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No Joke, I’m Old

30 January 2009 9 Comments
Ok, I know I'm being dramatic with the Miss Jane Pittman photo, but it's been on my mind all week.

Ok, I know I'm being dramatic with the Miss Jane Pittman photo, but it's been on my mind all week.

I turned thirty today, and yes, I am old. Before those of you who have already passed this milestone start up with the “that’s nothing”s and “just wait til you hit forty”s, I still feel a little bit like a kid and know that maturity is a wonderful thing, I really do. But still…my last major milestone/meltdown was at twenty-five, and I dug up this old Friendster (!) bulletin that I wrote for the occasion to remind myself how I felt about aging just five short years ago.

Thoughts on Becoming an Old Head

For those of you who don’t already know, 25 years ago today at 4:20 in the afternoon (I kid you not), I came into this world. And it hasn’t been the same since. I write this bulletin not to solicit birthday wishes, simply to flood your inbox with my rantings. So without going off on a tangent about my contributions to the planet, I would like to take a moment to recognize the significance of finally officially becoming an old head. That’s right, 25 begins the days of “cute” boys  now being considered “fine” men and Essence magazine becoming my periodical of choice. I’m not worried about my health or good looks failing, as I have truly been getting better with age. It’s probably all of the two-stepping in the club that I’ve been doing that has kept me so limber and fresh, and for that (and my growing 401k) I am proud. Instead of aspiring to become New York City’s next “It” girl, I have realigned my goals and am looking into taking the place of that woman with the Jheri Curl who sits in the front row at Showtime at the Apollo and grabs at the hot new R&B superstar onstage. “You don’t know about this” will now be my phrase of choice as I sip Pinot Grigio in my Gerald Levert commemorative mug and listen to soft jazz by the fireplace. I watched the Fox network go from being known as the “black sitcom channel” to “the conservative news network” and the Masterman Challengers become the Blue Dragons. I have been around for a long time, and BET sunday mornings have started to grow on me. Those of you in the first half of your twenties have everything to look forward to, but don’t let people tell you that getting older is a bad thing. It’s that misconception that has forced me to plan on celebrating my 25th birthday next year and the year after, and probably once again when I turn 32. After all, I do plan on still looking it.

I  barely recognize that passage as something I wrote. I can’t tell where I was being sarcastic and where I really did feel tragically aged.  I don’t feel anything like I thought I would. The past five years have flown by and I’ve learned and experienced about as much as one could ever hope for. Is it all so cliche? Instead of wishing I were younger and even bothering to lie about my age, I relish every single year and all of the wisdom the passing of time has brought me. It’s not just because thirty is the new twenty and all of that yang yang, but because everything that I am, everything that I want, and everything that I refuse to put up with is all Thembi. I’ve never been big on apologizing for who I am but at thirty I’m actually excited about who I am and what’s in store for me in this life. I’m past the ingenue stage but haven’t been in the game long enough to be a wash-out. I’m young enough to catch ’em but old enough to know what to do with ’em. I’m old school enough to judge the new school but new school enough to like one or two songs straight off of the radio. Thirty is a nice little aging purgatory that makes me feel smug and thankful at the same time.

Five years ago turning 25 seemed like such a huge milestone, but when I look at my 24 year old self it’s like laughing at a dated relic, a Karl Kani hoodie or a high top fade. I don’t want any part of it, I don’t want to do what the young kids are doing; their music is too loud and their skirts are too short. When I wrote “Thoughts on Becoming an Old Head” I was being facteious about the Pinot Grigio but in truth I can no longer handle hard liquor like I used to. I was also joking about the Gerald Levert commemorative mug, and remember having a crisis of language at the time becase comemorative wasn’t the right word to use for someone who was still alive, but look at me really wishing I had such a mug now that Gerald is gone. My 401k can’t put cheese on a Whopper and I dont even remember ever being limber because thirty is kind of stiff and out of shape for me. Instead of wanting be that lady from Showtime at the Apollo with the Jheri Curl I want to find her and interview her ‘cuz that is so not me. I look at old pictures and see a younger version of myself but I still get carded at bars and just last weekend a bouncer sympathetically said “wow, you look great for almost, you know, thirty.” But there’s really for sympathy. I don’t feel salty about being single, stupid for not having another degree, or woefully behind in my finances. I wish a lot of things were different but I’m a work in progress just like you are, just like everyone should be. It’s taken time to get this far and I know I still have a ways to go, but don’t we all? Do we ever stop growing and changing even if that change and growth just means becoming more ourselves? Questions like these are what make life beautiful and hard to lament the aging process. Then again, let’s see how I feel at forty.

9 Comments »

  • Woe said:

    Happy B-Day Thembs. And stop sweating your age!

  • Dare said:

    Remind me to tell you about my mom’s theory on aging and evaporation.

  • Kristin said:

    Thembi, I really like the new site. Happy B-day!

  • ThaConnoisseur said:

    Happy BornDay lovely! Ahh the 30″s…lol I am almost halfway to 40 and I still feel like a kid at heart, so carry on girl!! :)

  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    Happy Birthday. I’ll be 30 in 2.5 months and honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever get more geeked that the day I turned 10 in 1989. And like you said, I don’t feel all that different now 20 years later thanI did then. My mother still orders me around when I’m at the house like I’m an impoverished Cockney under a 7-year indentured servant contract in 17th century South Carolina.

  • Dara said:

    I don’t know what made you think you’d be passing up JET for Essence at ANY age. im sure you’ll have a wicker basket full of stapled-edged JET magazines in the corner of your bathroom til the day you die!

  • The78MsJ said:

    Welcome to the 30 is the same ole 30 club and I agree with this post so wholeheartedly. Here’s to getting better with age, wiser with time, and finer then aged wine, Ha.

  • Vivrant Thang said:

    You are a damn fool! Sorry I missed your actual birthday. I’m sure you said something on Twitter and I missed it. I remember feeling quite tragic about turning 30. But I’m about to celebrate my 2nd anniversary and I tell you, I wouldn’t go back to my 20s for nothing. I didn’t know shit and ppl in their 20s today know even less because their Mommas are in the club doing the stanky leg right beside them!

    Hope you were nice and lifted!

  • Lola AM said:

    LOL @ the Jane Pittman picture for this post!!! 30 is the new 20!!!??? Yeah, I’m still trying to convince myself that

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