Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Aisle of Your Early Thirties

Last night, a friend and I took a spin through Target’s Aisle of Your Early Thirties.

I think it’s technically called the “Bridal and Baby Shower Gift Wrap” aisle, but let’s not split any hairs. Every option made me want to shoot my eye out, punch somebody, or weep. Perfect little wrapping-paper baby butts. Fairy tale weddings. Faux-engraved invitations. Pastel storks. And that was the tasteful stuff. The Aisle of Your Early Thirties presented such a skewed and cutesy view of adulthood that I could only respond in one way: shrugging and going out for a tasty beer.

Life doesn’t go according to plan. It’s trite because it’s true. Schedules are for suckers. And we all have those moments where we realize adulthood is in full swing…and that sometimes it’s going to swing on without us. It’s hard to not feel left behind. But then I remember how important it is to live life at your own speed, and to hell with everyone else.

At 32, I’m about to make a more solid income than, well, ever. It’s terrifying, as being underemployed, befuddled and broke have been such major parts of my identity. I’m saving for retirement, paying down student loans, and no longer eating Taco Bell over the sink. I avoid hard liquor on school nights, toxic friends, and anyone who refuses to take me seriously. This is my show, and I’ll run it however I want.

Of course, I should probably have had this epiphany five or even ten years ago. Five years ago, I was a lady of leisure in Bogota. Ten years ago, I was crashing in my college town. Neither scenario really lends itself to personal growth.

Then again, I think the biggest mark of maturity is no longer waiting around for a soul-scorching insight. I don’t seek out those tiny moments where everything makes sense, because I know now that it’s a process that will likely never end. And I’d be bored out of my mind if it ever did.

And to think, all this is just because I couldn’t find a Metro-accessible Babies ‘R Us.

In the comments, tell me about your most recent, "Dear God, I'm a grownup!" moment.

20 comments:

Lemmonex said...

I think bumming around in college and making mistakes can lend itself to personal growth. I had to make some serious mistakes to learn my biggest lessons.

Shannon said...

Lem - I agree. I think some people (like, uh, me) have to learn things the hard way.

lacochran said...

No. To quote someone brilliant "This is my show, and I'll run it however I want."

"I think the biggest mark of maturity is no longer waiting around for soul-scorching insight." sounds like a pretty soul-scorching insight to me!

LiLu said...

When I went to Carolina a few weeks ago, my girlfriends and I made a fabulous dinner, and enjoyed it, with wine, at a real DINNER TABLE in the house she OWNED, with our significant others we all pretty much plan on spending the rest of our days with.

These are the girls I used to do 19 jager bombs with and stumble home stupid, hoping not to get raped on the way.

Things done changed, and there ain't no two ways about it.

Ibid said...

I would call that the early 20s aisle. That could just be a cultural difference between the mid-west and the civilization, however.

Shannon said...

Lacochran - *blush*

LiLu - I STILL haven't graduated to eating at an actual table. Whoa.

Ibid - I think it's a regional thing - most people I know got married in their late 20s and started having kids in their early 30s.

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael J. West said...

My MOST recent "dear God I'm a grownup" moment? Last Monday, when I realized that I was still hung over from my birthday party two days before. (Although that may be more "old" than strictly "grown up.")

Jo said...

Mailing my wedding invitations and finding flaws in my parents. I recently bitched my mom out for projecting her issues onto me. I feel old now.

Shannon said...

Mike - I didn't feel so hot the next day myself - though that might have been the pizza.

Jo - You mean, parents are PEOPLE? With, like, flaws? Whoa.

Katherine said...

My personal sign of aging (not grownup; there is a difference) came the other day when I realized I was older than a lot of the people in US Weekly.

Fiery Nuggets said...

I think the grown up thing has come for me over the past few months of realizing that what I want is not predetermined by someone other than me and that I should not feel bad for not having things that other people value. Now, figuring out what I want -- that is the big question.

Carrie M said...

Right before I settled on my condo, I bought a brand new mattress and a couch. It wasn't the condo that flipped me out, it was paying for those items brand new, with my debit card. I talked myself out of buying those things a million times before I actually did it.

Shannon said...

Katherine - That's a rite of passage there: Too Old for Tabloids.

Nuggets - Sometimes, it's easiest to figure out what you DON'T want, and work from there.

Carrie - Like, not only are you buying a nest, you're feathering the nest? Weird.

Dave said...

For guys, it is when every football player on television is younger than you; that is a scary moment. Kurt Warner is 38. I call him "The Kid."

Zandria said...

"I don’t seek out those tiny moments where everything makes sense, because I know now that it’s a process that will likely never end. And I’d be bored out of my mind if it ever did."

FANTASTIC post. I completely agree. :)

Shannon said...

Dave - What's a Kurt Warner?

Zan - Aw, thanks!

rowenawall said...

The door to my fridge proudly sports one wedding invitation, one birth announcement and one invitation to a two year-old's birthday party. All I need is an engagement party invitation and I would have the complete post college set.

emma said...

I am now friends with my mother. That is most definitely a sign that I'm maturing.

Shannon said...

Rowena - Careful! If you get a baby shower invite, they'll assemble into Adulthood Voltron.

Emma - Facebook friends, or actual friends? Lucky for me my mom hates computers even more than I do.