Tag Archives: adult

The Bittersweetness of Looking Young

10 Jul

I am very fortunate to still look like I am in my early twenties. This has been something I have enjoyed immensely as I am almost certain any woman would. Normally, this is pretty fantastic especially when lately the number ’31’ gets stuck in my throat when people ask how old I am. However, recently, it has become an incredible pain in my ass.

I never minded getting carded when buying alcohol or even at rated R movies (which still happens by the way). It was something I had gotten used to: going to the store and showing my I.D. and having the cashier smiled and make a comment such as “Wow, I would have never guessed that.” I always thank them. It’s meant to be kind and as I mentioned, it never really bothered me. It’s never been an issue of someone not believing me; my I.D. has never been fake. It’s almost a reflex at this point to have that reaction so I go into auto pilot of a polite response and go on my way. It’s never affected me past taking a few extra seconds to get the bottle of wine or get into the bar.

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                         Avril gets it.

It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I started to want to be treated as such. I want to be treated as an adult when I’m at my job, whatever it may be at the time. I want to be treated like I have knowledge, am educated and experienced. It sounds odd to say because EVERYONE should be treated like that but when others think you are younger, they treat you like you’re stupid. As if you’re going to burn the building down if they leave you alone for five minutes. I am sure I am guilty of it. Aging people by saying things like “Oh, you don’t get it, you’re too young.” Occasionally, that may be true and said properly, it isn’t insulting because hey, a younger individual may not know because they haven’t experienced something age appropriate like renting a car. However, most of the time, it comes out as a real shit thing to say. It’s belittling and makes one feel inadequate. As a kid, it wasn’t so bad because you’re a kid and you had to accept the fact you were younger. When you are 31 and everyone treats you like you’re 21, it’s harder to accept and brush off because you’ve been 21. You’ve been through the pain and torture of your twenties. I want my experience and the life I’ve lived to matter. It sounds dramatic when put that way but it’s what I’ve been feeling in the past few years.

When my husband and I were at Disney World a few years ago, we had “Happy Anniversary” pins on. We weren’t married yet but we were celebrating our dating anniversary. A kind cast member congratulated us but then took a second glance and asked us how long we had been married. We fibbed and just said how long we had been dating which was about four years. He commented that we must have gotten married when I was 12. We laughed it off but it stung a little. I knew I was going to married this man and I worried “Is this going to be our life? Where everyone thinks Lincoln has robbed the cradle?” What about when we have kids? Are people going to think I am the babysitter?

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                        2011. I was 27.

We just moved to Vermont and applying for jobs, several places looked at me like my resume was a lie. They never said anything, but it was clear they were surprised by all my experience considering I appeared to be 22, MAYBE 23 years old. If I don’t wear makeup, it’s even worse. I am spoken to like I don’t understand simple tasks. My new job has a lot of moving parts but I picked them up fairly quickly and a lot of my fellow employees have been shocked like I shouldn’t be so on point yet or understand how Microsoft Office works because I’m far ‘too young’ to grasp the concept of working in a customer service setting. I have a coworker talks to me as though I am a kid. She didn’t understand how I could be married and asked once if I remembered what CDs were. Yes, lady, I remember when THE INTERNET BECAME AVAILABLE IN HOMES not to mention my Walkman so yeah, I remember CDs, you know, when they became a thing for the first time. If I hear her say, “Well, you kids these days…” one more time, I will slap her. Ok, maybe not but it’s getting a little ridiculous when she asks me if I know how to check a voicemail. And she can’t be more than 10-15 years old than me at the most.

At our grocery store with my parents a few weeks after we moved in, we got some wine. At Hannafords, they need a supervisor to come and check I.D.s which is totally understandable. This manager was taking a long time to arrive at our register and the cashier…was really weird. Just a weird dude, long story. My dad finally said “You know, we are her parents. She’s of age. Can we just buy it?” The supervisor finally arrived and made the same confused face when checking my I.D. everyone does. But also I was with three other people who clearly are over 21 so I’m not sure why the extreme precaution. It happens every time my husband and I go buy beer together. They still ask for my I.D. even if he’s the one buying it like he’s buying for me for my high school rager I plan on having when my parents are out of town. When I’m out with my family, they always ask for my I.D. and occasionally the server will ask for everyone else’s I think just so I don’t know they were specifically targeting me, assuming I was the youngest. Obviously I know they are asking for only me. I think I hang out with too many people who have beards. Beards equal age. My brother never gets carded and he’s three years younger. I should grow a beard.

