Old at Heart

“You’re so mature.”  “You’re old at heart.”  “You’re only 18 [21, 23, insert current age]?!  You seem so much older.”  Between my mom, other family members, friends in college, & coworkers, these are all phrases I’ve heard quite consistently throughout my life.  The vast majority of the time they’ve been meant as compliments (I think), though as a teenager naturally I found such comments a bit upsetting because they seemed to highlight exactly how uncool I really was.  However, I also realized that the very things that made me uncool at the time were the exact things that would make me successful later in life.  (I suppose the ability to realize that really was a mark of maturity.)  Once I was in college such comments bothered me a bit less because once you’re out of high school being cool stops having so many rewards while being intelligent, well-read, & capable of carrying on conversations of actual depth become much more important characteristics, all of which I was (& am) proud to possess.

In any case, of late I’ve noticed a bevy of articles on Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog, & other such websites about the reality of adulthood after college, your early 20’s vs your late 20’s, & signs you’re nearing 30, etc, etc.  A former coworker of mine posted such an article on her Facebook yesterday: http://viralpoop.com/30-signs-youre-almost-30/.  Reading this article made me recall all the times I’ve been called “old at heart” & the mixed feelings these types of comments always create.  As I read the list of “30 signs you’re almost 30” I realized once again how many of these things are true for me & more importantly how many of them have been true for me for YEARS now.  Perhaps some of it has to do with being an introvert who has always preferred casual nights at home with friends to wild nights at loud bars & crowded clubs.  Or perhaps I really am just “old at heart.”


Whatever the reason for this, I’ve decided to embrace it.  Being old at heart might mean I get invited to fewer bars, clubs, & parties, but it also means I have a solid group of close friends whom I can truly count on in good times & bad.  Being old at heart might make me boring in some people’s eyes, but it also means I have a good career & am financially savvy.  I might be out of touch with popular music, but if you want to veer off the beaten path, I’ll be happy to introduce you to a long list of lesser-known but extremely talented musicians & bands.  I might own the world’s oldest I-pod (I refuse to upgrade until it breaks because I see no need to replace something that works just fine), but I also own dozens of actual CDs which I am always happy to lend to friends so they can discover awesome new music.  Being old at heart means I am ghostly pale in the winter & have tan-lines in the summer, but my risk for melanoma will be a lot lower than all of my cohorts who zap their skin in tanning beds or forego sunscreen on a regular basis (not to mention when I do hit 30 I’ll probably look a lot younger than they will).  I will never wear skinny jeans & cannot stand almost every major fashion trend of the past few years, but the clothes I do buy are classics that will stand the test of time & can be worn for years to come.  (And if boot-cut/flare jeans aren’t classics, then I truly do not give a damn.  I’m rocking them anyway.)

tanning bed

I’ve often heard it said in life that the things we criticize about ourselves the most or  the things we feel most self-conscious about are exactly the things that make us fascinating, unique, & beautiful.  For example a friend of mine once told me that he had always felt self-conscious about his nose.  The ironic thing was that I had always thought his nose was exactly what made him uniquely attractive.  As another example, I’ve always been self-conscious about the fact that I’m eternally clumsy, always tripping or dropping something.  However, my coworkers affectionately call me “Clumsylina” & tell me how endearing my clumsiness is.  I also feel self-conscious about my hair at times.  I hate styling it (or having anyone else style it) because sitting in front of a mirror fretting over my appearance has always struck me as an absurd waste of time.  Therefore I sometimes worry that my hair looks unkempt & fear that I give off an “I don’t care” vibe when really I just hate fooling with it.  However, the reality is that I get more compliments on my hair than on anything else appearance-related.  (Apparently having naturally wavy/curly-ish hair is a blessing that I’m only just starting to appreciate.)  If you want an example in the media, consider Jess on Fox’s New Girl.  One of the most common descriptors for her character is quirky, thanks in part to her unique outfits, her naiveté, & her propensity for turning anything & everything into a song, & at times she is quite self-conscious about these things.  Yet it is exactly these quirks that Nick can’t resist & that attract audiences across the world to watch the show.

beauty in faults

The point of all this is that it’s often our quirks, even our supposed “faults,” that define us, that make us unique & exciting, & that attract others to us.  Perhaps being old at heart is my greatest quirk & instead of being embarrassed by it, it’s time to embrace it & realize that being old at heart doesn’t have to mean I’m boring.  It’s just who I am, & I like myself this way.  Therefore I am going to embrace it, & the next time someone calls me “old at heart” I will smile & thank them for the compliment with no second thoughts.  And if I do have second thoughts, I’ll remember this blog post & why I wrote it.

