Thursday, January 3, 2008

I don't know how to say this

Today won't be very funny, and I apologize in advance for that.
I also apologize for how long this will be.

My mother once told me that 30 was the only birthday that ever made her cry.
She cried because she remembered how HER mother (my grandmother) looked when she was thirty. Gramma had three kids then and was strapped into a hard life with a lot of work. Mom remembers how "old" she looked, tired and worn out, both physically and emotionally. And now she was the same age as that. Even though her life had been less difficult, and she only had ONE kid (not counting a few miscarriages), she was still "that old". By many definitions, thirty is young, but what I'm referring to here is the terrible psychological impact of it. It was an awful, foreboding, crushing feeling for her. And she cried.
I know how she feels now, because the same thing is happening to me. Thirty didn't really bother me all that much, but for some reason the magic number here has turned out to be 38.
I am going to turn 38 on January 11th. The very thought makes me cry.
I remember what my mom's hands looked like when I was growing up. I suppose they were typical hands for a woman approaching her forties, but they looked so OLD compared to my younger hands.
And, for the past few days, I've been looking at my OWN hands.
I have "those" hands now.
OLD hands.
I've been debating for a few days whether to blog about this, and which blog I should put it on if I did. I have secondary blogs which I'd purposely set aside for non-funny topics like this, yet the Jannaverse is my "home," and this is intensely personal, so somehow it belonged here.
I also dreaded the reactions I'd be likely to get from some people.
I feared there would be junk like "You're only as old as you feel," or "Hey, I'M a lot older than you, so quit complaining," or "You need to get over yourself," or "Stop being such a drama queen," or something else that implies I'm just overreacting. Those reactions would only make me angry, which is why I seriously considered whether I wanted to blog about this at all.
Worst of all would be if you decided "Janna's not funny anymore, so I guess I'll stop reading her stuff."
I don't need or want ANY of those reactions.
Thirty seems young to me now, yet I completely understand and respect my mother's need to mourn herself becoming that age.
Maybe to some of you, thirty-eight seems equally young. I ask for the same respect and understanding.
A lot of it is my hands... I look at my hands a lot lately and I SEE all kinds of wrinkles and imperfections and lines that just weren't there before. My hands look very OLD to me. I look at them and I cry. I'm crying right now, just TYPING about them.
Another part of it is that 38 is dangerously close to 40. I know, I know, I know life continues after 40. I have friends who are over 40. To the best of my knowledge, they still breathe once in awhile and laugh and smile and have semi-regular bowel movements.
I gave a manicure to an 86-year-old lady today. I know there are hands older-looking than mine. I know. I know. I know!!
But somehow I never thought that I would be 40. Or 38, for that matter.
When I was younger, I had some strange premonition that I wouldn't live to see age 30. It's hard to explain, but somehow I just "knew" I wouldn't live that long. Thirty was an age I simply would not reach. It was a strange knowledge to have, and even stranger was the fact that I was totally ok with it. I knew that my life would end before 30 and that was fine. Even at six years old, I felt this way.
But, somehow it didn't end. I kept living.
Never did I believe I would make it to forty, and I still haven't, but holy crap, I am dangerously close.
I never thought I would be as old as I am now.
The past few days, I've been getting more and more depressed. I look at my hands and I cry. I sit and think about what I've just typed, and I cry.
Another sad thing is that I'm 38 and single. I'm all alone. Never been married. I know it's possible to be single and happy, just like it's possible to be married and miserable. Believe me, I understand that. I'm just tired of being alone. Once a woman reaches my age, the odds are very slim that she will get married. It's not completely impossible, but unlikely.
I know 38 seems young to a lot of you, and a lot of you probably just don't understand what I mean. Please, please don't laugh at me or roll your eyes. Please.
Even though I hotly despise the phrase "You're only as old as you feel", for most of my life it worked in my favor. Mentally, I usually felt about 19-20. Physically, I felt closer to about 90, due to health issues (which I still have and will probably always have). I used to joke that if you averaged the numbers together, it came out to roughly the age I actually was.
(Though now I just realized that 20 and 90 averages out to 55.)
I'm rambling now.
I realize that.
I don't know how to end this.
I just don't want a bunch of reactions like the ones I typed earlier. It won't help.
Nothing can help.
I'm turning the comments off for this post. I just don't want a whole comment section full of "those" reactions, since it will feel like everyone is ganging up on me, with everyone else able to read it all. I'd be embarrassed and upset.
If you want to e-mail me privately with a loving note of support, you can do so by clicking here.
I feel very sad, and am unsure when I'll be able to post again.
Please forgive me.