by Lauryn Smith
I still remember when thirty was old, except for I really don’t. I was always an old soul even as child. On my 10th birthday, someone said, “How does it feel to be in the double-digits?” I said “Eh. I look forward to being 27. I will be old enough to be respected but I will still be in my 20’s.” So riddle me this, when did 28 become old?!? Last Friday night, I went out with my cousin Aaron to celebrate his 31st birthday. He wanted to go downtown, and I was immediately disappointed with his preference. Outside of the nightmareish parking situation, bar covers, and overpriced drinks, I was fully aware I would be the odd duck out. The girls would be trying too hard in skirts too short, shirts too low cut, and dresses far too dressy or skimpy for a local bar. My premonition was accurate as I walked into a sea of girls wearing 1/3 the clothing I was wearing. I was fully dressed and still self-conscious. How does that happen?
Friday, 9/5 with my cousin Aaron.
While en route to downtown my cousin Jenn (Aaron’s wife) and I discussed feeling too old to get all dolled up only to spend too much money on drinks in a bar full of too many young people. Jenn was also the designated driver for the night. I’m certain the environment coupled with sobriety made for a fantastic time. I suppose we have come to the age where a glass of wine on my couch or porch sounds a great deal more appealing than a night on the town with shots and cheap beer. I still enjoy a night out on occasion, but it doesn’t define my Friday night.
Friday, 9/5: Jenn and Aaron
Later in the evening, I noticed a man standing rather close to me. I tend to flip out if my personal space is invaded and this guy was hovering there for a while. Finally, I asked if he was a piano player as we were close to the stage. He responded with “yes ma’am.” Yes MA’AM. Ouch. Apparently, it was clear he had offended me so he continued by saying, “I call everyone ma’am.” Sure he does.
Even later in the evening, I ran into a man I had recently gone out with a few times. I ran into this same man at the same bar a month ago while celebrating my sister’s 21st birthday. In both cases, he was there with his younger brother. While engaged in small talk he said, “What is that chick wearing!?,” while motioning towards a scantily clad girl close by us. I rolled my eyes and said, “Yes, I feel rather overdressed and by ‘overdressed’ I mean I am wearing too much.” He shrugged and chuckled at the time but his brother said, “Nice Marsha Brady sweater,” while nodding to my attire. Ouch again.
I began to wonder if I had dressed inappropriately when in my early twenties and though I can recall wearing shirts often times too low-cut, I do not recall pairing them with teeny tiny shorts. Then again, I do remember my mother telling me to stop dressing like Britney Spears because I was 24, implying I was too old to dress so young. Difference is, even in my early twenties, I preferred to be in a small dive bar. I can remember dancing barefoot with my girl friend Kensey. Dancing until our feet turned black, oblivious of the crowd of people twice our age. Now I wonder why I didn’t simply wear flip-flops, but I quickly remind myself fabulous shoes will beat out comfort every time. Some things never change.
I’m not suggesting all people in their early twenties prefer to be in a bar full of loud overplayed songs, ass grabbing men, slurring drunk girls, and popped collared boys; I am merely suggesting some do. I like to avoid the places where this tends to be in abundance. My cute neighbor Steven is in his early twenties and he ventures out on the town less than my friends in their fifties. My 21 year old sister Grace doesn’t drink so her idea of a fun night usually doesn’t include a twelve-pack and a probable hangover. I find the term hung under to be more appropriate.
My sister Grace and her boyfriend Cody on her 21st Birthday.
I’ve been able to disprove many of the expectations of which I was warned of in my youth. For instance, I am still friends with most of my high school friends, I don’t miss high school, and I don’t regret a great deal of decisions. I have learned "they" were dead on right for many other predictions: time only flies faster, I still feel the same despite aging, I do feel a great deal wiser than others younger than myself, and most importantly, it’s true, I really didn’t know everything at age fifteen.
As I approach 30,I will embrace it. It beats the alternative. Besides, most people reference their thirties when speaking of the best years of their lives. The twenties are full of uncertainty, insecurity, ramen noodles, and a lack of self-awareness. I have enjoyed my twenties fully, and I welcome another decade. Cheers!