The secret diary of katherine lowe, aged 33 and 1 week*

Me, aged 28. Photo/Evan Tetreault

Me, aged 28. Photo/Evan Tetreault

Real talk: I am 33 years old.

I have never really publicly admitted that. In fact, I started this post a few months ago, aged 32, but got too scared to publish it, which kind of says something. I mean, I haven't given my age or birthday out for at least five years. I had planned to become ageless, with no birthday, so I'm not quite sure why I'm coming out with all of this now. 

I am 33, and I am feeling it. Every day I wake up - late, I stare at my 33 year old face in the mirror. My 33 year old face with its 33 year old skin that for some reason, still gets acne although I am long, long past puberty. I get into my car, I drive to work. I am 33 but I am on my Restricted License. Why? Because I'm scared of failing. If I don't attempt to sit my Full License, I can never fail. 

I feel like I am past my 'best' years. Like it's too late to 'do' anything (not sure exactly what these things are, but). I wonder what would happen if I suddenly became single. What would I do? Where would I go? Who would I hang out with? I bet men don't feel like this. Men are not burdened with the endless 'when are you having children?' questions. They are not constantly being reminded of their biological clocks. No one thinks mid-30s single men are tragic. 

I am lucky to have friends around my age and older, without children, living a similar lifestyle to me, but still I am surrounded by my peers who are buying houses and getting married, choosing the right zones to live in for the right schools. Will I ever do that? I don't know, or care that much, but I feel like I'm supposed to. I think about what would happen if my friends started having kids. It's sad, but I don't think we would be friends anymore. I just don't know how we could sustain it.  

I can remember things the first time around. I was in Intermediate when those tattoo choker necklace things were a thing. What is it that they say about that? If you lived through the trend the first time around - don't attempt it, or something? 

I am 33, I dine out most nights and I live pay cheque to pay cheque. I'm 33 and have exactly $1500 in my savings account and -$1327.61 on my credit card. I am 33 and I'm still not entirely sure how to apply makeup correctly. My mascara is constantly smudged above my eyelid. I have not got it together. 

I am 33 and almost every year since I was 20, I have woken up on my birthday and dreaded it, wondered what I am doing with my life. I remember turning 25. I sat up in my bed crying, I wouldn't get out. My boyfriend (at the time) thought I was weird. I felt like it was the end. Last year, I threw a tantrum when I thought my boyfriend (current) had told his family when my birthday was. A full on adult tantrum, with sobbing and everything. 

This year was a little different, though. This year I just got up, and got on with it. I don't know what that means? Maybe that I've just accepted it now, that I'm old, that this is me and I don't need people to think I'm cool anymore because I know that I'll never be. I think that's good, but also a little sad. I spent so much of my life wanting to be cool, you know?

Today I had lunch with my 25 year old friend who is turning 26 soon. Birthday approaching, she is anxious about her future and worried about what she is doing with her life. It sounds kind of awful, but I kind of loved it. I see her and she is beautiful and talented and likeable and smart and charming and YOUNG and there's something comforting about the fact that even she, a legitimate cool person, is scared and wondering when she will get it together. 

I came home this afternoon and thought about her, and remembered this post, and for some reason I felt like I could publish it now. Yeah I feel old, and a bit scared of telling people about it, and yeah I'm worried about what I'm doing with my life - but so is everyone. And maybe that's just it - when you realise that no one has it together, growing old isn't quite so bad after all.  


*Note: The title of this post was inspired by 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4' , which is the title of the first book in the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend that was published in the 80s and I was so sure everyone of my 'era' as such, would get it, but I just asked two people who are the same age as me AND older and neither of these assholes knew what the fuck I was talking about it so now I've had to put this footnote in to explain it.