Hi. It's my birthday. I've (through no fault of my own) turned 37. For the last 22-ish years, anytime I've heard the number 37, my instant thought has been:

"Thirty-seven!? Try not to suck any dick on the way through the parking lot."

Annnnd about 2 of my regular 11 readers just laughed.

For the rest of you, may I present: Clerks.

And since it's been over two decades since I first saw this and still laughed about it today, it's obvious that 37 isn't suddenly going to bring on a new wave of adult level maturity, and that's fine by me. But despite still having the same comedic sensibilities as I did in my teenage years, there's no denying that I'm barreling towards* being middle-aged.

I wish I had some wise and deep words about aging with grace and embracing the wrinkles and the grays with dignity and a grateful heart and being fulfilled by my years of experience. Hashtag blessed.

But I don't.

This shit sucks.

My knees sound like my bones are auditioning to become the newest Rice Krispie elf. (It would be Snap, Crackle, Pop, and Oh Fuck, This Can't Be Arthritis Already.) My back hurts all the time for mysterious, nonexistent reasons. And if it hurts this bad now, how in the ever-loving-pass-the-Motrin am I even going to be able to function with a 57-year-old spine, never mind the 87-year-old model. I was looking through old texts and some variation of "how is your back holding up?" is the most commonly asked question in my marriage.

The fact that I've got a collection of wiry gray hairs sprouting from both head and chin as if my face suddenly needed some reinforced security measures, and the slow realization that the body I hated so much in my 20's was the best body I'd have (EVER) is a double dose of well ain't that a kick in the pants. There's no hefting the sag back into its original upright position. There's no ironing anything smooth again. I *knew* I should have started that eye cream a good five years ago, and now I'm going to need to order the extra heavy-duty kind by the barrelful...thank goodness I'm so old and boring that I can just tack it onto my monthly Amazon Subscribe & Save.

Listen, I'm trying to hurry up and love this late 30's edition self because I'm old enough to have the wisdom to tell that this shit isn't going to get any prettier in my 40's, but the struggle is real.

Well...the struggle *would* be real if I could remember and focus on what I'm supposed to be doing for more than...Oooo! Is that coffee and memes over there? BRB.

I look at other people who are 37 and I'm equal parts horrified and disbelieving and impressed. "She's 37? The same age as me? DO I LOOK THAT OLD? OHEMGEE SHE HAS A REAL JOB AND PROBABLY UNDERSTANDS HOW MUTUAL FUNDS WORK. Why am I not that adult-y?! Did I miss some kind of seminar on how to be good at this stuff?"

I'm torn between asking strangers on the street to guess my age, and let's just keep that answer to ourselves, thanks.

And that's where I am after my 37 years of experience...thinking there is no possible way that I can be this old, yet feeling like there is no possible way that I'm still this young.

So...those amongst us who are older and wiser and/or those who have a strong adult game...tell me:

Is there an age when I'll start to feel like a fully functional adult? Tell me true, is it too late for the eye cream? Could you look at this pain scale and indicate how your back currently feels?

Is there a right time to stop shopping in the juniors section? Am I still cool or am I that lady with all the tattoos who used to be cool? Let's hear your wisdom and tales of yonder years.


* Or is 37 ALREADY middle-aged?! Damnit! I need some kind of chart and obviously a mutual fund and a better retirement plan and for people to stop lumping me in with those baby-faced Millennials. What happened to that Oregon Trail Generation idea? I was all about that one...