January 17, 2013

sex in the curious city

This week we watched Season 2, Episode 17: Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women. Charlotte lies about her age to date a younger guy, but ends up paying for it when he gives her an STD. Samantha's assistant usurps her PR throne by independently throwing an A-list party, but it gets out of hand and flops. Carrie bumps into Big and his beautiful young girlfriend, but...no conclusion yet.

Britney Spears said it best, "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman." Haha. So as girlmen, late 20 year olds heading into their 30s, we thought it would be fun to reflect back and take a glance forward.

SATC portrays the 20-something year old as an agressive, irresponsible pain in the ass. My take is that 20 year olds have all this ambition and fearlessness but don't know how to wield it. I would say that straight out of college I was ambitious and dreamed big. But instead of earnestly pursuing some of those ambitions, I let life happen. I was navigated by circumstance, whether it be my responsibility to my family or loyalty to certain constructs. Don't mistaken me for weeping over this as if my life is a tragedy because you know it's not. But does this mean I'm content then? "Content" is such a scorned word. Have you watched Revolutionary Road? Let's not put me in that category just yet.

The point is I do feel a little unaccountable to myself. So as I approach my 30s, forgive me for quoting yet another pop star and taking this opportunity to be dramatic, but in the words of Leehom Wang, I am going to "火力全開" or release all of my firepower. This means BOOM.

In my early 20s, I would say I was extremely stupid. When I look at college students, that's what I almost always think. So stupid. I don't think there's a more eloquent way to put it. You make stupid decision, you say and do stupid things, and most of all, you prioritize stupid things. It just seems to be a symptom of that age. I think a lot of that stupidity stems from being in a transitional stage and not quite knowing who you are. In my case, I dated the wrong guys, I made the wrong career moves, and I prioritized a lot of fleeting values and people. It's not that I was insecure (I was that too), but it's more that I was trying to figure out who I was... but who I was kept changing because of new experiences. Though it seems contradictory, I thought I did know who I was. "I am a person who likes A, B, and C." I felt sure about these things. They defined me.

Some women never become.. unstupid. All is not lost though. Many do grow out of that stupidity, or learn from their stupidity. I like to think that I am one of that latter group of women, although I am still prone to my Extra Stupid moments. Now that I've outgrown most of my stupidity, as a late-20 something year old, I am not as much in flux as a person. Also, I'm not as worried about "who am I?" Instead of figuring it out, I am more accepting about who I am. Yes, I do like to sit home and knit like a grandma. But, instead of worrying about judgment and if it's "the best thing for me," I am more accepting of myself and of change. I finally realized along the way that I didn't have to make statements about myself and stick to them for the rest of my life. I became more rounded out in my personality - less extreme in my beliefs about myself and the world.

Looking forward, I visualize that elegant, collected 30-year old me that I imagined as a child. I don't know if I'll ever get there, but I am okay with changing my expectations of myself. What I do want for my 30s is this: new experiences and aging with grace. Since the goal in my early 20s was to have stability, I do have a steady income, pay a mortgage, and am even on the eve of getting married. As a result of this, my experiences are not as varied as they were when I was in my early 20s. New experiences bring growth and I want to expand my mind. I know that there are things that physically happen when you hit your 30s. Your skin loses elasticity. Your metabolism slows down. Your hair thins. You wrinkle. Though these things are inevitable, I want to age gracefully, without the aid of surgery!

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. - Mark Twain

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