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All those simple things are simply too complicated...

[a Clue]

The above photo is from a recent "baby's first birthday" session. I blogged a photo of his mother waiting for his arrival last spring.

What's the one thing that could make me dust off my blog software and type again after months of neglect and flat-out ignoring this place?

Gwen Stefani and No Doubt were on American Idol last night.

I noticed a few Tweets that mentioned Gwen seeming out of breath for most of the performance and quite honestly it did appear that way. Maybe it's because she stopped to do push-ups in the middle of "Just a Girl", or maybe it's because she spent all day chasing her small kids as well. But to me it just felt like that performance showed she was getting old in addition to staying young. And that's exactly how I feel most days.

As I wrote last night, Gwen has always been my litmus test on how old I actually feel and look. She's 3 years older than I am, and "Tragic Kingdom" was released the year I graduated from college. For some reason through the years I've always felt if Gwen acted - and looked - young, well then I could as well.

In the last 14 years post-OU graduation, I've felt two "ages". The first was my mid-20s as I left college behind, got married, and figured out how to survive as an adult that had to rely on her own checkbook balance to make ends meet. We didn't always do that so successfully, but we tried. The second was my early-30s as we transitioned from renters into home owners and finally got pregnant after years of trying. Our oldest son was born in 2004 shortly after I turned 31.

I remember when I turned 30 that a lot of my friends were totally freaked out by the concept themselves. But honestly, I really wasn't. I embraced the arrival of my 30s. I never really felt like "myself" in my early 20s. And anyone who dated me back then can tell you I wasn't. My mid-to-late 20s were hard physically and financially, and as the years of infertility wore on and on, also emotionally.

But by the time 30 rolled around, I just started to feel like "me". I was more patient. More in control of my own destiny. Dare I say, more...stable? When our first son was born I was honestly glad things had worked out the way they did. I felt I was going to be a much better parent to him in my early and mid 30s than I ever would have been in my late 20s. And I still do feel that way honestly.

Fast-forward to last night and seeing Gwen perform... Although Gwen looks fantastic and is better shape than I could ever dream of being at this stage of my life, especially after having had two kids herself, she also looks like a woman about to turn 40 in October. HD is not always kind and you could see the tell-tale signs of aging around her eyes and neck. Necks have always been the one place plastic surgeons and Botox haven't been able to hide the years on... Don't believe me? Go watch the "Sex and the City" movie in HD again. Or Shirley Manson in recent episodes of "Dollhouse" — she's no longer a "Stupid Girl" at 42.

I can't help but having that "When Harry Met Sally" feeling of, "...I'm going to be 40...someday..." Especially as I watch our college-age 'mother's helper' graduate this week and head off into the great beyond to start her life post-university. (If she's reading this, couldn't be more proud of you by the way!) In some ways it seems like just yesterday that I was putting on my cap and gown. In others, an eternity. I've lost so much sleep since then.

I guess I just don't have that same confidence and sense of self going down the path to 40 as I did heading towards 30. I don't feel "ready". Next fall at the exact same age my mom was sending me off to college, I'll be sending our oldest child off to kindergarten. My mom was so...old...to me when I went to college. How can I be that "age" when my kids are still little? I should be confident I guess now that I own my own business, live in my dream house, and my husband has the word "senior" at the start of his title at work. But I'm not.

At 30, you can still straddle the line of youth and adulthood and get away with it. I just don't buy "40 is the new 30" any more than I watch MTV for the music. Nothing makes you feel your age more than getting a friend-request on Facebook from someone you went to junior high with, and realizing you've also changed that much right along with them...

Of course, if you're as young as you feel — these days I'd be better off surfing AARP's website. So maybe I'm not the best expert opinion on the subject.

Oh I'm "just a girl", what's my destiny?
who turns 36½ this month, but who's counting

P.S. If you miss me around here, don't forget I can always be found at:

posted on 05.07.2009 @ 6:04 AM :: mail a comment  
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Original images and works ©2001-2007 to Todd and Robyn
Orlando and Tampa area newborn and maternity photographer

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