When I was 22 years old, I saw Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire and fell in love. And, now? Now I am older than Homer Simpson. He's been 38 for 17 years. I'm 39. I'm older than Homer. Yikes.
Along about the same time I discovered The Simpsons, I was at Bootlegger's with my pals from the bar where we worked. It was late and we were the only people in the bar. We sat on barstools in a corner: I with my legs up on my friend Mike's lap, balancing an ashtray on my thighs; he purposely missing the ashtrays to put holes in my tights, which was hilarious at 2:00 am when you're hammered and 22. The DJ played "Under the Bridge" (a brand new single back then) and we all moved to the dance floor, swaying in a circle, singing along. It is an abidingly fond memory for me.
That song came on the radio this morning as I drove into work, and damned if it didn't just transport me back to that lonesome bar in the middle of Chicago. That moment feels relevant still, despite the fact that babies conceived that night are writing college admittance essays. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are, what? their Led Zeppelin?
The thing about aging is that it, of course, beats the alternative. That doesn't mean it doesn't suck. But it could suck worse. There's definitely some pluses. But, since the only comment I've gotten on this blog is from my pal, Jessica (AKA: the wonderful and amazing 32 year old Jessica): maybe now is a good time to talk about the things I learned through all this aging:
1. There comes an age when a woman is too old to fall asleep with her makeup on. That age is 30. Wash your face and moisturize every night.
2. Speaking of moisturizing... moisturize. As my mother told me, you're never too poor to afford a good moisturizer.
3. Keep your face OUT OF THE SUN!!!! And, for god's sake, wear sunscreen!
4. Don't try and keep at your 22 year old weight. Someone (Catherine Deneueve?) said "around 40 every woman has to choose between her face and her ass." Choose your face. More people will see it.
5. Don't wear at 39 what you wore at 29. You'll look silly.
6. Most importantly: stay in the world. You get old when you privilege the culture of your youth over that of the current youth. By that, I don't mean you ought to try and co-opt youth culture (see point 5), but don't cloister yourself in music from the 90s. Try and watch TV without feeling superior to it all. Enjoy the world. Care.