Aging gracefully can suck it.

It’s silly to even say this, considering the fact that I have a nice life, a nice husband, and generally feel successful and happy. But I work in television, and am currently putting together a dating show, and it’s really bothering me that I can’t be the lead. I don’t even want to date anyone, since I am in a good relationship. It’s more that it bothers me that in my mid-thirties, I’m no longer considered pretty, cool, or desirable enough to even be considered for a dating show. We are only looking for people who are 25 and younger.

I am happy with my life experience, I do solid work, and I feel like I’ve reached some personal and professional goals. I’m well-respected by friends, family, and colleagues, and I know this is more important than being young and beautiful. But there’s still that little voice inside me that says, “Why can’t I be the face of youth? Why am I not desirable?” How can I get over this?

Just this weekend I was sweating my ass off while my gigantic fetus and I chased two insane preschoolers around Target, trying to stop them from smashing an entire box of saltines into the floor. A man was watching me with a kind look on his face and said wistfully, “This is the best time of your life. My kids are eighteen and twenty now, and let me tell you, this really is the best time of your life.” I said thank you, but what I was really thinking was, “That’s fucking great. JUST GREAT. I might as well kill myself tomorrow, then, because if it doesn’t get any better than this, WHAT’S THE POINT?”

I started thinking about my twenties, and about how my sister and I lived together in a fun apartment and had fun friends and met all kinds of cute guys and would spend our last bit of our money on a crazy expensive shirt and 47 beers and not think it was a problem. And then I thought some more. I thought about how our apartment was literally directly over the subway, and how it had the world’s biggest mouse colony under our couch, and how those guys were cute but 99.9% of them turned out to be total douchebags including that one who whipped me in the face with a Twizzler when I told him I didn’t want to go out with him anymore, and how sucky it was to have to scrounge around in my car for spare change to buy lunch because I spent all my money on a trendy shirt that was immediately ruined because I spilled 47 beers on it.

My point is this: being young and free is great, but it wasn’t always. You sound like you have a really, really, really awesome life. Yes, it’s true, no one’s going to hire you as the hottest new thing in television and you probably do look like a hideously wrinkled old hag compared to the person who’s starring in your dating show. But don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re not desirable. You’re desired by your husband, your friends, your family, and your colleagues. So I guess you get over it by taking a minute to mourn the fact that you won’t ever again meet a guy with a guitar on a bus and decide to take a road trip to Wyoming with him, and feel regret and sadness over the fact that some of your body parts aren’t quite where they used to be. And then focus on the fact that being desirable and awesome isn’t dictated by a television network, but by who you are and what you decide to do with your life.

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