This year on my thirty-fourth birthday, a slightly older friend and I were driving across the Golden Gate Bridge on our way to the Marin Headlands. As I looked out at the foggy Pacific Ocean and sighed over the fact that I was getting older rather than younger, she shared her coping mechanism for aging with me: every year since she’s turned thirty, she’s chosen a theme. Thirty-two was her year of thrills; thirty-four was her year to overcome her fears; thirty-nine was her year to become a rock star.
I like the idea of setting an intention for a year, of guiding, rather than reacting to the passing of time. I’ve set intentions for myself in the past, though never gone so far as to choose a theme for the entire year. I vowed to become more financially stable when I was twenty-nine. I told myself I would get my master’s degree by the time I turned thirty. I decided to eat better and exercise when I turned thirty-two.
But now I’m thirty-four, and according to the culture at-large, that means I should be having babies and getting married. In a few more years, I’ll get the message that I’m past my prime and am destined to a life of spinsterhood. Excuse me? With my friend’s help, I decided that thirty-four was my year of being fortunate, whatever that may mean.
Our culture has a phobia toward aging, and as women, we receive some of its harshest messages. Rather than accept society’s definition of what it means to turn a particular age, why don’t we define that age ourselves?
Resolving Into Insolvency: Resolving to Change
Aging with Attitude: Not Getting Older, Getting Better
Good Habits to Prevent Aging