When I was in middle school, I was allowed to choose two nights each week to stay up a bit later and I always picked Tuesday, the reason being that Thirtysomething aired that night. Thirty seemed such an in-between age. It wasn't cool like twenty or responsible like forty. My cousin was in his thirties at the time and I remember thinking, "what a boring time--you're not set."
What did I mean by set? I have no idea what I thought was going to be so precarious about my thirties. The characters of Thirtysomething were married and had kids and had careers--I'm still not sure why I thought crossing over into your forties would be so different. But I did.
Bleu and I constantly talk about getting our hands on old episodes of Thirtysomething to see how we process the same episodes twenty years older. In my mind, they remain impossibly realistic--this was how I believed adults acted; the things they thought about, the problems they grappled with.
And yet, as a current thirtysomething, there is a storyline that I don't remember them ever covering--the adult who still feels like a child. Someone like me who wrote a note to my co-volunteer this weekend and explained that I could fixed the document, but I'd have to go ask my dad for help. Or who calls my mother on a daily basis to ask my how-to questions. I am in the center of my thirties--about to add another year to my age in two weeks time--and I don't feel like an adult in the thirtysomething sense of the word. I don't feel like I am currently as old nor as responsible as Hope and Michael or Elliot and Nancy. I don't feel like I could handle things as they handled things and I have no memory of them calling their own parents as frequently as I call mine. I still feel like a child even though I am raising children. Even though in my circle of friends we have weathered all the hot topics covered on the television show--death, divorce, illness, career-change, job loss.
There was a time this week when I was looking at the blogosphere as a whole, thinking about the things individuals are grappling with--health issues, parental death, loss of spouse, divorce. And it all seemed so old. I was thinking at first what is up with the world that all of these things are scootching younger and younger. And then I realized that I was at that age--that age where these things happen. Yes I feel so incredibly young even if my numerical age and the grey hair belies that.
I'm not sure when the shift occurs--when you move from the dependency I saw inherent in your twenties (though my middle school aged eyes) to the responsibility I believed existed in every fortysomething.
I am letting my hair currently go grey. I'm not sure if this is a permanent decision or one I'll change my mind on down the road. I don't particularly like the grey streaks through my hair, but I also don't like the idea of covering them up and pretending that it didn't happen. I was having my hair done for my sister's wedding and the hairdresser offered to cover up the grey with a quick rinse. I told her I wasn't interested and I was going to let me hair go grey with time. She looked at me semi-horrified and said, "why?" I didn't really have an answer, it was just a gut decision.
When we got in the car, the ChickieNob said out of nowhere, "I love your grey hairs."
It made me wonder how she'll see this age when she is in middle school and her cousins are thirtysomethings and that time period seems impossibly far away.