If I could write a letter to us at 15, send it back in time, stuff it under our pillow -or scribble it on the wall in blacklight responsive paint- (remember when we were emo, before that was a thing?) and have us find and read it- I would love it. I can’t do that though, because as far as I know, time travel has not been invented, and if it has, it’s not available for public use at this current juncture. Anyway, that girl’s suffering is over now, and I feel like the mud filled pit she clawed her way out of had a very important role in shaping who we are today.
Today, we are 29, and tomorrow we will turn 30. Oh yes, it’s happening – 30. We’ve been cracking 30 jokes, saying things like “Oh my GOD, I am so Ooooollllddd,” and “pfftt… ticking clock? 30 is the new 20…” with a smirk, pretending like we could really care less about our impending extinction. I know it’s all in good fun, and that in all actuality, we are not freaked out by turning 30; because after all, it’s just a number, right?
Chyeaa…. While we’re extremely good at hiding behind that façade of humor, I know that deep down, somewhere inside the darkest part of us -
WE ARE F***ING TERRIFIED.
I really applaud us though, for facing this completely irrational fear of loose skin, thinning hair, and decreased cell production with wit and grace, (instead of popping over to the nearest liposuction or Botox artist, as most women our age do). Despite that super cool (ahem.. slightly fake) demeanor – I can still hear the muffled cries of that younger woman inside calling for egg freezing, extra exercise, a solely green diet, and possibly a dye job.
**NOTE: I do think that we should dye our hair purple, but only if we really just think it’s cool – not as part of some wicked mid(ish) life crisis. Because that would just be sad.
We are really just being silly. That little gurgle of nausea we feel bubbling in our stomach that’s accompanied by a voice somewhere deep inside yelling “Oh god, time is almost up!!” when we come into contact with anyone over the age of 70, is really just a side effect of the negative ideas that our society has engrained in us about age and time. Age is just a number; it’s not a countdown to the guillotine. Time is not just passing grains of sand or numbers on a clock ticking by; time is experience.
I know, I know. We’re saying, “EXACTLY!” We are thinking that it’s not really wrinkles, saggy boobs, and death we’re afraid of, as much as it is that we’ll go to our death with regrets; feeling like we just never did all we were capable of – we’re really just scared to leave the world with unfinished business. We’re thinking back to all that stuff that was really important to us when we were fresh out of high school, then fresh out of college, then fresh to the workforce. All those “In 10 years I see myself __” lists.. We just can’t stop thinking of everything we planned to have and have done by now:
The hubby, a kid, an Oscar (or two), SAG Award, Golden Globe, a stamp filled passport, a side career being an ambassador/ spokesperson for numerous charities, a house, a boat, a vacation house (or two), a fulfilling career doing something we really love, a yacht for Dad, oh- and a lagoon style pool. And a round bed.. that rotates…Maybe two kids. I still really want to do some habitat for humanity buildings and become a counselor/mentor at an eating disorder clinic.
We also need to learn salsa, get certified for scuba,
Yea, so… We don’t have any of that right now, sorry!! At 30, we really haven’t accomplished most of what our teenage - 20 something self had been so determined to by now. It happens to the best of us. I don’t want us to sit around for the next 10 years wondering why we haven’t attained or accomplished most of these things, so I’m just going to be real with us right now and say that part of the reason is:
It is our fault.
The other part is a heaping helping of shit happens with a sprinkle bad luck, and a side of poor timing. We made choices; some were right, and some were just a complete waste of time. We let some things that were really important to us fall to the wayside. We chickened out. We procrastinated. We were unhealthy there for a while. We had plans for a great journey and we had pit stops and really exciting attractions marked on that roadmap, but we went south when we should have gone north and we stopped at the giant ball of rubber bands when we should have been gazing at the Grand Canyon. We took two steps forward to run five steps back and sometimes things really just sucked giant rubber band balls, when they should have just been amazeballs.
