Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Time Flies . . .

This is going to have to be short. Tiny dictator seems to be going through some sort of growth spurt (Yes, rumors are true, I've become one of those photo happy mamas. If you would like to see her in the awesome x-mas outfit that our own Lisa Pulliam sent her, just click here, and if you missed the November RWA meeting, here she is in her going-to-RWA meeting outfit), and I've got back to back meetings in preparation for teaching next semester. AND . . . it's my 29th birthday.

Ye gods! When did I get to be 29? My mother and I were talking last night, and she said that it took her a very long time to realize that she wasn't 38 anymore. In her mind, she'll always be 38 and the mother of three school age children. This is the age she seems to identify with most, and her writing tends to reflect that. In my mind, I think I'll always be around 18--researching colleges, starting college, being away from home for the first time, falling in love with the totality only an 18 year old can demonstrate. In fact, if I'm honest, sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm not the babysitter or the nanny anymore--this is MY kid. I'm the MAMA. And even though it may feel like I'm a teen mother, I'm actually on the old side for having my first kid.

When did I get old? I think my "mental age" drives me to write YA. It's reflected in my voice, and it's why I struggle with writing characters in their 30's and 40's (I seem to have no problem with older people, surprisingly). I suppose I'd better get better at that in hurry--seeing as how I'm going to be in my 30's next year. Jesus Jumping Jellybeans, I never pictured 30. I was always thinking ahead to the next stage of my life--high school, then college, then graduate school, then work, then . . . I'm still not sure how to define this next stage in my life. I've got a year left in my twenties. What do I want to accomplish by 30? What's realistic?

A few years ago, I thought I'd be a failure with a capital F if I wasn't published by 30. But, that doesn't sting the way I thought it would. I know the drive will come back--I can feel it creeping in with every night of better sleep. (And yes, Eli, I mailed that request off!) However, right now, my main focus seems to be less on major life goals and more on enjoying each day. For someone who's spent her whole life living in the future, that's a major accomplishment. Living in the moment by 30? Check, check, check.

So, I'm curious. What age are YOU mentally? 18? 25? 40? 60? Is this reflected in your writing? Has this changed over time? And, where were you in your writing journey at 29? Was 30 a turning point for you or did that come later (or earlier)?

10 comments:

Danita Cahill said...

Interesting subject, Wavy. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Twenty nine. Do you know how many women would happily turn back the clock to be 29 again? It's a great age. I was in the Vigin Islands when I turned 29. A 50ish woman motel owner in St. Croix told me not to despair, women reach their peak of beauty at 30 or 31.

How old do I feel? For years I felt 24, then it creeped up to about 26. I think now I may feel more like 28 or so. I seem to mentally age two years for every 10 real years. Can't explain it. My grandma's theory on that is a person feels the age they were when their life was in order and they felt happy with themselves. Grandma is 86. I believe she feels 35. I wouldn't call my grandma hip by any means, but she is a young 86.

As far as writing age, my hero and heroines tend to be anywhere from late 20s to mid-30s. About the age I feel, I guess.

Hope you have a great birthday, Wavy! Sounds like a busy one. Be sure and take some time to enjoy yourself too.

Pigeon speaker ha! said...

Of course I meant Virgin Islands, not Vigin. Ha! Vigin is pigeon for Virgin.

Danita

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Yay!!! You got it off. Now keep us posted. I feel good things in the air for you.

Happy Birthday! Ah, 29. I had my second Gremlin when I was 29.5. I quit working to stay home, went through about six months of OH MY GOD...what the hell did I just do?! Then turned 30. And that's when I started writing. Just after my 30th bday. So you're way ahead of the curve in my book.

Hm...interesting questions you pose this morning. I'd say I feel 27. Old enough to know what's what, but not old enough to "feel" old, you know? I turned 35 last month (no snickering), and it hit me - I now primarily write about heroines who are YOUNGER than me. When did that happen? Through my whole writing career (all of five years) I've been the same age (roughly) as my characters. Not so much anymore.

I had a rough time with 35 this year (oddly 30 didn't bug me at all), primarily because I thought I'd be published by this (old) age. LOL. The girls weekend away for my birthday helped - as did the massage, the shopping and, oh yeah, all the wine. But after I got home I realized, you know what? Your numerical age doesn't have anything to do with how you feel. You'll always be as young as you are in your mind, so to me, I'm still 27. And the fact I didn't sell before my 35th? No biggie. I have a long career ahead of me. It'll happen when it happens.

Hope you have a fabulous day, Wavy. And your girl is a cutie!

Paty Jager said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WAVY!!!!!

Okay, I will hit the half century mark next year, but I feel 30 and actually this- right now- is the best time in my life! My kids are grown, it's just me and the dh and we're loving every minute of it. In fact we were just discussing the age thing this weekend and both of us feel only about 30. We have wisdom and still have bodies that can do just about anything we want to do.

At the ripe old age of 29, I had a 8,7, and 5 year old and had just started my adventure of freelancing for the newspapers. I hadn't even started writing novels yet!

Interesting blog!

Karen Duvall said...

Oh, Wavy, what an angel you have! Little Tavy is so sweet. You're a very lucky mama. 8^)

Age. Very interesting subject. And happy birthday, by the way. My oldest daughter will be 29 next month.

