Thirty-five is the New Thirteen

In three days, I will be thirty-five.
I wrote that sentence up there and have been staring at it for twenty minutes.  Because I can’t figure out what I am supposed to say next.  Am I supposed to be old now? Because I don’t know if I know how.

So here’s what I want to say:

In three days, I will be thirty-five.
On the outside, I guess I look thirty-five.

I have one crease forming, a collagen rift of Rio Grande proportions, under each eye.

My mouth looks young.

My hands look old.

It’s like I woke up and found myself standing in my own divide, alone. A sharp jutting valley between thirty and forty, in the land of child-woman, not really waiting for something bigger, not really turning around looking behind me.
Just sort of standing here, looking up and squinting, what now? The sun in the Rio Grande is bright and hot.
In three days, I will be thirty-five. But, inside, sometimes I am thirteen.
Do you remember when you were thirteen?  Here is what it feels like:

All you want to do is be kissed by a boy, hard on the mouth.
You like candy.
You think your friends won’t like you as much if they REALLY knew you.
You think your friends won’t like you at all if they met your family.
You lay in bed at night planning what you will wear tomorrow.
You can’t remember where your favorite pair of blue jeans are, but you imagine they are somewhere in the pile of clothes you call a closet.
No one understands you.
No one ever will.
Sometimes you laugh and cry at once, over the same thing.
You have secrets.

In three days, I will be thirty-five. Is that very different than thirteen?  It doesn’t feel like it.
Am I supposed to be old now?  I don’t know if I know how.  I guess I said that already.

Listen, if you are looking for me, I am going to hang out in the divide for awhile.  It was quite the journey to get here.  Eventually, maybe I’ll climb up the other side, to see what’s growing in the places I haven’t been yet. But right now, the sun is warm and I think I am going to stretch my legs out for awhile.
I like it in this space.

I am half of what I was and half of what I am going to be.
My insides are newish-pink and glowing young, even if my body is starting to betray me.
I have secrets.  I want to be kissed hard on the mouth.
I can have two glasses of wine, or three if I want.  I have grown babies under my skin. I can drive a car.

They tell me I am a grownup, but I don’t believe them.

Instead, I tell them this:
I might have to grow old, but I hope I never grow up.


  1. I’m a mom of 4. I’m 35, will be 36 about a month after you. Happy belated birthday. I write. I sing, sort of. I dream of being a Broadway star or a famous author or the 10th companion set out to destroy the One Ring, cause really, I’m not sure how they did it without me. But not much of anybody knows this about me, because most of the time I’m still thirteen too, and I know no one will quite understand. So thank you for being thirteen sometimes, too. And for showing you understand.


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