Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Age Appropriate

I'm 30. There, I said it.

I'm 30. I'm no longer in my twenties.

I'm 30.

I didn't think it would bother me to turn 30. Each year as I've gotten a year older, it's been a happy and joyous thing for me. Birthdays are wonderful. And I've never understood those Hallmark cards that tease people about being ONE YEAR OLDER.

Except this year.

This year's birthday a few months back was fraught with unfulfilled, unrealistic expectations. And now, all I have to show for this birthday is my age. I'm 30.

So what does being 30 mean? I really have no idea. I've never paid any attention to age appropriateness. I have, however, decided that being an adult in my thirties means that I shouldn't dress like a teenager. But what does that mean? This is where I struggle in figuring out who I am as a 30 year old. I want to dress my age, but I don't want to look older than my age. I've been told that I look younger than I am, but is that because I've been dressing younger than I am? What if granny clothes appeal to me? What if the mystery department store I went to a few weeks back really is the place for me?

And then this line of thought leads to this other line of thought: have I accomplished everything that a 30 year old should have accomplished? What are those things? Do 30 year olds own their own homes? Are they successful in the business world? Do they have children? (I know the answer to that one. My parents had four children by the time they were 30. They also owned their own home.) How does a 30 year old act? Is it okay for me to use slang, or does it just sound like a lame attempt to be young? Is my slang dated? Is my hair dated? Do I look old? Do I act old?

What if I'm supposed to act old?

And then I full on panic for a few seconds.

And then I take a deep breath and tell myself that personal progress is all that matters. I was immature when I got married at 20 (this is the benchmark I typically use). Have I progressed since then? Am I at least a little more mature then I was then? Have I grown? Have I learned to overcome at least some of my weaknesses in at least some small measure since then? Have I learned and grown spiritually?

And then I can breathe easier.

Rational me realizes that this is the true and only way to measure myself. I don't have to fit into a category of 30 year olds; I just need to be a better version of myself. Irrational me worries about all those other things. Irrational me gets on my nerves. Irrational me is out to get me. Irrational me might be writing this right now.

Rational me says that I just need to be a better version of myself, always improving and growing and learning. But what does a better version of myself wear?


  1. I get such a kick reading about Gordita! You are really funny.

    BTW, I totally think you need to splurge and by #5 black beauty dress no matter what it costs because hey you are 30 and you can do that when you are 30. :)

  2. Now that I'm on the "downhill" side of my 30s, I ask myself the same question about 40. But I'm getting better at letting go of the "supposed to"s and just embracing who and what I am. It's ok that I'm more than 10 years older than the other first-time moms in our ward. It's ok that we don't own a house. It's ok that my husband's still in school. It's not the situation I had planned for myself when I was 20, but it's my life and I'm happy with it.

    So I say wear whatever you want. Wear what you like and what looks good on you. Do you choose certain styles BECAUSE they're "young", or do you choose them because they appeal to you? I think that's the key: if you start TRYING to look younger, you're probably going to embarrass yourself. Trying too hard to be something you're not is never a good idea.

    And I think you look great. And I agree that you should buy dress #5 because you can. And you'll look fabulous in it. :)

  3. dang, that comment is longer than I meant it to be. sorry!

  4. Gordita I had a mental breakdown when I turned 30. For two weeks I was in such an odd funk. I couldn't snap out of it. Frank thought it was post partum. Sure it was and it was from turning 30. So don't feel bad about feeling bad. You look phenomenal and act all age-appropriate when it's appropriate. Keep dressing all sassy and stuff. However, keep away from animal-print camisoles. If you ever find yourself considering buying one of those, you are definitely trying too hard to dress young. No young person buys animal-print camis only older ladies trying to be young. Do you hear??

  5. welcome to 30. i've been in it for almost four months now. i guess i should throw away all my leopard-print camis now... dang.

  6. Me too Ang. All that leopard print gone to waste. ;) You ladies crack me up. And Heidi, Thank you for your perspective.

  7. Years ago I saw a scrapbook a cute lady did for her first year of being 30. She lost weight, got a cute haircut, went shopping, skydiving, etc, etc, all in one year. I have these fantasies that my year of being 30 will be like that. In reality, I will be leaving my baby to go back to work and probably struggling each day with that decision. But, I do shop at the LOFT, now, and feel less teenager-like (important when you teach teenagers).

  8. PS Two years ago I showed up for school one morning, feeling pretty cute and skinny. I had bought a new outfit in a section of a department store for youngins. First period: in walked a girl who really WAS cute and skinny, wearing the exact same outfit. She was mortified, I was mortified. Neither of us ever wore the outfit again and THAT is when a started shopping at the LOFT. Old lady? Better than teeny-bopper.

  9. I realized (now that I'm 35-there I said it) that certain 20-something things are starting to really annoy me. Particularly, MTV. Remember when The Real World was cool? I find myself glued to The Food Network and watching old "80's movies". I never thought I wouldn't relate to the younger generation, I was always going to be hip but, it seems to be happening...

  10. I read your blog regularly, and enjoy almost every word. I have even come close to commenting a few times, but after reading I feel unable to articulate myself as well as you do so I just keep my mouth shut.

    But your comments about recently turning thirty really hit close to home, and I have had many of the same questions myself. I feel you came to a really good conclusion with just being a better version of yourself. (btw, I think that this better version of yourself has great taste in clothes, just keep it up.)

  11. I was just having this same conversation with myself. I'm 31. Is that too old to dye my hair purple or green? If I do it now will people think "Mid-life crisis"? How can I look professional but not frumpy, especially in an industry that regularly asks me to crawl around in an inch of dust? Can I do it and still look like I'm cool? Should I be worrying about looking cool at 31?

    What I have come up with is this: Nobody much cares, and the judgmental people that do are never going to be harder on us than we are on ourselves, so if 31-year-old me says I can dye my hair purple, then I can.

    And you look young because you have good skin, no sun damage, a great smile, and a good sense of humor.

  12. Another thought.. because I have many words. To assume that the 30-year-olds are supposed to be one way is to assume that we're all supposed to be doing the same things at the same time. Which means either you got married way too early (nah, it was your time) or I got married way too late. Many people would say that that's the case, but they're wrong. We did those things at the right times for each of us.

    Oh, and I suspect that Liz is right about the camis. But if you want to get one, I won't mock. Much.


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