How about you?  What quirks about yourself make you self-conscious but make others love you?  Has anyone ever called you old at heart?  If so, how did it make you feel?

I’m a Cheap Date

I wrote this post last night & have been waffling back & forth about posting it because I am afraid it will sound too provocative when that isn’t how I mean it at all.  But at the encouragement of a friend I am posting it anyway.  I’ll admit I gave it a provocative title to attract more readers, & also because I frankly couldn’t think of a better title.  I think I’m a decent writer but creating titles is a talent I seriously don’t have.  Anyway, cheers!


I watched a movie tonight that made me realize something about myself: I’m a cheap date. Now let me expound on that a bit in case you think I mean this in the typical sense of the phrase. The movie was called Nice Guys Sleep Alone & focused on two 30ish adults in Louisville, KY who attempt to start dating each other but quickly realize that they are not interested in dating in the traditional sense of the word. In other words they want to be so much more than just friends & yet they want to be able to spend time together in ways that feel natural & not forced, much the way that friends do. As you might guess from the title of the film, the main male character has always been a “nice guy” & it’s often landed him in the infamous “friend zone.” (For the life of me I’ll never understand why so many girls go after bad guys & ignore nice ones, but that is a whole other blog post right there.) Because he is truly interested in a serious relationship with this woman he decides to take a friend’s advice & not be such a “nice guy” this time, thinking this will actually make her more attracted to him. So he shows up late for their first date, doesn’t bring flowers, & takes her to a local burger joint instead of a fancy restaurant. Not too surprisingly this sends the wrong message to the woman but because this is a movie naturally they eventually work things out.

What this movie made me realize is that I actually LIKE the idea of more “casual” dates in which you go out to “cheap” restaurants (if you know me, you know I’d much prefer a good burger to an expensive steak, sushi, or anything “fancy” ANY day of the week), wear regular clothes, & generally hang out the way friends do. These are the kind of dates my husband & I always had. (I suppose part of the reason for this is that we started dating when we were much too young to be able to go to expensive/fancy restaurants but that’s beside the point.) These are still the kind of “dates” we have if you can call them that when you’re married. And I love it. I hate going to fancy restaurants where you have to dress up (it’s not that I hate dressing up; it’s that I hate feeling like I HAVE to dress up just to gain admission somewhere). It just feels so forced, & I can never really relax when I have to wonder which fork I’m supposed to be using or if I’m even going to know what half the stuff on the menu actually is.  (If that makes me unsophisticated, I’ll be the first to admit it.)  I’d rather check out local hole-in-the-wall restaurants where I can wear jeans & a t-shirt & no make-up & not feel underdressed at all. I think the reason for this is that I crave intimacy in my relationships. Intimacy requires comfort & who can be comfortable in a black-tie setting? And I don’t just mean intimacy in the physical sense but in the emotional sense. Even in my friendships I don’t want to just talk about fashion, food, or other “superficial” things. I want to have deep conversations about the meaning of life, philosophy, religion, etc. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind less serious conversations but I crave the deeper kind most of all. This is why I will ALWAYS be more comfortable in one-on-one or small group settings than in large groups or big parties. I’ve strayed from the point a bit but what I’m trying to say is that I feel people are the most honest, genuine, & natural versions of themselves in casual settings. Additionally it implies a greater level of trust & comfort if you don’t feel the need to go on all the fancy traditional dates just to get to know someone.

[*Disclaimer: I’m not saying it’s wrong to go to expensive/fancy restaurants or to dress up for dates. I’m just saying this shouldn’t have to be the expectation for everyone & doing something “less” shouldn’t be immediately deemed suspect.]

I think part of the reason modern society is so confused about relationships is that we focus so much on dating when really we should be focusing on building relationships based on friendship & companionship. It’s only natural to me that romance can blossom from such relationships. I really can’t imagine it any other way. I’ve always said any man with $20 can buy me flowers. And any man with a couple hundred dollars can buy me nice jewelry. Those things really take very little thought or effort at all. The most valuable gift any of us can give another is time because it’s the one thing we can never get back.

So, ladies & gentleman, if you want to show someone you care, spend time with them. Invest in their life. Get to know them. If a person is worth knowing they won’t insist you spend $100 on dinner every time you want to hang out. At least that’s what I believe. And if that makes me a cheap date, so be it.

**If you’re wondering why I included a picture of Nick & Jess from New Girl it’s because they are my favorite TV/movie couple ever, the reason being that they are so natural together.  They were friends first who in the process of becoming friends also fell in love.  I strongly believe this is how the best, most lasting relationships start & it’s so rare to see that portrayed so well in popular media.  Hence my obsession with this show.  (The fact that they’re both super cute doesn’t hurt either, ha!)