Pondering My Inevitable Decline

I’ve been thinking a lot about my inevitable decline this week. “You’re only 24 Janney, shut up!,” you’re probably thinking. But hear me out.

It started on Monday when I noticed 3 forehead furrows. I have had bangs since I was about 18. Bangs hide a multitude of sins: freckles, a scar old enough to be in college, acne, and apparently now, forehead furrows. These are lines like the ones on your knuckles, except I know that the lines on my knuckles are not a by-product of working for two start-ups at the same time.

Then I realized that the most recent posts on my Facebook wall by other people have been related to cats. Cat drumming, box full of kittens with the words “Cat Lady Starter Set” on the side. Ha ha. I know that no harm was meant by these posts and that I should just get over it, but c’mon guys, I have interests other than cats. Music, for one. Work, for another. Kissing, for a third. Weight-lifting. Running. The fiber arts. Writing. I could go on and on. But the salient one is the cats. I’m only 24 though. Can y’all show a little optimism for my future, and assume that I’ll have a fulfilling career, a supportive life partner, keep my house clean and only have one cat? In 20 years, if I am still single, without a 401 K, and with only a cat for company, feel free to call me a cat lady. But for now, realize that the reason I have a cat is as a better outlet for my affection and emotional needs than some ill-adjusted man-child.

I’ve also been watching a lot of Sex and the City recently. The women in SATC are in their mid-30s, and fictional. But they don’t make being single in your late 30s look like a picnic, from a societal standpoint. Now again, I’m only 24, but do I really want to be going on first dates in a decade? In 15 years? Huh. Hmmm. Probably not. This is not about the biological imperative or being a cat lady. This is just about knowing that if I don’t have the energy or inclination to go on first dates now, it probably won’t get any easier. Depressing.

And now I’m sitting here in a coffee shop next to two youngish men wearing wedding rings who seem to be engaged in some sort of religious support group for men who got married while they were in diapers. They’re talking about Jesus and date night and wives serving their men, and it makes me want to gag. I’d rather die alone and get eaten by a hoard of cats than be in a marriage right now where my husband genuinely believed that it is the wife’s duty to serve him. I mean, I’m sure it works for some women, but I’m not one of them. Fortunately, my roommate lent me her headphones, and a friend from college made an excellent dance music playlist. The rings on my fingers symbolize only that I am wearing silver jewelry today, and that my great-great-grandmother had a man in her life with awesome taste. The only person I have to answer to is my cat, who will knock over trashcans if I don’t feed him in time, my co-workers and my boss. I probably have a good 4 or 5 years before my metabolism starts slowing down and 20 before the wrinkles envelope my face. In the meantime, there are blunt bangs, crop tops and pop music to make me feel young.

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