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                  Pulling. It. Off.

It may seem like a foolish thing to complain about but much like my past blog about being tiny, everyone has complaints that may seem controversial. There are women who look older than they are and I am certain they have a similar reaction when people age them. I accepted being carded every since I turned 21 but being treated like I don’t know what I am doing because I look like a kid has started to upset me. And the faces I get when I say how old I am sometimes aren’t pleasant surprise. It’s shock. Shock that isn’t masked in any way much like when I told people how much I weighed when they kept asking. It’s an odd feeling now that I’m older. For the first time, I want to be an adult.

The first week I was 30 I wasn’t carded. I was shocked and kept joking that now that I was 30, my streak was over and I finally looked my age. It was a welcomed change. Then it started creeping back. I started going new places, shopping new stores. It still just blows my mind that people think I am 21, ten years younger than I actually. Again, it is AWESOME in many ways. It’s great to feel good about my face. I joke I moisturize and that’s what gives me my youthful looks. It’s just good genetics truthfully. But when it interferes with my integrity, it hurts, it stings, it sucks.

I never want to grow up but sometimes, it’s nice to be treated like I am one when I am doing adult type things. I’m grateful I look young enough to still play a lot of my dream roles. I know a lot of actors play young way into their 30’s (hello, the entire cast of Dawson’s Creek).

Rachel McAdams was 26 when she made 'Mean Girls'

Rachel McAdams was 26 when she made ‘Mean Girls’

It’s a good feature to have. But when I’m applying for jobs outside my chosen field, when I’m working in an office or a restaurant, being treated like I don’t know what I am doing when clearly I do makes working difficult. It shuts down my confidence. It has made me realize that I need to pay attention how I speak to people that are younger. I’m probably not smarter than them. I may have more life experience in some ways but I’m not any better than they are. I shouldn’t be condescending. I shouldn’t mock them when they haven’t ever watched “Saved by the Bell” or think Leo DiCaprio is old and gross with his dad bod (they didn’t know the good days!) I should be polite and explain the wonders of what I know and listen to the wonders that they know because I still have to Google what half those abbreviations in text messages mean though I am fully on board with the Zac Efron train (he’s the new Leo!).

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You’re killing me, bro.

Someday I will look my age. It’s inevitable. Or maybe not if I start using toner. I’m thankful, I’m #blessed, but I’m also fed up. This doesn’t mean I want wrinkles however so don’t go getting any ideas, Universe.

Just for funsies though…

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Flashlight Tag: The Greatest Game of All Time

27 Mar

I remember the squeals of excitement and joy (followed by intense focus and discipline) when we would walk into our scheduled gym class and see mats strategically placed about the gymnasium. Some of them standing up, creating nooks and crannies, some of the folded on the ground creating tunnels. Some of the lights would already be turned off. This could only mean one thing. Today was a day we were going to play Flashlight Tag.

Flashlight Tag was my favorite game growing up. It was Hide and Seek plus the super scary factor of running around in pitch black darkness and trying not to run into each other as you ran for your life to the next hiding spot. And I mean ran for your life. Flashlight Tag is extremely serious and you need your wits about you at all time.

The rules of Flashlight Tag are simple. You can play on teams or have a person who is “It”. The “It” person gets a flashlight and everyone else hides. After counting down from a determined number (usually 60), It goes to seek out the hiders with a flashlight. If It catches you in the light, It has to call out your name. If It gets your name right, you become It. You could also play it where you were out if tagged by the light and identified so the game had a definite ending once all hiders were found. There are many different versions of this game as there are in any childhood game but this is how we normally played.

I had a lot of strategies when it came to Flashlight Tag. It was extremely competitive between my classmates or neighborhood friends. When we played it in gym, I would find a mat standing up and folded. I would find my way into one of the folds and squat down so if It came by and shined the light in the mat, they wouldn’t automatically dip it down onto the floor. Another plan was I would wait to see It check out a mat and then run to that mat because clearly It wasn’t coming back for a few minutes because they had to check the entire perimeter. I also would run faster than I ever did when we had to run a mile and even if the light hit me, I would be such a blur I couldn’t be identified properly. Occasionally I would hide in the corners of the gym not covered by a mat because who thinks to look there and it’s usually the darkest part of the room. I made the mistake often of running with a group or a friend. Never do this. You are a selfish soldier and you must survive on your own. You can’t risk having Tommy not being able to fit in the mat beside you and Betty and having the entire mat collapse and expose you all.

