So that list… certain parts of it make me cringe. Why include the tools with the bra? Will women only buy tools if bras are also on the shopping list? Also, what kind of umbrella is shame-inducing? Honestly, if I still had my New Kids umbrella (you read that right), I would rock that bad boy all the time. However, after reading your thoughts regarding Turning 30 and All The Things That We Should Have Done But Haven’t So Now We Should Feel the Heavy Burden of Shame, I wanted to share my own take, which is tentatively titled Turning 30 and How I Stay Young At Heart While Remaining Mature In Brain.
I never had that despair and terror when approaching the big 3-0 that I hear about so often. I’ve never felt the need to lie about my age (though, when I was 29, I had people ask me constantly how old I really was, since 29 is the ultimate age lie). Not to toot my own horn (toot, toot!), but I’m often thought to be younger than 30. No joke: about 6 months ago, I was carded for an R-rated movie, which was a lovely sentiment, but that girl should have her eyesight checked.
Though I know I have excellent genetics and an obsession with sunblock to thank for such compliments, I also like to think that having a young attitude maintains a young visage. I’m not talking about an immature attitude, because that makes me want to wail and stomp and slam my door in frustration while screeching, “You just don’t understand me!” What I mean is, I strive to maintain my personality as it has existed since I was a much younger J, without making apologies for being me. The older I get, the harder that becomes. In trying to fit in at work to attempting to make new friends as an adult, I feel less and less like the girl I have been and more like the woman I think I’m supposed to be. This leads to many nights of feeling like I’ve forgotten who I am and what I really want out of life.
Recently, I’ve discovered the best way to combat this mental assault is to embrace my inner nerd. It’s well documented that I’m a full-fledged geek, and I have been since birth (also thanks to genetics). As I grew, I felt I needed to hide my geekiness, to confine it to a room or a particular space and not let it out. This didn’t work. Why? Well, mostly because a huge part of being a geek is allowing yourself to fully enjoy something, whether it’s a movie or a book or a sunset or a sandwich or even a new pair of shoes. One of my favorite authors, John Green, talks about being a nerd very often, and he says, “…Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff.”
This is one of the truest truths I’ve ever heard. Never do I feel younger in my own skin than when I allow myself to fully let my feelings out– to fangirl over comic book movies, to squeal about the relationship between two of my favorite actors, to belt out the lyrics to an amazing song while harmonizing with another excellent singer, to laugh and sing and love with pure wild enthusiasm without one smidgen of embarrassment. It’s true joy. This is a lesson I learned as a nerdy child, and it’s something we often forget as we age. I stay young by allowing myself to truly be me.
So, while I agree with The List that a 30-year-old woman should have “a youth you’re content to move beyond,” I also think that you shouldn’t forget who you were back then. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being exactly who you are. In my case, that means being a nerd in every sense of the word.
And I love it.