I’ve been trying to save money lately. Between being in a long distance relationship, attending several weddings this year and the high cost of living and playing in New York City, I spend way too much. However, I am not going to stop going out to dinner because I love trying new restaurants and most of my socializing revolves eating/drinking. And I’m not going to break up with my boyfriend because, well, he’s awesome. So, I’ve been trying to save money in other, smaller ways.
For instance, there was a time that I would buy books I wanted to read regardless of price. Now, I am waiting until the cost of some of the bigger named author’s books come down a bit before buying them and I might (brace yourself) actually start taking books out of the library rather than purchasing them. I still haven’t read Emily Giffin’s “Where We Belong” and it’s killing me but, seriously, $12.99 for a Kindle download is ridiculous.
I’ve also downloaded quite a few free reads on my Kindle lately. I started reading a few of them this weekend, but had to put them down. Not because the writing was bad, but because I couldn’t relate to the characters and, further, they made me feel bad about how my generation is being portrayed in books. The main characters in each of the books complained about gray hairs, and sagging bodies and boobs that were beginning to hang down to their bellies. In most cases, their husbands left them for someone younger or they were jealous of their younger counterparts and, in general, they didn’t seem to have any youthful spirit left in them. I assumed they must be at least in their fifties and was shocked to read a bit further and discover they were only in their late 30s-early 40s (my age range)! Unlike the characters in these books, I do not feel old and I don’t look old. Because I’m not old!
I’ve definitely matured in many ways since my 20s. My career has progressed, along with my salary. I’ve written three novels and published (almost) two. I still party, but I’ve learned to do so in moderation (mostly). Instead of staying out till 5am drinking cheap beer, I stay out till 1 or 2 drinking wine or prosecco. And I still drink cheap beer while watching football with friends on Sundays! I still have the same taste in television, movies and books, but instead of crushing on the teenage boy character, I like his dad. (Actually, sometimes I still crush on the teenager. When he’s played by Zac Efron…) Intellectually, I’ve become much more self aware which has enabled me to appreciate what is important and let go of what is not. I am definitely wiser and more “adult”. However, I am in just as good shape, if not better, than I was in my 20s. My boobs are not sagging. My face is not full of wrinkles. I still get hit on by men, both younger and older. And the night I met my current boyfriend who is a few years younger than me, a very cute 24-year-old girl was basically throwing herself at him, yet he only had eyes for me. I am still “young” at heart. Scratch that, I am still “young” – period, however, I am not a “girl”, I am a “woman.” Most of my entire circle of friends is just like me: we’ve grown up but we haven’t grown “old”.
Unlike most of the books I read, not all women in my age range are married with children. And not all of the single ones are divorced. Like our younger counterparts, some of us are in relationships that have not yet led to marriage, others are still looking for “the one” and some are simply happy playing the field. While I am sure that many women in my age range can relate to the characters in the books I read, I would love to read a novel that better represents me and my friends. The only one I’ve read that comes close to capturing that spirit is Erik Atwell’s “Thank You For Flying Air Zoe.”
I started writing my third novel about a 39 year old woman who personified my social circle but I temporarily put it aside to write something else. Now that I am in revisions of my work in progress, I am thinking that I might try again to write a novel that is neither about a young teeny bopper starting out in adulthood nor an aging woman who fears her best years are behind her. I would like to write a book about that undefined place in time when you’re old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyway.