I’ll be 30 in two weeks! This is naturally a time to write pretentiously in my blog about plans/goals/drop hints for presents etc. I love a pre-birthday Virgo style guilt trap.
Here, from the annals of this very document sometime in 2004:
in exactly 10 months, i will be 25.
that has seriously just hit me like a brick to the head!
i suddenly feel like i better start achieving more stuff, and mapping out 10 months’ worth of milestones i can somehow cram in.
people say they feel like this approaching 30. apparently it happens at 24-and-two-months too…?
I don’t feel morose at the prospect of turning 30 – after all it’s only 30, not like 40 or 50 or even 35, which AT THIS POINT is my definition of “middle age” (though that is surely flexible and will become more elastic as I approach the alarming milestone). But still I can’t believe five years have passed since the above insightful and not-at-all-cringe-inducing words.
Despite the undeniable presence of two kids sleeping peacefully upstairs in their jox, the first of which being about to obtain his FOURTH birthday, I am still a little in denial about motherhood. That’s what makes me feel old, not my age. I still, as in the early days of being bi-kidded, look at other mums with more than one and think “Haha you have two kids, imagine how exhausting and filled with fingerpainted walls your life is! No more leisurely and romantically pushing only one pram gently around the neighbourhood from cafe to bookstore!” The fact that that (the tired/house-trashed one) is actually my life, in fact possibly even a better version than my life because there’s few 20-month-olds who still get up once or twice every night like my Zadie, never intrudes upon my insightful reflection on the state of womanhood for a large number of my contemporaries.
And when you think about it I shouldn’t be so tired or have such fingerpainted walls. I have a maid! (Who may shortly be terminated for her dereliction of duties.)
The other day at work, one of my American colleagues brought along her son Tom, aged 19, for a gander. He’s here for his summer holidays and who wouldn’t want to spend the day in the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre listening in on a hotly contested disputed about the authenticity of rebar steel ship plates? I can barely think of a 19-year-old who wouldn’t be rushing their airport if they knew such holiday diversions were available! Tom is studying fine art, specifically manga, and I was like “HELLO WE ARE GOING TO BE MATES, I TOTALLY KNOW WHAT MANGA IS”. I cringed as I saw my colleagues aged in their 50s clamouring to offer him advice about museums, since he is “into art”. After they’d finished their irrelevant squawking, I mentioned conspiratorially to him that there was some pretty good HK street press available at most Starbucks.
I will never forget the look he gave me. This college kid simply smiled politely and good-naturedly at me, EXACTLY THE SAME AS HE LOOKED AT THE OLDS IN THE ROOM. Can you believe that?? The look crashed into my brain, bringing a new and stunning realisation that I AM JUST LIKE THEM. I am not the youthful, relatable steno closer in interests and personality to this young buck; I am now associated, by he and his contemporaries, with his mother. Despite being 20 years away from her in age, the very fact that we are both mothers has pushed me over the divide from audacious and effervescent 20s-hood to dowdy indistinguishable-aged parent figure who talks embarrassingly about “street press”. Even throwing “Starbucks” into the same sentence in a display of the most advice-nullifying incongruity ever displayed.
Until that moment I still felt, inside, gay with possibility, still on the very cusp of adulthood, if you will. Now I do actually look for wrinkles in photos, and also I have three extremely robust recurring grey hairs right in the front of my head. I can’t say definitely whether the “Starbucks/street press” comment caused them, but I’m pretty confident it did. And why are grey hairs so much more vigorous than normal hairs? I swear my three are like ropes compared with the rest of my hair, sticking out super-follicly like girders. Is it too soon to start dyeing it? Is there a lady product for this, or will I be forced to use Just For Men Touch of Grey? Which by the way I just googled and it’s also suitable for moustaches and sideburns, which is good because, you know, you can’t be too prepared in this ageing game…
Aside from my grey hairs, I also find my posture is swiftly degenerating, I can’t run fast, and I have started to drink coffee.
Oh the last five years have been cruel.
Still, I do feel it’s not my age that makes me old, it’s my damn kids.
Thanks for nothing, kids.