Injuries were abound when playing in gym. I can’t tell you how many times I ran into one of my classmates but we never stopped, not for a second. You bumped shoulders or hips and you recovered and YOU KEPT GOING. You had to get to that darkened corner and that scuffle made too much noise on the hard floor and you had no time to waste. That light was coming for you.

In neighborhoods, there were other rules. A play area had to be determined and committed to. You couldn’t go outside the boundaries otherwise you would be automatically out. Obviously everyone did this any way. We had trees, sheds, swing sets, and bushes to crouch behind. I would climb up into trees or lay as flat as possible behind bushes. Being tiny has its benefits when it comes to hiding games. My coworker, as I said I was writing this, said they called it Spotlight Tag and she used to hide in the shadows of trees so that no matter where the light fell, she was in darkness. Absolutely brilliant.

I think back on Flashlight Tag and how dedicated I was to the game. My brain would be on fire and my senses incredibly alert. I would be focused and determined. My body would be alive with adrenaline and I would be thinking three steps ahead at all times. Why don’t I apply this passion to my everyday life? Why was I more concentrated on a simple childhood game than I am today in anything I do? I can barely get myself together to do a full workout because I’ve gone down a black hole of puppy surprise videos after work. Even my career of acting I love can be a struggle to get my shit together and sit down and memorize lines or a new monologue. However, if you said “Let’s Play Flashlight Tag” I would leap up off the couch and already have 18 spots of where to hide and how to maneuver between them. I basically become Monica Gellar.

Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up. And maybe that’s the whole point. We play these games to learn how to play the game of Adulting. I wish there was as much pride in achieving a small Adult goal as there was in being the last man standing in Flashlight Tag, but the stakes are comparable not as high. Ok, they actually are but the glory isn’t the same. Here’s a visual. This is how I felt when I would be the last one found in Flashlight Tag:

And here is how I feel when I file my taxes:

Yeah. Not the same.

I will continue to work to achieve the same childlike resolution to my everyday Adult activities as I did to Flashlight Tag. Until then, who can come out after dinner to play?

 

Adulting Is Hard.

25 Mar

I recently participated in a program where I needed to submit a semi-professional sounding bio. Guys, I struggled with this. S.T.R.U.G.G.L.E.D. The one sentence I could get down went something like: “Bethany is from Vermont, but now she lives in Boston.” So exciting and descriptive! I recently turned 31. I should have things in my life to write about that sound important and make me seem like a responsible adult!

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So, my mom ended up writing one for me that was truthful, not boring, and highlighted some of my better accomplishments in life. I was very grateful for that, because if I had continued writing mine, it would have gone something like this:

“Bethany is from Vermont, but now she lives in Boston. Don’t ask her how to get anywhere in Boston or where any landmarks are located because she won’t know. She once had to use GPS to figure out where she was while out for a leisurely stroll in her neighborhood.  She drives home to Vermont a gazillion times a year and should probably just move back there already. She enjoys binge watching television shows on Netflix, eating toast, and doing jigsaw puzzles. She generally dislikes watching movies unless there is popcorn, Diet Coke, and peanut M&Ms involved. She recently started taking fiber supplements, and it was life altering.

Bethany often involuntarily takes 3 hour long naps sometime during the hours of 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm. She was recently prescribed reading glasses and her next pair of regular glasses will be bifocals. She often dreams about dinosaurs and/or giving birth. She has never seen Lost, Breaking Bad, or Frozen and refuses to change that situation, although she’ll probably give in someday just like she did with reading Fifty Shades of Grey. She is currently in between hair colors.

Bethany sometimes spends extended periods of time having deep conversations with her fish, Mac, while also trying to pet him. She’s clearly forgotten about the time her other fish bit her. She often thinks about going for a run or doing some yoga, but then eats a cupcake instead. She found out at the age of 18 that she had been tying her shoelaces incorrectly her whole life. That information was a game changer for her. She holds a respectable full-time job at a respectable institution, but she worries daily that her uncontrollable facial expressions will give away her extreme dislike for meetings whilst in a meeting and that she will be reprimanded.  She has no fuzzy pets of her own, but will gladly watch yours for you, anytime. She promises not to kidnap it. She reads approximately 17.5 blogs daily, but seldom updates her own. She has never done her own taxes (thanks, Mom!). She always enjoys oversharing and a good game of Cards Against Humanity. She is often in need of a lint roller. ”

Song of the Day: Ain’t It Fun by Paramore