The Five Stages of 36

I don’t even like saying I’m 36. 36 doesn’t even sound right. Many will say that I am being dramatic, and that I am not my age. “You’re as old as you feel!” “You don’t look your age, it’s just a number!” This is all accurate, if you’re not 36. And you’re not me.

When I turned 30, it was the milestone “Dirty Thirty”. This is such a great age, that they even make paper plates and balloons for the occasion at Party City. 32 still sounds young, and extremely sophisticated. When you’re this age, you appear to be a woman who has it all together, and there’s still a “2” in your age, so there’s that. Even 35 is still acceptable, because you still get to check an acceptable box on medical forms. However, now that I’ve turned 36, I feel like I have to repeat myself when people ask me how old I am. It’s only been 2 weeks, and I   still can’t grasp the concept that I have to check the next box that includes 40-year-olds. I have been so freaked out by admitting that I’m 36, that I physically can’t even say it aloud. I’ve decided to go the rest of the year saying that I’m “Treinta y Seis Fiesta”, just because it sounds better.

There are 5 stages of grief, which is exactly what I am experiencing right now. I believe the only way to be one with that 3 and that 6, I need to let nature take its course. No one can predict the time it takes to accept a monumental change in their lives, I just hope the process is completed before I turn 37…

  1. DENIAL: It has only been 2 weeks, and I am still in deep denial of this year of my life. I don’t want to tell anyone how old I am; I am hoping people will forget who old I am, and forget that I even had a birthday. These are the times I wish I wasn’t so attached to social media. But then again, who makes you feel better than Facebook on the day you were born? I am still contemplating how much weight I can lose, to transform my body so that people think I’m 24…
  2. ANGER: WHY IN THE WORLD DO I HAVE TO BE 36? It’s 2016, shouldn’t science have already invented a way to keep people 25 forever? Old enough to drink and rent a car with no additional fees, but still young enough to get away with getting drunk on a Tuesday night before attending a staff meeting the next morning? Why can’t I work out now for a week a lose 5 pounds? Now it takes me 6 months to stop eating potato chips and finally fit back into my size 8 jeans.
  3. BARGAINING: Ok, I get it. I’m 36. I know it’s not that old, but I also am happy that I’m more comfortable not giving a flying fish (you know that’s not the word I wanted to use) what people think about me. I guess it’s not that horrendous that now brunch is the focal point of my life, along with researching the best supplements to take for better vision and longer nails. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going out without a fight.
  4. DEPRESSION: Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!?! I don’t want to be 36! I’m not where I want to be in life! I haven’t had my babies yet! Idris Elba hasn’t asked me to marry him! Hot Mess Life hasn’t made me more famous than those Kardashian people! I’m still trying to lose my Freshman 25 (I had higher aspirations than most college co-eds). I still haven’t grown my hair to the perfect length- MY LIFE IS IN RUINS!
  5. ACCEPTANCE: Buck up, buttercup: You’re 36 and that’s pretty awesome. And guess what? You’re going to be 37 in a year, and you’ll have to accept that too. You can’t change your age, no matter how much cryogenic technology evolves in the future. You have  choice- accept that you’re 36, um, I mean Treinta y Seis Fiesta, and go with it. Make it the best year of your life, knowing that there are so many more hot mess years to come.

If there is anyone else out there grappling with being 36, 16, 27, or 52, know that you are not alone. There are others out here that refuse to accept our age, and don’t know how to accept that getting older is a way of life. Just remember that regardless of your age, you’re still you. Even if you seem a little creepier on Tinder, at clubs, or at a ComicCon convention, embrace your age and love yourself. Even if you turn Treinta y Seis Fiesta.

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