love out loud: the only good thing about getting older (pretty much)
I always thought I’d be fine with aging. It seems like a lot of girls inherit their mothers’ attitudes about beauty/aging/whatever, and my mum has incredibly pragmatic views about all those things. In fact, I’m not even convinced she has any views as such.
‘Hey Mum, are you freaked out about turning 50?’
‘What? No. Pfft.’
(That was over five years ago and she still doesn’t seem to give a shit.)
I, however, am not taking my own birthday quite so well. The days leading up to it have been spent with a sick feeling in my stomach that I can’t shake and wondering when the fuck my skin will stop breaking out because I was under the impression that a lack of pimples at least would be my reward for getting old(er).
But anyway, by the time you read this, I will be 24. And before I was consumed with grief for my quickly fading youth, I did manage to think of one thing that was better about getting older.
My friends have (pretty much) stopped dating douchebags.
There was a time when my friends’ (and my own) inability to find partners who were both age appropriate and non-dickheads was so pervasive that I was sure such people didn’t exist. And while I might have been right that there were no viable dating prospects in our age pool, it’s more likely that there are just more of them now that my peers and I are getting on a bit. It seems that the people we are choosing to date are more relationship-ready now than they were a few years ago, and I’m almost certain we’ve likewise matured, which has in turn limited our will to put up with bullshit.
Ah yes, gone are the days of drunk dialling and staying with people who try to convince you they’re polygamists. Of thinking you can “tame” a player and banging ex-loves. Of intermittently returned phone calls and being someone’s rebound (whilst thinking it’ll turn into a relationship). Of suspicious emails and unchanged facebook relationship statuses.
We’re getting older and generally more discerning, and though I fear the abyss-esque wrinkles in my future and my declining fertility, the inappropriate partners and my rampant justifications for their behaviours are something I am more than happy to leave behind.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until you’re 20-something to stop dating douchebags. You can do that anytime! But it does get easier to recognise them after you’ve kissed a few, and I think my less-than-great experiences with men ultimately gave me more clarity as to what I did and didn’t want in a partner. And that, friends, has made for a pretty great relationship with a totally excellent dude.
(And it turns out that there is a second good thing about aging anyway: free ice cream!)
(Image credit: 1.)
I take it the delicious cupcake was not redeemed.
Age can be a funny thing, I’ve read a couple of articles talking with great positivity about aging and bdsm as the way the body changes makes available different options for playing and exploring limits etc. I’ve also come to appreciate aging as a sign that I’ve really *lived* in the world and I am now becoming more disturbed by expressions of age that are unblemished or too ‘youthful’ in appearance as being signs that someone has perhaps not really… moved through the world, left their mark on it and be marked in return.
As far as relationships go, I find that even in my early thirties that I’m *still* refining these lessons, and this is even considering myself to be someone who fairly rocks with relationship skills and douchebag avoidance… it seems the ways I can be suckered in are just a little more insidious and somewhat more embarassing to deal with and involve evaluating patterns in my life and approaches, making useful changes in those.
I find that aging is about depth, my experiences extend further back into my past and I have more information to consider things from. I find that I count my judgement higher and weight it stronger than I used to and accordingly, so do others. I am more willing to explore, and less satisfied with safe choices that yield rewards that i can predict too readily – these are still useful, but I’m likely to pause and consider if I’m selling out somehow and if there’s something more relevant to me that is worth pursuing.
Depth. Being marked. Making my mark. Experiences. That’s what aging means to me.