We more often than not chose a paycheck over taking chances, and we let self-doubt influence some of our decisions for us at times. We made mistakes, had some setbacks. Honestly though, for someone who has been on this planet for THIRTY YEARS, we are really not doing so badly. I mean, we’re not a drug addict, we’re not in jail, we’re not dying (not immediately, anyway.. I mean technically, in a scientific sense we are all dying..) and we’re not dead. I’d say that’s a pretty great start! Three decades is a whole lotta time to muck stuff up; it was bound to happen, really. So, so what if we haven’t done and seen and gotten it all?
IT IS OK. OUR JOURNEY ISN’T OVER.
Let’s use our birthday this year and onward, to think about all we have seen, have done, and have accomplished.
We have traveled the world. Sure we haven’t made it to Spain or New Zealand yet, but we have seen some pretty incredible places - ahem- Greece! We have been in the annex where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis. We climbed to the Acropolis and saw the Parthenon. We’ve been inside the Pantheon, and we have walked the streets of Pompeii. W roamed the Colosseum! We swam in the Mediterranean and we sprained our ankle in Rhodes. We have felt the energies of so many places, we have experienced far more than most. We’ve moved away from everything and everyone we’ve ever known, alone – TWICE. We’ve met some of our idols – we’ve even worked with one (John Malkovich!). We’ve walked film sets, we’ve won acting awards, we’ve edited movies, we’ve gotten lead roles in plays we never imagined, and we’ve won awards for acting, something that we never thought we’d do. We never win anything!
We have come out of the other side of some dark places; depression, betrayal, and an eating disorder, and we’ve gained nothing but courage and respect for ourself/us.. (this writing to myself thing is harder than it looks). We have grown into a survivor. We have given our time and money and heart to causes and in turn we have helped numerous people. We have performed in front of packed theaters. We’ve gotten standing ovations. We have loved deeply and been loved more deeply than whatever fantasies we had built up in our head as a teenager (Jack from Titanic.. sigh.. We’ll never let go and we totally would have shared that door!). We make people laugh on a daily basis and did I mention John Malkovich? He hugged us. It was amazing. We have an incredible family, amazing friends, we have so much, and we have so much to offer to the world.
Oh – and - We JUMPED OUT OF A PLANE!! WE ARE A CRAZY B! Talk about facing our fears, for reals!
So here’s what this crazy, plane jumping, drama queen is gonna do:
We are not going to waste anymore time (not that we’re running out of it!) thinking about all the don’t haves and the did nots. There’s still time. We can write a new roadmap or we can throw that flippin’ thing out - I mean, let’s face it; we have never been one to stick with a plan anyway, no matter how much time we spend on making one. NO MORE second-guessing – remember that we can be our own worst enemy next to Ben and Jerry’s… and depression, but those are totally combatable!
We will remember that we are strong, talented, bright, and funny. We’re also very attractive and that probably won’t last beyond 40 so, we should use these perky boobs and tight bum while they’re still defying gravity. (Kidding!)
We should be prepared to break a bone or two – we are us, after all (remember Rhodes?). Oh, and speaking of bones, I think we should take up yoga. It would be good for those decrepit joints of ours. It’s important for us to be positive when facing this whole aging thing, but let’s not be naïve bodies require maintenance. I mean, cells are dying every day and those bones are just a’ brittlin’. Can’t beat science. Just sayin’.
On this exciting/potentially disastrous journey, we are going to climb mountains of crap, and experience a shitload of sunshine. The force is strong with us, but it won’t be all fun and lightsabers. We will have to face challenges head on. We will hurt. We will laugh and cry. We'll make friends and enemies. We will F up. We will learn, and we will do great things. We will always try new things, even when we are afraid. Things will inevitably just go wrong, and when that happens, we will adjust accordingly (and/or drink lots of margaritas).
We will suffer, and it will be worth it.
We will be happy.
We will survive.
We will live.
So, on that note- GO! We are gonna do what makes us happy. Let’s release the fears and doubt holding us back, and chase the life we want. We won’t be given more time, but the experiences are all up to us. Oh, and let’s just scrap that road map. Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
Xoxo, -Lauren at 29
P.S: To my 50 and above self, if you’re reading this, I am really sorry about what happened to our boobs, but hey – just remember that they weren’t really all that awesome in the first place.