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A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to grab dinner at Gusto in the West Village. There were three young women sitting next to us and they were chatting about their age. One woman said, “I used to think seventeen was old. But now I realize it’s the perfect age, not too young and not too old.” I put my fork down and immediately had to take a swig of sauvignon blanc. And then another big gulp. These girls weren’t even half my age. Wow. That’s painful.

I’ve never been one to age gracefully. At nineteen, I was convinced that I was getting wrinkles. At twenty-two, I felt sorry for one of my roommates because he was so much older than I was. At the time, he was the debilitating age of twenty-six. As I entered my late twenties, I dreaded the possibility of being single and turning thirty. Of course, I was completely unattached as I waved goodbye to my twenties. Then earlier this summer, I entered my late thirties and forty is now calling out to me like an evil siren.

We all know aging is the best case scenario. It’s the fortunate ones who get to discover the grey hairs, the wrinkles and the sun damage. But still, I just got my invitation to my fifteen year Tulane college reunion. Are they serious? Wasn’t it just a few years ago that I was peeing with my girlfriends behind the bank at Rendon Inn so we didn’t have to wait in the bathroom line or playing pop-a-shot at Fat Harry’s or dancing and mugging at A.T.’s? Turns out, Rendon Inn is no longer the night’s destination for college kids and A.T.’s (along with those cheese fries) is gone. Sigh.

At least, my husband and my two daughters still think I’m young, fun and cool. And to be honest, I wouldn’t want to be seventeen again. Even if I could eat at restaurants like Gusto on my parent’s credit card. I had too much anxiety back then. But I would definitely take just one more New Orleans night with my college girlfriends at Rendon Inn and A.T.’s. I can still taste the cheese fries.

5 Responses to the perfect age

  • Valerie says:

    As one who joined you behind the Rendon Inn several times, and one who also hit the down side of my 30s this summer, I can completely relate. Trying living in a college town like I do, where each fall the students come back and they are all 18, skinny and carefree, and each year I just get older and older. What keeps me going is remembering that when I was in college I dreamed of having a challenging and rewarding career, a loving husband and a couple of kids, and being financially independent. Now I have all of that, which as you note, is a lot better than being young again. If only I could convince my two boys that I am young, fun and cool the way you convinced your girls!

  • Diana says:

    The new reporters are all young and pretty with dreams of anchoring the Today Show by the time they are old (30) Meanwhile I just bought new make-up that won't settle into my "fine lines"…
    I wouldn't want to be that young again, but sometimes I wish the me now could give the me then some advice!

  • francine Kasen says:

    Last week I made a double play and hit a triple on my softball team of 22 years. My new mantra is, "fifty-five and still alive!!!"

  • Margo says:

    Happy to report that I survived my 15 year college reunion (May 2007) with flying colors – – tons of fun. The only thing I would have done differently was stay in the 3 star hotel in town instead of trying to replicate our dorm days – – a lumpy twin bed isn’t any more fun at 36 than it was at 19. Aside from that, wow, I blinked and 15 years went by. I guess that mean’s I’m “officially” an adult.

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kelcey kintner