

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    1. Hmmmmm...you've never seen me woken up at 6:30 by my kids on a weekend. You wouldn't call me delightful then, let me assure you.

      Maybe you should arrange a Chigago meetup sometime. I think there are a few people in the Sew Weekly in the area, and I have a research partnership with folks at Kalamazoo, so I'll be out that way before too long!

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  9. Happy birthday! I'm glad to hear that life can be exciting at any age (although, looking at my parents, I'm not surprised... ;)!

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    1. I once met a woman on a boat travelling from Italy to Greece; she was about 60 years old, and had spent the night sleeping on the deck with us 20-something backpackers. When I remarked that I hadn't met many people her age backpacking around, she said, "Well, let me introduce you to my mother...." and went to find her 80ish mother, who had also spent the night on a mattress on deck!! (Though I think by the time I'm 80, I'll spring for a sleeping bunk)

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  10. Happy birthday! When I was 22 I had never traveled anywhere. I did give birth to my second child and (almost) finished my bachelor's degree at that age, but I still sometimes feel like I haven't quite lived yet...

    Congratulations (a bit belated) on 42 and on a life full of (continuing!) adventures. It's good to hear, actually, that you can change, and change, and change again, and keep exploring and growing. Have a great 42! :)

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    1. I can't imagine having two kids at that age; I remember how naive and unprepared I was. I probably would have lost at least one of them somewhere!

      I just had dinner with my sister and we were talking about how when we were in our 20s, we would always sleep in really late on the weekend because we were so tired from a week of work. ONLY working, mind you, and not doing anything else. Then we both burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of it...

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    2. The nice thing about having kids young is you're too dumb to worry about stuff until it happens... although, I won't go into my early parenting mishaps right here ;). Suffice it to say that everyone appears to have survived intact. And by 42 I can hope to have them both out of the house (unlikely, I know) and be off on my own adventures ;).

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