Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Isn’t it supposed to be better than this?

So, I am about to turn 35. How the hell did that happen?

Right before I turned 30, I had what I now refer to as my “Quarter Life Crisis.” I wasn’t old enough yet for a mid-life crisis, and was too old for a plain, old tantrum, so that moniker has come to feel most appropriate. But, during my QLC, I really went a little nuts. For a minute. But, I am cool now. Kinda. Umm… Sort of. Oh, shit– did I mention I am about to be 35?  How does anyone get kinda sort of okay about that?

When I went through the QLC, I told my husband that I was moving to London and that he could come along if he wanted. Seriously?  But, he was so sweet about it and very calmly just asked, “Um. Okay. Now, honey, tell me why you need to move to London.” What a gem, really.  He was really patient and just tried to help me through a tough time that just simply amounted to my fear of having to be a grown-up once and for all. I mean, when you’re in your twenties and you sleep until 11:30, get drunk and start a fight, dance in the street for no reason, change jobs three times, or take a trip to Tibet to “find yourself,” people will excuse your behavior as being that of a “stupid kid” and you can all have a good laugh. But, if you do that dumb shit in your thirties, you’re creepy, immature, alcoholic, mentally dysfunctional, a slacker, a loser or a slob.

And, now I am going to be 35:  mid-thirties. I just don’t even know how that happened. I am an old, married lady with two kids and a mortgage and a Jeep and a dog. I live in the suburbs. I still get my news from a paper. I have never tweeted . I do yoga. I watch “The Mentalist.” I go to bed before 10:00. Every night. I had three sips of beer two days ago and worried about how many calories were in it and whether it would make me too tired to stay up long enough to read a chapter of the book I’m working on.

Dirty, angry rock. I hope the fact that I haven't dug this CD out in a long time doesn't mean I've lost my edge.

There was a time in my life when I thought I was wasting my life if I didn’t go out at least six nights each week. I did tequila shots and knew I looked cool when I smoked my Marlboro Lights (which I could buy at the local gas station– three packs for five bucks).  I rollerbladed.   I listened to Liz Phair and owned a discman. I drove with my friends to Niagara Falls so that we could drink Molson XXX at the age of 19. Legally.

Who is this woman now who spends more time surrounded by the dulcet tones of Coffeehouse radio on Sirius than the fabulous noise of The Pixies?

I remember the first time I heard "Doolittle" - I didn't know whether to be terrified to completely MOVED.

If my Quarter Life Crisis occurred just five years ago, what is this current moment of strife?  Whatever it is, it is probably important for everyone younger than I am who is reading this to know that at any age, it is possible that you will be lost, not know who you are, not know where you are going, not know what you want to be when you grow up and not want to grow up much, anyway. I didn’t think much about being 35 as a younger person, but now that that is fast approaching, I can say that it came quickly and quietly – without warning – and I am still not sure what each day will bring.  Except maybe an impending need for Depends, Preparation-H, Epsom Salts, aspirin and a tremendous urge to watch 60 Minutes (which is actually a really good show, y’all!  I mean it!).

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6 thoughts on “Isn’t it supposed to be better than this?

  1. I found this post incredibly refreshing. You are so candid with your inner troubles that it gives hope to anyone (of any age) that you can get to know yourself. It doesn’t matter if it takes until age 13 or 55. As long as you strive to reflect upon your actions, you’ll get to know yourself eventually. Life isn’t easy for a reason. If we didn’t have to struggle, then there wouldn’t be any satisfaction in succeeding. Plus it’s more fun to look back and say you took risks in your life that led to who you are today.

    • I agree. Frankly, I am (in real life) a pretty easygoing person who laughs a whole bunch, but when I write, I seem to want to rant a bit. But, I think that honesty is lacking so much these days, and we could all use a bit of frank talk every now and then. Thanks for reading. I have enjoyed your work, as well!

  2. Sometimes, I think rants are necessary. Not the ones that people don’t care about or have a point to, but things that matter in life. I think people don’t take life seriously enough. There isn’t a whole lot of it left and we tend to forget we’re not here forever. It makes your life more worthwhile if you make things in your life matter. Who’s to say that it won’t matter to someone else. Your rant can affect hundreds of people. So why not be frank? Maybe people want to hear the frankness, and just don’t have the courage to say it themselves. 🙂 I look forward to reading more awesome posts!

  3. Enjoyed your post. It didn’t strike me so much as a rant–more like honest life commentary. There is so much I thought I would outgrow, but it turns out that many of the questions I had early on are lingering through the decades. That’s ok, as long as I can flounder in the gray area gracefully now and then. It’s probably not healthy to panic everyday.
    p.s. Hopefully Depends are still a ways off!

  4. pileofbabies on said:

    I turn 35 in July. You took the words right out of my dentures.

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