Monday, September 5, 2011

35 and 25 and 15 and 5...

Years ago I read Sandra Cisneros's short story, "Eleven," and experienced one of those moments of recognition, in which the story and my story seemed to converge.
"...when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one..."
This is exactly how I feel whenever I stop to consider my age and what it all means.  I am made of layers, or, in Whitman's words, "I contain multitudes."  

When I was a kid, I remember thinking that 35 was old.  

Now that I'm 35, I know better, but that kid in me is still there, still telling me that by now, by 35, I should be more settled, more stable.  I don't feel as if I have somehow "arrived," that I have peaked.  Nope.  If anything, I'm unsettled.  The five-year-old wants to play with paper and watch TV.  The fifteen-year-old wants to sleep in all the time.  The twenty-five-year-old can't stop checking Anthropologie for sales.   The thirty-five-year old is starting to worry about retirement plans.   They're all in there, so "35" just doesn't quite sum it up for me. 

While thinking about this the other day, I realized that some scrap therapy was definitely in order.  It was time to address the figurative layers with some literal ones: 
 (Full details may be found at Two Peas in a Bucket.) 
In my description of the layout on Two Peas in a Bucket, I mentioned that "I don't need to 'act my age' if I accept the fact that there is no script to follow." I need to hold on to that idea whenever I find myself thinking that by age #, I should be blah-blah-blah-ing.  I really don't want to be one of the those people who measures my life solely in terms of years, who obsesses about her age, or who, when asked about her age, plays coy or appears to be insulted.  If I have learned anything about age over the years, it is that age really is just a number, and mine isn't up yet.  


  1. Ooh--I love the story "Eleven"!!! Cisneros does such a good job of describing feelings. I love the part about pennies clanking around in a metal band-aid box. Sadly, when I attempted to teach the story to my HP ninth graders, they didn't like it. Probably my fault--not theirs. That was my first year of teaching. If I have the opportunity to teach the story again someday, I hope I'll do a better job with it.

    I love your layout--it's so colorful and fun! And I love that you used your own handwriting for the journaling.

  2. I love what your page reflects, I think we all feel that way. When I was younger I always thought that when I hit my mid-30's I would have it all figured out, that life would be easy, no big decisions left to make. Boy was I wrong, I am learning something new all the time.

  3. Well said. I just turned 35 a few weeks ago, and I can certainly relate to how your are feeling. Here's to 35!

  4. WOW!!!! I love this. I have never thought of my age in that way. And, oh I see it more and more. I love the look and feel of you layout but it is the journaling that takes my breath away! Thanks for sharing.

  5. your page is fantastic! and i've always felt the same way...i'm only 32 ;) but i don't feel old enough to have all this responsibility 1/2 the time, definitely still a kid inside :)

  6. Oh Jill, I love the story and your post. I can definitely relate. I feel like such a kid on the inside still, but at 20, I feel like I should also know what I want to do in life...sigh. It's a dilemma!

    I love your layout and love that you did some scrap therapy :) The colors are so fun!

  7. I'd forgotten about that story! Thank you for the reminder--it is so, so true! I love your story, your journaling, and your page. Beautiful!

  8. Your page is fantastic! Colourful and fun! Great post :)

  9. I've always loved that line from that story--so true!