November 19, 2010

I’m Only Good at Being Young

I’ve been thinking a lot about getting older. I haven’t been thinking good thoughts about it.

It started, I think, when I had Tessa. I stopped sleeping. Even when I do sleep, it’s not good. I’m in a war zone; at any time, a bomb could explode. (Meanwhile, Nekos sleeps like a dead man.) Some recent study determined that new parents lose six months of sleep in that first two years. That’s sort of hard to believe, but maybe I just don’t want to believe it. The bags under my eyes say, Believe it.

All of a sudden, when people look at pictures of me from a few years ago, they say, You looked so young! My own mom says that sort of stuff to me. I’ve started using eye creams, dabbing and dotting them on—not rubbing—like the sales ladies say. One cream for nighttime and one cream for in the morning.

It’s not just the eyes. The fact that I’m a parent just makes me feel older. During my pregnancy, I thought, Well this is it. From now on, I’ll always have a kid. Any time a guy ever thinks of me in a romantic way, he’ll think, Nevermind, she has a kid. Gross.

There’s this Cee-Lo video that I love where he’s covering a Band of Horses song that I also love, but the video makes me feel old, too. Because I’ll never get to take a road trip like this, not ever. There won’t be skinny-dipping or tangled hair convertible rides or cliff diving. I have a kid to take care of. On my road trip, there would be a kid strapped into her car seat screaming her head off. I watch the video and think: Must be nice.

Coincidentally, my mom gave me Nora Ephron’s book I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman (which I actually gave her two Christmases ago, which she didn’t remember my having done, because she is old). Seriously one of the best book titles to ever happen to a book. In the title essay Nora says, “Every so often I read a book about age, and whoever’s writing it says it’s great to be old. It’s great to be wise and sage and mellow; it’s great to be at the point where you understand just what matters in life. I can’t stand people who say things like this. What can they be thinking? Don’t they have necks?”

This book is rocking my world. On the back cover, Nora has a turtleneck pulled up to her nose, peeping over it. She’s in her sixties, so she’s dealing with some far more troubling age issues—like watching her dear friends die. But still, in the end, she determines: “Of course it’s true that now that I’m older, I’m wise and sage and mellow. And it’s also true that I honestly do understand just what matters in life. But guess what? It’s my neck.”

I feel like I need to add a million disclaimers to this. Like, I know I’m not really old. I’m only 28. And why do I need men to think of me in a romantic way? I’m happily married. I love my kid, and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything and blah blah blah. It is a good life. I am happy. I just wish my eyes weren’t going to hell.

Also, the title of this post comes from a John Mayer song and I’m not scared to say it. I Like John Mayer’s Music. That probably makes me sound older than anything else I’ve said here. 


  1. Ellen,

    Men still look at you in a romantic way. I see it all the time. Double turns at you elegance, your grace, your creamy white skin, your beautiful eyes. Don't ever doubt you are a hottie. Not one minute.

    And we will still have adventures, adventures more exciting than the music video above because we will not get evicted and you won't leave me in the end because I am a bum. We will get off of the rollercoaster road and fall back into the crevasse of Nashville, happy to have each other and a home.

  2. boy do i get where you are coming from. honestly it hit me after i accepted wade's proposal. suddenly the idea of being young and crazy was past. no more crushes and first kisses. it's like i have to have a kid to live vicariously through them - and i don't want to do that!!! :) (i mean i want kids ... but you know what i mean.) glad to know i'm not the only one FREAKING OUT.

    remember how women think of men with kids as sexy - well i think there are quite a few men who share the sentiment. one of my exes was in love with pregnant women. odd - but kind of cute.

    ps - you're beautiful.

  3. pss. your husband is fantastic.

  4. Never doubt the power of cougars...

  5. my sweet friend, as always, I just absolutely adore your honesty-- your ability to express yourself, and to put your fears out there. Its refreshing and admirable.
    And totally relatable. No I'm not married, and I don't have a kid, but age is this thing that is just looming--threatening to take away both adventure and beauty.
    It terrifies me every morning when I look in the mirror.
    I see it. Its there... just lurking....mocking me for trying to fight it.... creeping in to the corners of my eyes and appearing at times across the middle of my forehead like a bad joke.

    And with every step towards adulthood and responsibility, it seems we are one step further from the possibility of excitement.

    Its such a hard battle...a hard concept.

    But what Im hoping is that age is, in fact, ultimately just a number.

    And when you have your kind of classic beauty(both inside and out), a brilliant and engaging mind, and a fantastic family, any significance a number might have is completely washed out by the other beautiful colors of your life.

    I utterly adore you.

  6. Getting older just gets easier. Weird but true. I promise you won't freak out quite so much when you turn 40! Just look at me! And, am I a hottie like you? My hubbie thinks so and maybe even a few winos at the end of my street. Oh, and the college students I used to teach. So don't fret. There is nothing to be afraid of. Except maybe turkey necks. PS: this is a great post. So honest.

  7. Nekos, you are sweet.

    Blair, you're so right. I guess I always have an aging crisis when something new and big happens - like graduating college, getting married or having a baby.

    Kathy, you're the ultimate cougar.

    Brittany, thank you so much for what you said and how you said it. I'd forgotten what a beautiful writer you are!

    Joy, that is good to know. You are definitely a hottie like me! :)