I Never Want to Act My Age

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Demi Moore Cover Comparison (Photo credit: ChadScott)

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Blink 182 baby!

So Im about to be 30 and the awesome thing is, Im pretty pleased about the whole thing. Im looking around at what Ive accomplished, where Im at and the opportunities that seem ahead and Im excited for the future. However, getting older is not viewed as a good thing when youre a female. If youre a guy, age is your friend – how much better does George Clooney, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio look now than they did when they were younger? Especially babyface Leo. But getting older as a female? All you read is depressing statistics on how any children after 35 are more likely to have down syndrome’s or autism or other disorders, or how getting caught in a terrorist attack is more likely than getting married if youre over some age. I mean even those who look fantastic, are still given an age qualifier. In the Middle East, Im watching lots of crappy old American movies, since I cant watch the other 300 Arabic channels (language deficient!) so Ive seen Charlie’s Angels 2 again. Remember what a big deal it was when Demi Moore came out of the ocean rocking her 40-year old body and restarting her career? Then she married Ashton Kutcher and it was the resurgence of the older woman-younger man! Too bad 10 years later they are divorced, people are talking about how all the cosmetic surgery can’t prevent her aging and all things are back to the way they’ve always been.

Its scary how much we let ourselves be defined by what others may think of us. I stayed home today from the things I could have done in the world today, because I was exhausted. I slept until 3, which was over 12 hours and then woke up and did nada. Ate some hummus and turned on the TV. And eventually a little voice started creeping in, whispering so low I couldnt actually make out the words, just recognize the feeling of unease and anxiety and eventually worthlessness rolling over me. Then it got a bit louder as it got purchase on me – how dare you stay inside all day? Shouldnt you be out – building your career? meeting people? exploring the country? walking and getting less fat? doing something of value? The voice, of course, gets meaner as it gets louder. And it becomes easier and easier to believe.

So many shoulds. Its maybe the biggest struggle I face, especially when faced with a lot of choices, and I choose what I want instead of the “right” choice. I tend to punish myself for doing what I want, especially when doing what I want seems to be being super lazy. The nice thing about being out of my normal environment is I cant blame the feelings on my life. Instead, I check myself much more quickly and say, “well something isnt right, because right now Im in a foreign country, living my own personal dreams and eating awesome food while surfing the internet and not doing work, so lets get some perspective here.” Eventually I realized I was feeling bad cause I was dehydrated, drank some water and got on with the lazing. Oh well, its a process. I did eventually take a shower, leave the house, eat some really good food, and watch a movie with a friend. So overall a salvaged day.

Im learning to like it here a lot. Ive created a routine that involves teaching English a few days a week, going into an office to help with HR work and am still creating other opportunities. Having a PhD is a big deal here, which I think is opening doors. Im sure there will be bad days, but Im still grateful for the chance Ive had to be here and widen my view a bit more.

Im also using the time to get back into contact with my Heavenly Father. My life is quieting down enough for me to hear the promptings I should have been following before – but at least Im doing them now. I came out here because I thought it was what He wanted me to do, so its nice to feel like He also brought me out here so we could get closer and talk more like we used to. Being in Provo the last few years made me want to dull things a bit, so I didnt make the same efforts I used to. Here, I see how well-placed I am, and I could use the guidance so I am able to take advantage of this experience. Plus Ive got a best friend, some cute kids and some other people relying on me being at my best, so Im ready to rise to the challenge.

The end of a decade. Its not so bad growing up. Plus, no one believes I am 30 anyway, so theres always that.

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