Wait, I'm HOW old?!
I recently spent a Friday evening in Colonial Williamsburg attending the launch party for an anthology of short stories to which I contributed. Williamsburg is the home of the College of William & Mary, and as I headed back to my hotel following the soiree, I noticed packs of college kids roaming the streets in search of festivity and libations.
Seeing this, I felt a familiar pang of nostalgia. Where were the good parties tonight? I wondered. What were the best bars around here? And which fraternities had the cutest boys?
But then I remembered that it was 10 p.m. and I was tired. And that an entire night of blessed solitude awaited me back at my hotel room, away from my husband and toddler. And that I had a husband and toddler.
I considered the fact that I can no longer down more than two drinks on any given night without suffering a hangover for the next two days; and how going to bed past midnight will invariably throw off my sleep cycle for a week.
I thought about how my knees creak nowadays whenever I crouch down or climb stairs; and the way my right one often hurts in advance of low-pressure systems, like an old man who can predict the weather based solely on his aching joints. Gonna be a big one, Maude - I can feel it!
And with a sudden start, I realized that 1997 was not just "a few years ago," that my college years were in the distant past, and that at almost 38 years old, I was the same age my parents were when they used to spend Friday nights at home watching Dallas.
Admittedly, this was all a bit disconcerting. In my mind, I was clearly still 22.
But then I thought back to another night a few months earlier when I'd gone bar hopping with some girlfriends in the college town of Blacksburg following a Virginia Tech football game. I had donned skinny jeans and a sparkly black top and headed out for a sexy, exciting, self-validating night on the town. I'd looked good -- and years younger than my actual age. And yet the experience was neither sexy nor exciting nor particularly self-validating.
Maybe it was the wedding ring, or my crow's feet, or the fact that I lacked swagger in my three-inch heels. Regardless, the cute frat boys didn't spare me a passing glance... which was fine since I did, after all, have a family waiting for me at home. In fact, I'd been rather bored that night as I stood around nursing my two beers and a club soda while observing the various mating rituals of the single and horny.
And then it hit me: My college years are in the distant past. You couldn't pay me to relive my twenties. I like spending quiet nights at home. I am right where I'm supposed to be.
So, why does it always shock the hell out of me whenever I realize exactly how old I am?
Kristin Alexander is a writer,
blogger, and self-proclaimed city girl now living a decidedly more rural life
in eastern West Virginia - or as she likes to spin it, the far western suburbs
of D.C. The working mom of a sassy "threenager," her blog What She
Said offers up an irreverent blend of family, life, and humor - because if she
didn't laugh, she'd cry. Talk to her on Twitter (@SaidKristin) or Facebook, where she's made
it her life's mission to outsmart Mark Zuckerberg and his mysterious EdgeRank