“Forty is so old the only time I will ever be referred to as a young man for the rest of my life is if I die at 40,” said comedian Chris Rock in an interview with the now deceased Ed Bradley of “60 Minutes” on the night before Rock hosted the Oscars in 2005.
As I write this post on my 35th b-day, all I can say is at least I’m not 40…Now my blog is supposed to be about faith after the altar call, and a post about my birthday may seem to be off topic – but it’s really not when I think about it. If I’m supposed to believe that life is supposed to get better, rather than worse, after 35, that’s a real act of faith (at least for me).
Five years ago, just a month or so before my 30th b-day, my father and I sat in the living room of my parents’ home and talked about my impending b-day. As we talked, tears fell down my face. Yes, it really happened! My dad, a sympathetic man in most cases, looked at me as his head turned sideways and said, “What’s going to happen when you really get old?” I said nothing as the tears continued to slide down my face.
A few months after I turned 30, the movie “13 Going on 30” starring Jennifer Garner came out. I ADORED the movie for many reasons!!! (If you haven’t seen it, you must – particularly if you are nearing 30 years old.) But my absolute favorite thing about the movie was this slogan “Thirty, Flirty and Thriving!” After I saw the movie, I said to myself, “Well maybe 30 isn’t so bad.”
Today, five years later, I wonder what slogan or quip will help me frame this b-day in my mind. I’ve decided that “35 is all the way Live!” Can I get a loud “Amen?” (Maybe that will help me really believe it, ha,ha.) Seriously though, as I have pondered this birthday almost since just after I turned 34 years old, I have wondered how I’m supposed to see things. Let’s face it. Yes, I have advanced in my career (at least somewhat). Yes, I know more about myself than I ever have. Yes, I know God…But is that supposed to make up for rapidly graying hair that I have been dying cherry red almost since just after I turned 30? (My family grays early.) Is that supposed to make up for skin that already is starting to look not as taut although I work out on a regular basis? Is that supposed to make up for the fact that when me and my girls go out and try to “style and profile,” there is a group of similar girls that are hotter than we are just because they are still in their 20s? Goodness, I sound shallow, but don’t act like you haven’t had similar thoughts if you’re a female…self awareness ain’t everything!!!
Jokes aside, yes, there are some downsides to getting older, but I actually do cherish the fact that I’m more confident in my own skin than I was in my ’20s although the previous paragraphs don’t support that. And for the record, I look 10 years younger anyway, according to a college student I met yesterday at a journalism convention. When I told her that my 35th b-day was the next day, unprompted, she said, “Wow, I thought you were 25!” I wanted to hug her. (Ironically, her name is Imani-so maybe that was God’s way of giving me a dose of faith after all, ha,ha!) But back to my more philosophical conclusion, I do revel in the fact that I’m more confident in my own skin than I have ever been before, and I thank God that He continues to reveal more to me about true self everyday and His purpose for my life- if that makes sense.
So in keeping with my made up slogan, I have decided to be who I truly am – without apology or affectedness. What does that mean? For me, that means I will be the same person wherever I go…I have this habit of tailoring myself to fit whatever crowd I’m hanging out with at a given time – sometimes that’s the “cool” crowd or the “not so cool” crowd. (Yes, an element of that, unfortunately, still exists after high school.) Sometimes, it’s the black crowd and sometimes it’s the not black crowd. Sometimes, it’s the “Godly” crowd, sometimes it’s the “not so Godly” crowd. I’m not going to do that anymore – or at least I will try.
I just want to be me…I just want to live the way I truly am on the inside. I just want to be person that God has created me to be. Maybe “35 is all the way Live!” As you ponder that, check out this song, “It’s all the Way Live,” by Lakeside below. Any thoughts?