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I began 2013 feeling old. It started with last-minute invites to New Year’s parties I couldn’t attend because I didn’t have a babysitter. It continued with only being able to drink one solitary beer because I was afraid if I drank more, I would fall asleep before the ball dropped. And it got even worse when talking to a friend about another friend of ours whose job is ending and who is going to take a year off to write instead of pursuing more lucrative work. Once upon a time, I would’ve had words of admiration and envy for taking on such a project; now I lean more towards deep skepticism with a tinge of envy. Now my words are, “How’s he going to afford health insurance?” My younger self is so embarrassed.

For some reason, this seems to be hitting me at the turn of this year more than it ever has. I’m generally not someone who’s hung up on age. I have been lucky to be relatively healthy all my life, so I am able to subscribe to the “you’re only as old as you feel” school of thought. But recently something seems to have shifted. It may have to do with the couple of varicose veins pregnancy graced me with, or maybe it’s just that now I have to say I’m in my mid-thirties, which sounds so much older than early thirties, and also feels about two decades too old to be wearing the silver Doc Martens I just saw at the mall. Looking at them, I felt like I was fifteen again, except that now I could afford to buy myself the shoes but I’d probably look like a fool wearing them with the rest of my wardrobe. (Feel free to tell me I’m wrong about this so I can go back and get them.)

When people tell me I look young, I always figure that’s a nice way of saying I look as put together as the average high schooler. Believe me, this is often the case. But maybe I should learn to embrace that. Maybe it would allow me to do the following things, which I have recently begun to think of as impossible for someone of my age and maturity level: strut around in those Docs for old time’s sake, drink coffee late at night and still be able to fall asleep without heartburn, fearlessly follow my dreams, always be excited about what’s around the corner.

I don’t typically do New Year’s resolutions because I never make them specific enough and thus fail to keep them, but I think I can make a silly one here: Start acting like that high schooler I supposedly look like. A little regression never hurt anyone, and it would be nice to have nothing better to do some afternoon than sit around feeling angsty while eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. And I’ve already taken my first step; tonight I went to a party with glittery eyeliner on. As make-up goes, it doesn’t get much more high school than that.

Anyone else out there feeling the same way, or am I the only one getting this maudlin with the new year?

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