I stopped at 24
Age is just a number. Say it with me now, "Ayj iis juuzz ah numbah!"
This saying is probably the most overused cliche ever. However, only recently have I put thought into what it really means; which probably leads to one thing;
I am getting old.
As a teenager, I would hear my Titas repeatedly tease one another and reassure themselves of how great they felt for their age, saying things like, "You're only as old you feel." or "You look fabulous. Alam mo (you know), all you need is a simple eye lift to erase at least 10 years from your face!"
*Insert eye roll*
"Seriously, if they constantly needed to reassure themselves of how young they felt, these guys were legit old."
Fast forward to the me, today. Thirty-five, mom to a teen, married 15 years and now, I am a legit Tita.
Before I pour whatever emotions I have about this issue, I want to share a story.
It was 2010, a November morning in Vancouver. I was on the bus and distinctly remember feeling particularly chipper that day. The sun was out, my outfit was on-point and I was able to get Uli to school on schedule without any hiccups. I was on top of the world! This time, a young Filipino lady decided to strike up a conversation. Lucky for her, I was in the mood for small talk. The conversation went well; she was a paralegal, married, blah, blah. I listened and nodded politely. Then, it was my turn to share a story when she suddenly interrupted to ask how old I was. I paused, inhaled deeply, then sighed. I glanced behind her, out the window then back at her with a blank stare. "Wait." I said. "I think I'm 24?"
How old was I?
I was born in 1982. That would make me...? I swear I'm 24.
I blushed in embarrassment. I took my Blackberry out to compute my age. I was laughing at myself completely mortified and asked, "Has this ever happened to you?"
I will never forget the humiliation. I remember her jaw drop as she reverted her eyes back to the front of the bus. She giggled awkwardly saying she could totally relate (that was an obvious lie).
Phew, is it hot in here? Did I seriously forget how old I was? Yes, I forgot how old I was. I stopped counting.
Funny enough, this was not the last time it happened. Seven years later and I still need to confirm my age sometimes.
I was 28. I had been married 8 years and had an 8 year old son. I was a real adult, adulting. Life was moving faster than I could keep up with.
Do you sometimes forget how old you are? I constantly ask Frank this question only because it makes me feel better knowing he actually does. At 40, he is completely convinced he is physically capable of having drinks with his buddies on a Friday night after a full 60 hour work week, then waking up the next morning at 6 to deal with 3 kids, without suffering the consequences of a brutal hangover.
Leave it to a teenager to remind you of how old you really are. There are times I catch my son keeping quite the distance and avoiding me when we are among his friends. Then I think, "Seriously, you are embarrassed of me? Am I not cool enough for you?" I take pride in my pixie cut, aviators and denim cut off's, then remind him that I am at least 5 years younger than the other parents. Although, the reality is this: I could be Michelle Obama and he would still be embarrassed to be seen with me. I am just an old fart. What do I know?
This year I turned 35, but still drawn to oversized boyfriend jeans, graphic tees, Hello Kitty and anything with unicorns and sparkles. Clothes do not fit the same and the question, "Am I too old for this?" is up for debate more often. I still fool myself to thinking that a 3 day crash diet will squeeze me back into my size 0 skinnies. And that, if my girlfriends and I go to the (disco) club I would be way cooler than the other moms and perhaps I could still pass for a 20 something. But then, as I march towards the bar searching for my nasal spray deep inside my mom bag, I find myself anticipating the morning after when I regret the 2 extra mojitos I ordered just to avoid being that Tita in the club, empty handed without a drink. Cheers to double fisting! I begin counting the minutes until I am able to make my French exit to go home.
I started life at a young age and it moved much faster than my amateur mind could grasp. My sense of humour, sense of style and even my type in boys remain the same..
So yes, I still have #BeiberFever...
I cannot fail to mention that being mistaken for my son's older sister still has not lost its novelty either. Heck! That could put a pep on my step for days.
Oftentimes I will hear, "Nix! you have not changed a bit! " And depending on what day it is, I may or may not take offense to that.
So what does this mean?
Am I still like a teenager or a better version of myself?
Does this mean I still look 15 - yeah, that could be a good thing.
Thirty-five years old. Round this to the nearest 10th and I am 40, but still use the term #adulting like its something new to me. God help me. My insecurities arise (and maybe yours too) when I feel like I should know the answers to some of life's basic questions. Just when you think you have figured it all out, life slaps you with another challenge bringing you back to where you started. When you're an adult though, you get much better at hiding your mistakes. Maybe this is where maturity sprouts from.
Do you remember an adult you looked up to in your younger years? The one guy who had it all figured out and had his shit together. The one adult you would catch yourself saying, "I want to be just like her when I grow up." Well, did she ever fuck up because I constantly am? Then you wake up 30 years later, still winging it, wondering if you're doing anything right.
Everyday it seems that my kids evolve into different people; their moods change, they enter different stages and I need to constantly keep up. #adulting kicks in when I need to adjust to someone else's emotions before my own.
In today's ever changing world, our personal growth and maturing never ends. Just when you thought you'd seen it all and think, "nothing will ever surprise me" the definition of normal changes, technology changes, rules change. It never ends. One day, this is ok, the next it is taboo!
Here is our answer, my adult friends: The sooner we come to terms with the fact that we will never really know it all, the sooner we can accept our reality of being legit adults.
I still feel 24. So yes, I stopped counting at 24. Maybe some event in my life unconsciously shook me so hard, I had to stop counting. Twenty four was when reality hit me like a bus and I realised that shit was getting real. That was my grand entrance into adulthood.
Shiz for reals!
I am only as young as I feel, I am open to learning because I do not know it all.
I am Nikki, student of life, and I am 35.
How old are you?