Thursday, April 23, 2009

Question of the Day #169

So, during the amazing sunset the other night, a young girl from Boston clad in a bikini top and a mini-mini approached H and me. She babbled excitedly about the weather, about how she expected people in LA to be snobby and that she was so surprised at how nice everyone was. She asked about celebrity sightings and explained how she could never live in LA because all she'd want to do is go out and have fun. And that east coast life was way better because sometimes you just need a night by a warm fire.

We explained that it's not 90 degrees in April often and that the cold weather would be back by the end of the week. Although it would feel warm to her, because it takes awhile for east coasters to shed their thick skin. And then she asked how long I'd been here. I told her I'd been here almost 15 years.

As she did the math, her eyes popped. "Wait a minute. How old were you when you moved here? "

"I was 22. I'm 37 now."

"37?!?!" She screamed. The dudes next to us sporting hipster beachy hats turned to stare.

"Yep," I said as I slid down in my chair.

"WOW! I want to look like you when I'm 37! Who looks like you at 37? I thought you were like 30! When I'm 37, I'm gonna be old and fat and married and have kids hanging off every limb!"

"No, you're not. You'll take care of yourself..." H and I cooed.

But after she was gone, H said, "Don't you think it's fascinating that that girl pictured herself old, fat and covered with kids at 37?"

"Yes, I do think that's fascinating."

"Not only did she assume she'd be married, she assumed she'd have kids and she assumed she'd have let herself go. Like she didn't have a choice. Is that what everybody does on the east coast?"

"Not everybody." I pictured my Jersey Girls. Some are married, some have kids, but they all look great. Even hot.

"I think it's amazing that her view of 37 is that and that only," H said.

And when we got on the phone the next morning, we talked about it again. And we wondered, did she think she wouldn't have a choice about the rest of her life? Or that she wouldn't be able to control the outcome? Or that there's no life after 30 or something?

And if by picturing her life that way, would it turn out like that? Would she manifest a gaggle of kiddies and early wrinkles?

What early preconceptions did you have about life at your current age? And have any of them actually materialized?



  1. I thought I would never get married and I would like to live alone in some out of the way place way back in the woods. I do still like my solitude but if I stay away from civilization for too long, I go nuts. I was also wrong on the getting married part.(twice)
    In highschool I was anti military and nuclear power and then I joined the Navy and became a Nuclear Power plant operator on Submarines. Talk about being wrong.

  2. I turned 40 last year and my daughter's reaction cracked me up. "No! 40 is old! You can't be that old!"

    I always pictured 40 as old, wrinkly, worn. Now I feel like so much of how you look reflects who you are inside (assuming you haven't taken advantage of surgery). The fact that my daughter didn't see ME as old even though the number sounded old, means that inside I'm still as young as I want to be (well, maybe not quite THAT young). I'm glad that what's inside is reflecting on the outside as well :^)

  3. I worked as a doorman in my early 20's so I saw all different types of aging. Twenty year olds looking like thirty year olds, forty year olds looking like people in their late twenties. It was truly eye opening. I spent about 8 years between 2 different bars and I actually saw customers age. Those who partied the most were the most likely to age faster, it was kind of sad to see sometimes. As for self fulfillng prophecies, absolutely. We've seen it over and over. If you have a father and grandfather who were in law enforcement chances are you will project that life for yourself whether you are passionate about it or not. I believe that your parents, friends, and culture can be big determining factors on how you see your life moving forward.

  4. I was convinced I would be rich and famous, or at least famous. Still waiting...

  5. Great story! I used to think I would at least look older than I am. I still look like I'm in my early twenties, and I'm far from that. At least I feel more mature. I think I'm wiser. I guess time will tell. :)

  6. It would be great to see that same woman, in the same situation, when you are 15 years older and she is 37....Interesting to see the progress...

  7. I just realized a few weeks ago, at the age of 37 and a half, that I actually Do have a choice. I'm a single mom with two children, but it's still my life and I Can control the outcome of it. I can do what I want with My life. There's no need to ask for anyone's permission. It doesn't have to fit in. So I'm taking a leave of absence from work in the fall... I'm leaving the established and conventional way of living. I'm starting all over again, to live a very simple, down-to-earth life here in Sweden. As a ceramist. (A hot ceramist ;) )

  8. Great story. I honestly don't have an answer for this one. I guess I was so busy having kids in my 20s that I didn't have time to think of how I'd be in my 40s. I don't know if that's good or bad or sad.

  9. I figured I'd have kids in my 30s, and I do, but I never figured I'd be fat and old-looking. I mean, my parents both looked pretty decent in their 30s, so there was no reason to assume I'd be otherwise. What a weird thing for that girl to say!

  10. Great question! In my late teens - early 20's, my friends and I were sure I would be the first to get married...and, start having kids right away (4 to be exact). It's interesting looking back now as I'm weeks away from 40, the single mom of a 1 year old and never been married. I can't recall that, at that young age, I ever put much thought into my future. Getting married and having kids was the plan. I don't think I ever really thought I had a choice. I'm glad I finally stopped to figure out who I wanted to be and I'm so happy to be on this unpredictable journey and so proud of who I've become.

  11. Me and the girls had been talking about a lot of stuff when we were in our 20's, but I don't recall anything about our figures. Talking about choices, I think there always be an option in life whether we see it or not. I agree to Carlos that your parents, friends, and culture can be big determining factors on how you see your life moving forward. A lot of my dreams back then have been fulfilled by now and I feel very blessed about that. Let's go and reach for the stars :)


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