If time and tide wait for no man, I at least thought I was in with a slight chance as a woman. But alas, my thirties have finally found me. I am thankful for another year and another decade, and I certainly have big plans for this next age bracket. Yet, I didn’t quite realize how deeply I would feel the transition between 11:59pm on the last day I was 29 and 12:00am on the day I became 30.
I am not one to dwell on regret. I figure that God’s will and my own stubborn one have given me the life I was supposed to have, whether in the valley or on the mountain top. Yet, when I look back on the thirty years I’ve clocked in this existence, I find myself thinking about the few things I had assumed as inevitable in my life that sadly never came to be. Herewith, my small regrets in life:
Wrasslin’ a pig
I first came across the wondrous spectacle that is pig wrasslin’ at my hometown’s annual Pig Party when I was eight. All children were invited to participate and the rules were simple: A small pig was coated in vegetable oil and set loose in a muddy circled off area. The young contestants would then try their damnedest to catch the slippery thing and hold it down. The winner got to keep the catch.
I’m convinced I could have been so good at this – I’m small, pretty scrappy, not afraid to get muddy, and seriously love me some bacon – and begged Mother to let me participate. My pleas were sensibly rebuffed with a simple, “Lily, you’ll ruin your clothes and what would we do with a pig?” There’s no arguing with such logic, and I went home spotless and swine-free. These days, greased pig contests are mostly relegated to memory and the bygone days when we cared less about what the pig thought about the whole thing, and maybe rightly so. However, I think my little eight-year-old heart knew that I would eventually look back on that day as a missed opportunity for something great.
Becoming a Gayfers Girls
Soft focus portraits of ‘The Gayfers Girls’ in their velvet dresses and pearls used the line the walls of the department store’s Juniors section. I would look at them on shopping excursions for Sunday dresses with my grandmother and never doubted it would be me up there one day. To be a Gayfers Girl was to be taught such seemingly necessary skills as proper introductions, phone courtesy, grooming, thank-you notes, and etiquette, while also advising the store on the latest teen fashions and organizing fashion shows. But, the cruel hand of mergers and acquisitions rendered Gayfers into Dillard’s, and the Gayfers Girl obsolete, before I was old enough to participate. My inner feminist tells me that I probably dodged a big sexist-shaped bullet, but somehow I still wholeheartedly blame Dillard’s for my occasional lapses into foul-mouthed-frizzy-haired-ness.
Getting a perm
Speaking of frizzy hair, when I was a kid I assumed hair that was all permed up and jacked to Jesus was a Southern birthright. This is what the ladies on Designing Women had, and with their equally big shoulder pads, they were the vision of the woman I aspired to be. My mother promised me my first perm when I turned 13, and I counted down the birthdays with excitement. Yet, a funny thing called the 90s happened on the way to my teenage years. Perms became passé and I started doing all I could to tamp down the curls I acquired naturally and which resurrect the 80s all on their own whenever two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom decide to hook up for a party called humidity. I never did get that perm and can’t foresee a day when I ever will, but I never fail to get a small feeling of nostalgia for the loss of chemically-induced big hair and synthetic big shoulders whenever I catch a rerun of Julia, Suzanne, Mary Jo and Charlene.
Then again, while the tide doesn’t wait, it does certainly change. I may not have achieved the oxymoronic goal of becoming a permed–up, pig chasin’ debutante just yet, but I’ve got a whole new decade waiting ahead.
Goodbye 20s and hello 30s. Let’s do this thing.