Some girls grow up wanting to be women. They dream of embodying the elegance of female role models, the power of women executives, the nurturing spirit of mothers. This was never me. A clumsy tomboy with a penchant for adventures, I always relished in my girl card and its accompanying sense of freedom. I thrived on my chaotic travels, my childlike curiosity, my denim shorts and makeup-free M.O. “You look eighteen” was always the pinnacle of compliments, and not because it meant that my skin was still void of wrinkles (it’s not), but because it signified I had retained the youthful spirit that made me me.
A parting letter to my roaring twenties, conceived on the eve of my 30th birthday (with a glass of tequila in tow).
Oh my twenties
You were a glorious ride
A flash of YOLO moments
And denim shorts that exposed my behind
Of nights that started in a sober air
And ended up with man-tousled hair
“Would you ever date a Republican?” I was recently asked. It struck me as a funny question. The way the person said “Republican” sounded like she had just asked me if I would ever bear-hug a cactus.
This election has seemingly turned Republicans and Democrats into warring clans. It’s like we’re the Jets and the Sharks (obviously the Democrats are the Sharks) except this Godforsaken election has rendered all of us too exhausted to sing. The words “Republican” and “Liberal” have become synonymous with every other negative word in the English language. We have never been more divided, but it’s not politics that we are divided on. This election has so little to do with political theory and so much to do with who we are as people.
At the risk of subjecting myself to a smidgen of judgement (or a mandatory psych screening), I am fairly certain that there are at least two people residing inside of me. One is a boring snoozeball who experiences sexual awakenings at the sight of Tribeca lofts and has long selected the prep schools for her unborn children. The second one is a wannabe vagabond-slash-activist who dreams of living out of a backpack in Sihanoukville for $6 a day forever. Archenemies to the core, they appear incapable of agreeing on anything in my life, regularly giving me mixed directions and partaking in verbal disputes that would put the upcoming Presidential debates to shame. Since the yearlong punishment known as 29 Going On 30 commenced nine months ago, the two have been having a particularly hard time getting along and agreeing what this milestone means in the course my life. And so I have decided to give my unaligned yin and yang the breathing space they need to air out the emotions on this public platform.
Over the holiday weekend, my 18-year-old niece (think my doppelganger with a brain) and I decided to drive up to the Catskills for a long-overdue one-on-one with nature. Trudging along one of the trails, accompanied by nothing more than fresh air and a palpable sense of Fourth of July spirit, we started talking about the meaning of personal independence.
“You shouldn’t need to be with somebody to be happy,” I preached, attempting to wipe out any remnants of rite-of-passage Russian family brainwashing that encourages one to settle down at earliest convenience.
“Yes, but it’s so nice to be with someone.” was the response of a teen who had recently gotten her first taste of true romance. I had been there myself and didn’t want to argue, and so I didn’t.
I recently renamed my group chat The Stepford Diaries. Then I almost exited it altogether. Call me immature, but the prospect of listening to endless debates on the most lightweight stroller on the Bugaboo market made me want to inflict physical pain upon myself in a not-so-lightweight way.
Please keep in mind that, a mere decade ago, the members of my group chat were passing around a tiered, backless Alice & Olivia dress to slut it up at 1 Oak. And negotiating their way into Bungalow 8 to do illegal narcotics next to B-list celebrities. And driving to the Hamptons for one night to cuddle in random beds with Veuve Clicquot magnums (and strangers.) Today, these same women are passing around quinoa puree recipes and cuddling in bed with their multi-member households.