Welcome To Your Mid-30s, Where It's Cool AF To Be Uncool

by Liz Henry
Originally Published: 
Liz Henry

I’m about to turn 35, and I’m going to share with you my birthday wish list so we can all laugh together about how cool AF it is to be uncool in your mid-30s.

This is the birthday wish list I gave my husband and daughter:

+ candles (I even emailed a coupon to my husband) + two pairs of moccasins + slipper booties + a gift card for books + a gift card for Lane Bryant for new undies + something pop culture-ish I would enjoy like, I literally said, “I dunno a pin or a patch or a card that says words I can put in a frame.”

I want to point out that, yes, I do want all of these things, but when I present a list it’s more like a multiple choice selection — the husband and child get to pick one or two things and gift them to me. Please also note that my husband and I are going away to a “cabin in the woods” with a fireplace where reservations for dinner are a requirement.

After saying this list to an actual person instead of just thinking about it in my head, and then writing about the cabin with a fireplace, it’s a safe bet for you to assume that I’m now typing the remainder of this story from the grave. Because I have, in fact, died of boredom from my own life.

As if the wish list and the Thomas Kinkade weekend weren’t enough, I also shave my chin, the undies I plan to buy can best be described as granny, I have a whole foot fungi thing going on, and almost every night I think I’m going to die before I wake.

What fun it is to be 30-something!

No seriously, this is fun as shit. Because now I actually have a socially acceptable way to be uncool so, no, I am not dead. I’ve always worn granny panties; books are perpetually my jam; if getting comfy AF were an Olympic sport, I’d medal every time; and hoarding candles are the new cats. Honestly, I just added the card with words and pin combo so I’d appear 35 instead of 82 like I’m a rearview mirror — objects may seem older than they appear.

A few weeks back I went to a bar with dancing and some guy on staff called me “ma’am.” Rather than stew with my back against the wall, I took my old ass out onto the dance floor and mothered the youngs. Without irony — and feeling as though I was given carte blanche to be an old judgmental crank — I literally started a sentence with “in my day” and then ended it with “my hands weren’t on the floor with my ass in the air.”

Which I said to my friends. Let’s not get it twisted; I show the hate in my heart only to those who like me despite myself.

I wasn’t so much annoyed that my inner whorish-prude was being made to feel uncomfortable, but more so by the selfishness of the two people taking up that much room in such a small space.

And to really drive home that I should have never left the house, the humping was happening during Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls).”

But I worked through it, and had a great time. Which is the fun part of being in your mid-30s, I don’t have to impress anyone. I have a pair of sweatpants with a hole in the crotch calling me home and a man who knows they exist and loves me anyway. And I have a child who is old enough — when I’m neck deep in laze — who brings me things. Yes, I have to look past her general disdain at my existence, but I consider it a welfare check (the kid will not leave her room, ever).

Back in the day, I would have been mortified if someone knew I actually loved granny panties, and while the Fruit of the Loom aisle is still one of the saddest places on Earth, I find being uncomfortable to be a far worse injustice than buying an eight-pack. At this point, I’d fly my granny panties from a flagpole in front of my house and let Google Earth capture me standing next to them with two thumbs up. I’d even jump out of an airplane and parachute with a pair if I wasn’t afraid of heights, not of what other people think.

The greatest lie ever told is that granny panties lead to fuckless spinsterhood, and you can carve that into my tombstone.

I also consider my crotch-hole sweatpants as an inspiration: There’s no telling where I’d be in life if I was as dedicated to anything as much as I am to drafty sweatpants. Some people have “carpe diem,” I have cotton.

So bring it on 35 and 40, and if I’m lucky, more decades. For Christmas this year I would like laser hair removal, and I can’t wait.


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