So today I did something a little different from the norm.
I worked a full day, shut off my computer, and instead of taking a nap or going for a run, reading a book, or making brownies like a good little wife, I went out with my buddy Kate and got my nose pierced.
When I decided that I was going to have it done, the first thing my husband said to me was “Um – I’ve been telling you for years that you have the perfect nose for a piercing and you never did it. Why now?!”
Why now, indeed?
I mean, tempting as it sounded I wasn’t ever going to do it. First off…I’m thirty-three years old. I know that some of you nice people will say that age is timeless, and such and so on. But it’s not so much the age thing as it is that I already went through my piercing phase about fourteen years ago. Back in our college hay-day, it seemed my friends and I pierced every available chunk of skin imaginable. In a very short span of time I managed to put holes in my tongue, both nipples, multiple places on my earlobes, as well as the pinna, tragus and rook parts of my ears.
So it felt like I’d already done enough hole-punching for a lifetime, especially since I ended up taking everything out by the time I got married. I think I figured it was time to grow up a little, and stop trying to maintain that “art-school edgy” look. Even though I actually was a professional artist who, well…still sort of liked edgy things.
Even though that’s kinda who I am.
But then I met Kate, and the third time we ever hung out together she tried to get me to go with her to have our noses pierced. But by then we were already two beers into our night, and I didn’t want to have to lie on a waiver form or bleed all over my new shirt. I told her I’d think about it, and I did.
Then, a strange thing happened. I started looking around at people I knew, and I realized I know a lot of people around my age with nose jewelry. And it looks adorable. They don’t look too old for it. And let’s not forget that I have a sweet and loving hubby at home who has been all but begging me to get it done. This man knows me better than anyone on the planet – if he thought it made no sense for me to do such a thing, he would have absolutely no problem saying it!
I think that perhaps over the past few years I’ve gotten away from myself a bit. Turning 30, getting married and buying a house instantly aged me. I felt responsible for the whole world. The weight of it exhausted me. I went to bed really early at night and stopped bleaching my hair so much. I went to nail salons for manicures and started wearing so much sunscreen that I never got tan in the summer. I think I stopped being fun.
Come to think of it, maybe it was just buying that damn house that did it to me.
We all get older eventually, I know this. Thankfully I don’t have any grays yet, but my skin is slowly starting to wrinkle and show off all those years of sun exposure. I get sleepy by 11pm, even on Saturday nights. I have to stretch my feet before I get out of bed in the morning. Every year I get older physically, but I’ve made a lot of changes in my life recently that have made me less stoically “adult-like”, less old and set in my ways. I’ve taken some risks that most people stopped even considering by 25 or 30, or whenever they decided to stop allowing life to let them grow or change anymore.
So why get my nose pierced at age 33? Because it’s a representation of all the youth that I still possess in these bones. A symbol of the youthfulness of the girl who isn’t afraid to leave every comfort behind her and move to a place that’s better suited for her. The woman of childbearing age who doesn’t actually want to have children. The heavy chick who can still finish a 50K, despite not “looking like” a runner. The person who says no to what family, friends and society always expected of her…and yes to what she expects from life.
Now, when I look at myself in the mirror I get to remember that I’m not too old. I’m never too old to answer to my own calling. To become just a little bit more wholeheartedly myself. And to understand that it’s the only really important goal there is.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson