1.12.09

all the real girls

I love the story "When We Were Nearly Young" by Mavis Gallant, and I particularly like this reading of it by Antonya Nelson. I first read it a few years ago, when I too was feeling vague dread at the thought of turning 30: "We talked of our thirties as if we were sliding toward an icy subterranean water; as if we were to be submerged and frozen just as we were: first Carlos, then Pablo and me, finally little Pilar. She had eight years to wait, but eight would be seven, and seven six, and she knew it."

Now I am 30, and in 26 days I will be 31. I couldn't be happier to be the age that I am. There are things that I miss about being 20-something (there is no better time to make mistakes than when you are in the safe grip of your 20s, and oh, did I make a lot of them), but I have always felt older than I am. I might be settling into it now.

One of the most beautiful people I have ever met, Sarah Jane, would have turned 30 on December 30 of this year. The fact that she never made it to her champagne birthday (because she was born with mole-prone skin) brings tears to my eyes, still, even if in the end, she was courageously resigned to it and asked only that we throw her a party to say good-bye. It enforces my belief that no one should ever mourn when one turns 30. It means that you are here, and that you are alive. And it is just another age. Don't worry, little Pilar.

The current issue of Lula has a feature called "All the Real Girls." The first time I saw the movie All the Real Girls I was 24 years old I thought I was in the prime of my life; I lived in a crummy apartment, I went to Aunties & Uncles every single Sunday for brunch, I would sneak outside to smoke cigarettes & to daydream, and I somehow thought that I could still become a writer, one day, despite the fact that I was doing nothing writerly at all. "One day" seemed so far away.

The Lula feature called "All the Real Girls" has mini-profiles of friends of Karen Elson, including Nina Persson, Melissa Auf Der Mar, and Sarah Sophie Flicker. Incredibly stylish, talented, creative, inspiring girls, all of them. They are aged 31 to "40ish." It might not be a big deal that they are in that age range, but I think this is such an affirming thing for me to have seen at a time like this, as a birthday approaches. It is really beautiful to me!


Oh Lula, you just keep on surprising me, even in the littlest details.

It seems appropriate to mention that Sarah Jane, who was a fashion student, never got to see Lula. I know she would have loved it. Issue 5 is particularly dear to me because she looked just like Kirsten Dunst. I see her in its pages.

(There is something about early winter that makes me so sentimental!)

19 comments:

  1. Age is just a number. We are on a journey of the soul. Treasure it all. It only gets beter.

    www.themishdish.blogspot.com

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  2. "there is no better time to make mistakes than when you are in the safe grip of your 20s, and oh, did I make a lot of them"
    wow that really hits home, & actaully i don't regret tehm lately, it was all good fun to be had...
    & i'm now past my scary age, it was 32, but this was so inspiring, thank you

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  3. Dang girl, you trying to make us cry? Also, we're still allowed to make mistakes in our 30s, right?? Yikes, I am off to a bad start if not.

    Oh and I finally watched All the Real Girls the other night! Still kind of deciding how I feel about it.

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  4. Bridget1.12.09

    Oh, this is so heart-felt and eloquent, it made me cry...I really enjoyed this issue of Lula with its red-headed theme. I also noticed that this group of friends are well out of their twenties, and all quite stylish and creative in their own ways.

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  5. Aw, thank you! Oh and yes, mistakes are okay at any age -- I just seem to have made some real doozies in the last ten!

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  6. Lovely post. I always enjoy reading your blog, you have such a nice way of putting things.

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  7. turning 30 in two months and having health issues, so this is a lovely post to read. helps keep things in perspective. thank you!

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  8. I really enjoy reading your blog, and the lovely, honest perspective in this post is a perfect example of why. Gave me something to think about! These dreamy pictures have finally inspired me to pick up an issue of Lula too - looking forward to checking it out!

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  9. You've done it again! Made my day with one of your posts. Thanks for so beautifully (and honestly) saying what can be hard to communicate. Your words are inspiring, encouraging and incredibly poignant.

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  10. What a beautiful post. And there's so much time in your 30s to make mistakes and learn from them (and to "fail better)! I imagine they happen in your 40s too - I'll be there in the summer, so I'll let you know :-)

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  11. you ARE a writer. this is beautiful.

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  12. Thank you for this, I am about to be 30 in couple of weeks, you have made me feel a whole lot better. Seriously, thank you! :)

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  13. I loved this post, so much.

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  14. The timing of this post is terribly appropriate; I couldn't really articulate how I feel, but I just want to thank you for it so much.

    Thank you.

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  15. I am mostly a lurker here, though that sounds a bit creepy I suppose......but wanted to say, I'm very fond of your writing and the combination of things you bring together on this blog. I am turning....41 in a few days; just wanted to say that, quite to my surprise and despite a very lot going on, 30s were very good years. Very very good, loved every moment of them. Cheers!

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  16. Oh, what a touching story. And I have to second what others have already said, your wonderful writing and personal tone is why I like your blog so much.

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  17. Ugh. Just barely skimmed my twenties and made some heartbreaking mistakes in the last few months. I guess we have to learn acceptance at every age and every stage of life. But you're right, we're here and we're alive, sometimes that's all we can ask for. But it's enough. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Sarah Jane. Its sounds like she was a very dear and important person. It's amazing, when looking back to realize how friends have touched our lives. The women in that spread are so creative, inspiring and elegant, just like you.

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  18. I am 33. I feel I am more myself with every passing year. I had fun when I was younger, but I'm glad to be as I am now.

    I still feel like "one day" hasn't come yet for me. I'm not sure it ever will. Even though my body tells me it is not true, I sometimes think I have forever.

    I am sorry for the loss of Sarah Jane. That brought tears to my eyes, too.

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  19. I turned 30 a couple of years ago and it was really difficult for me (I should have had a great party...but did not). However, I'm now finding that I know myself so much more these last couple years than I ever had. I have also found a community (Etsy and blog) in which to share ideas and interests that I can't with a lot of people I know in person...it's been so wonderful! Thank you for your thoughts and it's so nice to know some gals that are 30-ish going through some of the same things. :)

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