I just turned 50 in July and wow, that was really weird. I think back to a time when I imagined what it would be like to be 50 and I actually pictured myself as fat, grey-haired, stooped and cranky, like an old grandma. Now that I'm here, I'm happy to report that didn't happen. Phew.

Age is just a number. I think I may feel like I'm 30, or thereabouts. That's when I feel like I really started living my life. My twenties were confusing and mostly unhappy, though I gave birth to all my kids during that decade. But life was scary and mean and I didn't understand why I was being picked on. I turned 30 and got a divorce and, well, life just magically became a very beautiful thing and has been ever since.

I'm older and wiser, that's true. I'm told I don't look 50, and that's nice but I'm not sure anyone really knows what "50" looks like. But middle age is a time when you can't afford to let your body go. You have to work that much harder to stay fit and healthy. The healthy part seems pretty easy, but the fit part is a whole nuther matter. The muscles tend to get flabby if not engaged in strenuous exercise a few days a week. I see a personal trainer once a week, then I'm on my own. She tells me I'm in great shape for my age (I can do thirty lunges with a hundred pounds of free weights on my shoulders without much effort and my trainer loves to pile on more every week to see how I'll do. She's a sadist.).

I do have to say that menopause is NO fun. Remember puberty? That first day of menses and the excitement of becoming a woman? Well, menopause is the exact opposite of that and it takes years, YEARS, to get through. The hot flashes alone are enough to make a woman homicidal. I can truly relate now to what a werewolf must go through every time there's a full moon. The "change" is a painful experience for both body and mind.

So, Wavy, enjoy your birthday and look forward to the big three-oh. The decades to come are going to be a blast! 8^)

wavybrains said...

Thanks for all the fascinating replies, Ladies!

DH and I are going out to dinner with Tavy tonight :) Wish us luck!

Paty, you and Karen both make 50 look amazing! Neither of you look that old at all, and you both are in your prime as writers :)

Alice Sharpe said...

Interesting question.

First of all, Happy Birthday, your daughter is adorable.

How old do I feel? Well, I turned 58 last month. Do I feel 58? I guess so. What's an age? I feel like me. I feel like I have always felt. I felt like this when I was eighteen, when I was twenty-seven, when I was forty. Like me, getting older, having experiences, good things happening, bad things. I don't know. I don't feel thirty or forty or fifty. I would hate to think of myself as stopping in any way. Aging is a wonderful thing. Sure, the body aspect and health thing can suck big time, but you didn't ask how old I look or want to look, but how old I feel.

And, really, I just feel like me!

80's Rocker Chick said...

Happy Birthday Wavy! 29 is still very young, enjoy it!!

Mentally, I feel 20. I just can't seem to get past it yet, though I'll be 40 in May. When I think about being 39 it just freaks me out because I haven't matured much since 20.

For me, 20 was great because I was on my own and happy. I'd just met my dh to be and all was great with the world. I'd come from a hard background and was on my way to a different, better life at 20.

I think this mentality is reflected in my writing and in the whole of my life. Scary!

My body, however, is no where near 20. LOL

When I was your age I was working with my dh writing for our newspapers and I had 3 out of my 5 kids by then.

My writing hasn't changed or matured yet. I enjoy reading and writing young adult fiction because I can still relate to the sucky teen years. I have a lot of fun with my kids and their friends because we're not very different in the way we think about a lot of things. Yes, this does worry me a bit, sometimes. LOL

Getting older has its benefits, but I can't think of any right now. :)

Enjoy going out tonight with dh and the tiny dictator. She's adorable! Have a great BIRTHDAY!!!

p.s. The nickname thing is fun!

Genene said...

Happy birthday, Wavy! I have to admit I chuckled most of the way through your post. It reminded of my older son (who turned 30 in February) telling me how old he felt. I looked at him and said something to the effect of "Yeah, you're reeeeeeeally old. When did you get older than me?" He smiled at me -- point taken.

I'm not sure how old I feel. I went through my 30 crisis at 27; my 40 crisis at 35; and didn't have a crisis at 50 because I was getting healthier. However, I did hit a "crisis" earlier this year (at 54) when I saw photos of me. Ack! Where did that saggy double chin and all those wrinkles come from? (Yep, the photographer was just too good and the photos too realistic. I've since adjusted my attitude and got some great shots. Thanks, Danita, for your patience!)

But I digress. Like Alice said, you didn't ask how old I look, but how old I feel. I don't know. The heroines in my stories tend to be 30ish to 40ish, so maybe that's a clue.

But I don't FEEL old, as life for me since 50 has been a shedding of a lot of old garbage and incredible growth for me spiritually, emotionally and physically. A half century sounds old, but when I figure I have another three or four decades to live -- almost half of my life -- with the freedom to do whatever I want to ... WOW! Life just keeps getting better and better!

Coastal Survivor said...

Children! You're all children! I am staring at 60 in a few months, and I still can't wrap my head around it!

Somewhere inside this middle-aged body is the real me - the one that hasn't hit 30 yet. But I know that's only an illusion *sigh*. Still, my brain doesn't know from 60, and I hope to stay that way for a while longer.

As for the writing, I held my very first published story in my hands (a Star Trek anthology) a couple days before I turned 50. I came to writing late, after about 15 years of being "the wife" but not "the writer." The good part was that it shortened the learning curve a lot. The bad part was that I got a really late start.

Don't fret over whether you're published by 30 - it will happen when it happens. All you can control is what you do to try to get there.

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Chris York