mehrsaGuest Blogger: Mehrsa Baradaran  

Mehrsa is a delightful blend of someone who always reads the entire book for book club, but can also discuss, in detail, the most recent episode of American Idol. She took a break from practicing law so she could spend her time with her two daughters. Today is her birthday.

It is not clear when boot cut jeans and Danskos were no longer the cutting edge of fashion, but it turns out they are not. (I know, I was shocked too.) Being somewhat beholden to worldly trends, I went out to conform and bought some cute skinny jeans and great boots. A few weeks ago we were on our way to Target up in the Bronx—where all new fashion goes out for a test drive—and I was dressed to the hilt in my new clothes. Lucia (my one year old) was fussy and I was trying to figure out what she wanted when Cyra (my 3 year old) made it clear to me: “Mom, Lucia doesn’t like your costume.” Costume. Yes, that’s right, a costume – to disguise my fading youth.

I think one of the purposes of children is to keep us humble and shame us out of our late-life strivings. My father shaved his mustache when I was 5 and I cried. My mother permed her hair when I was 10 and I was mad. Once you have children, you better be done with your experimenting shenanigans and hopefully, you have landed on a style where you can stay put for a few decades. I guess I just thought that by now, I would be happy with sensible shoes and practical pantsuits.

When I was a teenager, I made a plan for my life that I have basically followed: graduate from college, go to a graduate school that would make my immigrant parents proud, get married, have children, and understand the Wall Street Journal. My plan stopped there. When I was 13 (and even 26), 30 was the natural end of things.  My twenties was a time to make decisions, accomplish things, prove it—whatever ‘it’ was.  I hadn’t given much thought to life after 30.  Why would I?  Things would be settled by then.  My 30s and beyond was to be spent in non-striving contentment.

But it turns out I am not who I thought I would be at 31. I am proud of all the things I accomplished from my teenage bucket list, but those accomplishments will not last through this decade. And it seems that the life plan from now on is less clear and the goals are less tangible. Be a better mom, a better person, etc. Focus on those internal changes that life is all about, but that don’t come with diplomas or applause. Put away childish things and get to the meat of the gospel.

I think it’s best that all the change stay on the inside though. No more costumes. I will be the 31-year old mom that Cyra thinks I should be. I will not/cannot use belts with shirts or leggings with dresses, wear hats or big earrings, text message, change lipstick colors, twitter, kindle, highlight, use slang or get really into cupcakes or Anthro. I need to focus on more important things if I am to have it all worked out by 40.