Does This Sedan Make Me Look Old?

I always thought my middle school years were destined to be the most awkward of my life.

Oy vey, ages 11-13. The golden years, when my feet and arms were fully grown, but my neck and torso were not. When I constantly tripped over my own appendages and proudly sported a gaping hole in the left knee of my blue jeans. Back when I played clarinet. In the band. 

I was utterly graceless. I had braces, followed by a retainer and usually food stuck in it. I hadn’t learned not to pick at pimples and still scraped up my knees from daring (incredibly stupid) stunts on my bike. I hadn’t refined the art of personal hygiene, as I was intimidated by the loud sound of the shower and didn’t always wear deodorant.

I got excited easily and talked loud and fast. When I was flustered, the ghost of my childhood speech impediment would rear its ugly head, making me drop all of my “R’s.”

I cried over getting a B on an assignment or if I thought a teacher didn’t like me or if no one let me sit next to them on the bus.

I watched Saved By The Bell and imagined myself magically transforming into Kelly Kapowski when I got to high school. I read everything by Laura Ingalls Wilder and then all the spin-off books by Roger Lea MacBride. I read the Anne of Green Gables series twice and memorized both The Highwayman and Lady of Shallott. I decided I’d grow up to be poised, fabulous and unstoppable.

Well, I’m 28. A spinster and everything I ever wanted to be except:

1. A Pioneer Woman

2. A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

3. A Geologist

4. Poised

5. Kelly Kapowski

I still feel like the heroine of my own epic novel, but I must say, it is sad I went through high school without ever blossoming into a 90’s popular culture icon. I did letter in Band, though, so those 4 years weren’t a total loss.

Still, I’m surprised to find myself in a whole new awkward life stage.

I’m not wearing torn jeans and braces anymore and my personal hygiene is considerably better, but I’m faced with more growing pains on a daily basis, which makes me question, is 28 the new 12? Am I getting a re-flash of my “tween years” the way people who had chicken pox re-flash with shingles?

I pondered this very idea tonight, as I mixed my retinol anti-wrinkle cream in with my 10% benzyl peroxide anti-acne ointment.

I’m stuck with both early-onset wrinkles and occasional breakouts. My mom still refers to my ample cheeks as “baby fat” even though I told her a full grown adult doesn’t have baby fat.

I’ve seen my friends get married and pregnant. I still feel too young for all that and wonder why I don’t get invited to slumber parties anymore.

I know I’m “grown up.” I’m even driving a real grown up sedan to prove it. It’s the first car I ever bought myself with 4 doors and automatic windows/locks.

Still, even though I do my taxes and I pay real grown-up bills, I find myself occasionally sneaking candy into movie theaters or ordering a Cherry Coke with “no ice” because I know they totally jip you when they put ice in your soda.

I vote. I watch the news. I listen to NPR radio on my way to school and the classical music station in the evenings.

But I still get excited easily and talk loud and fast.  I’ll get flustered and drop my R’s. I post my grades on the fridge and I’ve accidentally broken almost everything in my kitchen that was made of glass.

Part of me is cool, collected, set, defined – forged through the fires of life experience. The rest of me is still figuring things out, waiting to grow into myself, occasionally tripping over my own feet and snorting when I laugh.

PicMonkey Collage

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About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
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2 Responses to Does This Sedan Make Me Look Old?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I feel exactly the same way, Erin! I just started finding the occasional gray hair but I still get pimples…I can’t believe I’m turning 30 next year. It seems like just yesterday I was in high school!

  2. It’s kinda like that at 30, too. And even if you’ve had a baby (at least on my viewpoint).

    Also…I also read all of The Little House on the Prairie and subsequent books. And Anne of Green Gables. Such awesome books.

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