I think I figured the Leap Years correctly, but don’t hold me to it. It’s my birthday afterall.
Last year when I turned 35, I jokingly but proudly told people that it was my last year to truly matter. Last year was my final year sitting at the Popular Table. It was the final year that I would matter to anyone important. The last year I was valued for my opinions. The last year people created things I wanted. Things I needed. Last year, I mattered.
And today, I turn 36. Some cute gal just turned 18 and all her perkiness just bounced me from the Popular Table. Her giggle that’s rewarded with their attention is only irritating to me. Why is everyone laughing with her? She’s not funny. And her laugh is nasally?! They wave me off and snort along with her. I’m officially out of the all-important 18-35 key demographic for marketers, movie makers, tv programmers, music programmers, the Popular Table creators. Today, I take my lunch tray and awkwardly straddle my legs (ever try to get out of a lunch table gracefully?) and move on.
They don’t want me any more. I bet a nice 18-35 Wanter would tell me with condescending tone:
Oh sweetie… We don’t want you only because you’ve become too smart for us. You have your ways. You aren’t buying new stuff. You’ve got your likes and won’t stray. We’d only be spinning our wheels for you. We’d become the monkey and you’d only be making us dance. And between you and I, we like to be the one making monkeys dance. Thanks for keeping Bambi’s seat warm. Here’s a cake.
And I’d shuffle away half-believing them.
But fuck ’em. I won’t dance one more time. 36 is going to be awesome. Because no one is trying to tell me what I want. No one is aiming to give me what I need. I get to decide that all on my own. And while I’d argue that I’ve been doing that for a long time there’s no secret 18-35 Wanter in the corner whispering “Just what we want her think… <evil laugh> <evil laugh>“
36 is going to be filled with fun because I want it to be filled with fun. Fun stuff that I like. If I feel like listening to Garth Brooks “The Hits” on repeat, I’m going to and I’ll do it without a hint of apology. If I feel like wearing a robe on Tuesday at 3 p.m, that’s what I’ll do.* If I want to think I’m awesome, I’m going think it without feeling bad or narcissistic. I won’t worry that you might think I’m not so awesome. So be it. You’ve got enough awesome friends. You don’t need me. I’ll spend Year 36 hanging out with all my equally awesome family and friends. Awesome people always have super awesome friends (plus I’ll stop saying awesome so much). I’ll spend Year 36 being a little nicer. Smiling at strangers more. Holding the door even if people are still really far away from said door. Letting more people cut in front of me at the grocery. Giving back and donating more than I did when I was only 35. I’ll spend Year 36 trying to be more tolerant and less gossipy. I wont’ put up with or worry about Bullshit. 36 will find me trying different restaurants, reading more books, and lounging more just because. During Year 36, I’ll show my boys more of life. We’ll all push it a little more. And let’s be honest because sometimes I get lazy, if 36 is like 35, I’ll still be pretty happy when 37 approaches. But this year it will be done without the silent evil nudges of the 18-35 Wanters.
Today, I’m going to live life like I’m real awesome. Join me even if your birthday isn’t until November. There’s no use living life any other way.
* My husband would laugh at this and ask me to prove how this is any different from our 16 years together. Deep in the cobwebs of my soul there might have been a whiff of guilt for this cheese and laziness. All gone. No questions.