Thursday, September 13, 2012

Avocado Toast for Dinner


"Stop it, Diana." I command myself. "You're not going to start crying in the middle of the dentist office."

My dentist continues thumbing at my gums, chatting away as I fight the burning sensation that is blurring the words on the motivational poster affixed to the ceiling.

I feel sick.
And not because of the bubble-gum-flavored paste that is perilously close to catalyzing my gag reflex.

It had started out casually enough. A routine examination flecked with the standard small talk. He'd asked me about my job. I'd replied gamely, waiting for the inevitable round of follow up questions. "What's restaurant PR? Do you handle advertising? What's your favorite restaurant?"

He'd seemed temporarily placated after I'd finished giving my practiced 100-word explanation. His latex-covered thumb back in my mouth, I'd returned to staring at the poster of the puppy snuggling with a kitten snuggling with a (likely diseased) mouse.

"Do you have kids?" His voice had rung out, breaking through my hypothetical musings about how the animal planet orgy was staged.

I'd chortled back in response, a cough-laugh-snort that sounded like a noise Tina Fey might make between bites of a meatball sandwich on "30 Rock."

"I didn't have kids till I was older," He'd mused, taking my guffaw as permission to continue the (one-sided) conversation.

I'd remained silent, half-wishing he'd find some sort of weird gum deformity that we could talk about instead. At the very least, a little gingivitis. Or stray piece of granola that my toothbrush failed to catch that morning.

Instead, he'd paused mid-way between the examination of my bottom wisdom teeth to peer down at me with a conspiratorial expression of alarm.

"I didn't get married until I was 29!' He'd exclaimed, his brows arching at the number, punctuating the gravity of this presumed sin.


29. 29. 29.

The words reverberate in my brain now, swaying back in forth in a sickening motion like a toy sailboat thrust into the eye of a storm.

"Stop it," I tell myself again. "Do not cry."

"You think you're young and then you look in the mirror and realize you look like your mother!" He finishes with a wry smile, further twisting the knife he's just plunged into my chest.

29, 29, 29.

"Well, your mouth looks great!  Beautiful teeth!" He announces, leaping up from the chair to ceremoniously toss his latex gloves in the trash so the dental hygienist can take over.

His work is done.

29. 29. 29.

I inhale slowly, trying to numb myself to his words. I know he couldn't possibly know. I know he couldn't possibly realize that I'm turning 29 on Saturday. That I've been freaking out about turning 29 for the past 360 days. That even though all my older and wiser, more settled friends insist that their 30s have been a vast improvement on their wayward 20s, I still can't shake the terrifying feeling that I'm edging toward the end of my youth.

The end of a period of time when it's acceptable to do things like wear rompers and turquoise nail polish, and listen to Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" when it comes on the radio without wanting to punch her in the face.

While I've always considered myself an "old soul," I'm not quite ready for my physical body to catch up with my older mentality. At least not until I find someone who is okay with it catching up. Who will catch up with me.

And love me more because of it.

The underlying fear behind 29 isn't merely that I'm scared of a time when I won't be able to paint my toenails neon colors or make that hypothetical Youtube video to "Call Me Maybe," but that I'm scared that I've fallen behind the curve of all those Facebook friends who keep reminding me my clock is ticking with their ill-timed status updates.

That I've even fallen behind the curve of my ill-mannered dentist.

Comparison, you see, is what really killed the cat. (Either that or the diseased mouse.)

Without it, without the constant influx of engagement announcements, wedding pictures, and baby bumps, being 29 and single isn't nearly as terrifying. It's liberating.

Particularly when I can eat a slice of toast slathered with avocado and a pinch of salt and pepper and call it "dinner."  

Avocado Toast
Serves 1 incredibly awesome still-single almost 29-year-old

1 slice of thick-cut fresh bread, toasted
4 slices of ripe avocado, smashed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to toast

Toast bread.

Smash avocado.

Smear avocado on toast.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Stephanie / Oven Of Happiness said...

Don't freak out. If you feel tears coming on, a cookie (or 5) might help. But really. 29 was a pretty good year. 30 was even better. 31 has been slow but I still have high hopes.

Strawberry Fields said...

Hi There! I've been following for a while but had to comment today: I'm also turning 29 very soon (October 22nd) I am also single and also snort when people ask me if I have kids (Kids?! I'm still one myself!)

For my special day I'm treating myself to a day off work, a massage and a facial and then having a few close friends round for tea and cake.

What helps me is my life 'To Do' list, I may not have my own home, or my dream job. But I still, We all still, achieve things everyday that we should be proud of. We've achieved alot in our (very almosts) 29 years! who cares if they're not the same things as everyone else! I have wonderful adventures that wouldn't be possible if I was married, or had kids - and frankly I'm still not sure if I even want these things. But still can't help but feel a little 'left behind' sometimes.

So Happy Birthday my dear, surround yourself with all that makes you happiest. Don't pay any mind to anyone elses timeline: we'll find our path in our own damn time!


Frances D'Imperio said...

I once heard a great quote in a yoga class, of all places. "Nothing will make you more phoney, or more anxious, than looking at someone else's life and comparing it to your own." It's so true. Even when we feel like we are doing great, when we look at what others have and are doing, it feels crappy. 29 is a great age, do all the things you want to be able to say you did "in your twenties," in a couple of years. You are a smart, articulate, caring and funny member of society. And you will be more so at 29. And even more at 30. :)

Diana said...

Stephanie - Thank you! So I take it I *now* have permission to bake myself cookies - and call them dinner? ;)

Strawberry Fields - Thank you so much! Your sweet note means so much, and I agree with all points expressed! (Particularly the facial, massage and tea & cake parts - nicely done!) I'm celebrating with good food, wine, and three of my favorite people in the entire world who I am beyond blessed to have in my life. 29 will be awesome. Because even if I don't have a ring on my finger, I am surrounded by amazing friends and family who make me feel valuable every day - even when it's not my birthday.

Frances - Thank you for sharing that quote - so true! Comparison has been the source of so much anxiety for me these past few years, but I'm not going to bog myself down with that any more. It's not worth the time or energy. I have things to do... and lots of bites to eat! :)

Ashley said...

I'm still a fan of: Comparison is the thief of joy. Truer words have not been spoken.

Happy birthday eve!

J said...

there is never a reason to NOT wear fun and funky colors on your toes.

I've read for a long time and today, I have to comment... Happy Belated Birthday, by the way...

At 37 myself, and following those same thoughts you have, I had to come to the decision that you have to make yourself happy and gosh darn it, a bright fun color on my toes in the middle of winter is the way to do it. I suppose it's even a hidden guilty pleasure when you get to hide them away inside those winter boots ... :) Never stop allowing yourself to have fun, Diana... no matter what - you have to choose happiness and whatever gets you to the happiest of places. much love, blog friend who I look for updates on a daily basis ...

Diana said...

J - You are amazing. Seriously, your comment means the world to me and almost brought tears to my eyes when I read it this afternoon! Thank you for reading my silly musings, and thank you for caring enough to leave these incredibly kind words.

P.S. I'm totally rocking gold on my toenails right now. And it feels awesome. ;)

J said...

Oh yes, gold is fun... :) (feels awesome cuz you are awesome! lol)

I have even managed at times - because my monthly mani/pedi is my big splurge on myself so I always go visit my Seattle Nordstrom Spa - my very usually strait laced ukranian nail gal is the only one allowed to scold me abuot my feet. LOL ... anyway, I talked her into doing my toes in alternating green and red last year for Christmas and believe me, she agreed it looked fun when she was done even if she reluctantly did it in the first place. LOL

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