"Um, you're a doctor," I replied, reaching for my water and taking a sip.
"No, I understand what causes it, but I mean, I just don't get why it's a thing. That people care about."
I stabbed my lettuce, pausing as I lifted my fork to my mouth. "It's weird," I mused. "That's just one thing I don't have energy to care about. I've hated plenty of other things about my body, but when I noticed pregnancy gave me some on the backs of my legs I made a split decision to not give a shit. It was nice."
Husband shrugged. "I don't see anything on your legs."
I know, especially as a woman, I'm supposed to have all kinds of anxiety about getting older. I'm supposed to be agonizing over wrinkles, real and imagined, and concerned about the recent marbling in the backs of my thighs.
I'm supposed to be deeply ashamed of any extra pounds (even if most of them can be attributed to the whole growing a baby thing), and planning how to "get my body back." As if my body went somewhere. As if prior to getting pregnant I was completely at peace with how I looked, and never once pinched my then flatter stomach and thought to myself, Fat, Fat, Fat.
I'm supposed to be scrutinizing my decisions to work. And have a baby. At the same time. I know I'm supposed to feel guilty about leaving an infant with a person who is not me. I also know that I'm supposed to feel like I'm giving up everything I've worked for if I decide to stay home for a few months, a year, forever.
I'm supposed to watch what I say. And what I don't say. A younger woman asserting herself shows spunk. A less-younger woman can end up looking shrewish or domineering.
I'm supposed to care - a whole damn lot, actually - about getting older.
But I just can't.
For me, the signs that I'm getting older are in my indifference to all of those things I'm supposed to care about, weighing me down and making me approach each birthday with a sense of panic that I haven't become perfect yet.
It's not all effortless. I find myself plotting rigorous postpartum exercise regimens, to reclaim that pre-pregnancy body that I used to find so problematic, but now seems ideal. I still waffle over when to vocalize a need, discontent, or preference, and sometimes question myself after I do. And I have yet to figure out what being a working mom to a baby girl will look like for me.
"I figured that out a little while ago," I told him. "It's weird. The realization was almost liberating. Once I stopped worrying so much about making everyone else like me, I got better at liking myself. Or at least not actively hating myself."
To some, 28 is still an infant child, while to others, I am one tumble away from a hip replacement. But right now, this age seems pretty good. If there is one sure sign of me becoming older, it's that I care less and less about it with every passing year.