I Like Acting My Age

There is an episode of Frasier where Roz has a visit from her younger cousin. After a few nights of drinking and partying, Roz is tired and looking for a night in. Her cousin accuses Roz of being like an aunt of theirs, implying that Roz has gotten "old." In a chain of funny events, one of the callers on Frasier's radio show complains about not wanting to settle down, even though he is in his late forties.

At this point, Roz chimes in telling the caller to "grow the hell up!"

She then goes on to say, "I'm thirty-eight. And I feel thirty-eight. Now, I know we are all supposed to act like perpetual teenagers these days, but you know what? I like acting my age. I like being a mom. I like having a career. And I like balancing my checkbook. When did it become such a bad thing to be an adult?"

I find that this resonates with me.

Now, it was not three days ago that my husband told me that I am most known for my "excess of whimsy." And I know I am seen as cheerful, fun and sometimes impish. But this goes along with the fact that I am also widely known for being sensible, confident and dependable.

I am thirty-six. And I feel thirty-six. And I mean that in every possible positive way. When I think of myself between the ages of 17 to 19, those years as a teen when you are pretty much grown up but not really, I would never, ever go back to those days.

I would not exchange the mature sense of self confidence I have now for the uncertainty I felt at eighteen. I would not trade the sense of purpose and passion for life I have now for the impetuous and reckless (often thoughtless) decision making I had at nineteen. At the age of seventeen I liked to believe I didn't really care what people thought of me, but at thirty-six I actually have the freedom that comes with not caring and not being interested in conforming to a style, type, norm or expectation of someone else.

In the 18 years that have passed since my eighteenth birthday I have hit roadblocks, solved dilemmas, encountered loss, dealt with disappointment and triumphed over challenge in so many ways that have shaped who I am today. Yes, I have quite a bit of grey hair, but I also have a savings account. Yes, I have developed arthritis in my hands and knees, but I have also developed a professional career and level of success that can only come with time. Yes, some days I feel the weight of my responsibility and bills, but I also feel my accumulated potential to help others.

I am a grown woman. I have accomplished things. I have built a life. I have hit a point where I am comfortable being myself wherever I am - at home, at work, in my social life.

Today - even more so I think than back when Roz went on her rant - we have adults trying desperately to cling to a teenage lifestyle. And it is sort of pathetic and sad to see these near middle aged or past middle aged people trying to behave like a teenager. 

It brings to mind a different Frasier quote from another episode, where Niles has been running around with a young, wild waitress and we see him partying and wearing head to toe leather (yikes). And he finally comes clean to Frasier and says, "She's killing me. I'm just not cut out for this lifestyle...catching my reflection in the store window this morning as I rollerbladed past in spandex, I feel like I'm being stalked by some pathetic, middle-aged ghoul."

That is how it looks from the outside when we try to go back. We can't go back. We can only go forward, and we should do so with the pride and confidence that we have earned, that can only be earned over time.