Tuesday, June 13, 2006

On the Eve of 28

I used the elliptical trainer today at the gym and they ask you to type in your age- today was 27 but tomorrow will be 28. I was tempted to type in 28 today but I am pretty adamant about accuracy so I stopped myself. The compulsion towards "taking care of life effectively" is a bit overwhelming at times- today I picked up dry cleaning and I was short ten rand (about $1.30). I was short in the sense that I had 283 rand in cash and the bill came to 293 rand. I don't like using credit cards all that much in South Africa (particularly for smallish amounts) so the cashier wrote "owing 10 rand" on my next slip- for the clothes that I dropped off this afternoon. I have to physically restrain myself from going back there tomorrow to give her 10 rand even though the clothes won't yet be ready. It just feels like a loose end that's not tied up. When I start a new jar of cosmetics- like La Mer eyecream- it feels fabulous until the jar is half used. Then I just want the jar to be finished so I can open a new one. This isn't a metaphorical statement but an aesthetic one- the jars are so pretty and new in the beginning but icky and congealed by the end. It feels like a lot of the ritzy housing complexes in Jo'burg- shiny and pink and lacquered from a distance but shoddy and chipped up close.

Everytime I clear my inboxes and take a deep breath there's more to answer if I turn away from the computer for a moment. My clothes are perfectly folded from the washing service but if I even try on a shirt for a minute or so, it feels wrinkled. When I take notes at meetings, my handwriting starts out neat and perfectly formed until it emerges into rough scribbles- frantically trying to keep up with the pace on the page.

All is well on the eve of 28. I feel vibrant, full of work, full of interests, full of life, full. I have 10 lipglosses stocked in the cupboard in case the one in my make-up bag runs dry. I feel so grateful to have an amazing nuclear family (notice if I specify "nuclear" as opposed to "extended" there must be a reason) and I am blessed with extraordinarily close relationships.

But 28 is still sad, in a way. All the people who keep saying "oh 28 is soooooooo young" are quite old themselves. My 11 year-old neighbor does think I'm old. I'm one of the adults now and I can't really pass with the teens. When I was 18, I used to "study" at the Second Cup on St. Laurent every weeknight with all of my friends and drink terrible lattes and laugh until I cried and ignore all the boys I dated but now hated. Now, I make better lattes at home, really do work instead of staring out the window for two hours, and use anti-aging eye cream. I'm not sure if I want to go back to falling asleep at 5:00 am with my make-up still on and waking up to a streaky mascara-scarred pillowcase and going out for brunch at 4:00 pm but it was really, really fun.


Anonymous yigal said...

As the head of your nuclear family I congratulate you on great blog! happy birthday! and, yes, 28 is old... but not over the hill yet!

We love you!

5:39 PM  
Blogger Ilana said...

Abba- I am happy you have appointed yourself head of our family! I guess that means you have to get Tee and me new convertibles or something:)
Oh, 28 is not THAT old.
Love you!

5:04 AM  

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