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The Benefit of Aging I Want to Talk About

Yesterday I went on an afternoon date with my husband. We went for a 6-mile hike and then popped into a restaurant and sat at the bar for a drink and food. My hair was pulled back in a scarf; I was thankful the bar hid my muffin top. I took my neon pink fanny pack off and placed in on the countertop in front of me.

I overheard the cute bartender talking to some women about the play he was about to be in, so I inquired about it with him and we just started chatting. He's part of a big theater festival here called the Hollywood Fringe Festival, so we started rapping out. My husband smiled and joined in a few times but also watched the basketball game.

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I wasn't interested in picking this guy up for some kind of threesome. I just wanted to talk to him. I love talking to struggling artists.

There I was: my muffin top, fanny pack and me just having a great time.

Juxtapose that to me at 14, when an older guy said, "You think you can just sit there and look pretty?" I know my cheeks must have burned, actually my entire face. He was a camp counselor, which disturbed me and made the comment take my breath away even more since he was someone I admired. The counselor, another girl my age and I were sitting around talking, and I could barely say anything because I found him cute. And I was just shy.

On the other hand, I was a great listener, due to my inability to find the courage to use my words.

College helped me some.

I sort of look at those as being my androgynous years, despite having long hair and big boobs. I was just so happy to be out of my childhood home, single and studying film. I started to be around a bunch of young men (since there were more men in film, in case you haven't heard that).

I was passionate and competitive and loved joking with the guys. I even started calling of my classmates babe. I had a high school boyfriend who called me babe. It simultaneously made me want to die with pride and also cringe.

I didn't date much, though. I still had a very hard time talking to the boys I found cute.

After college, I immersed myself in pursuing my dreams of becoming a director. I met my husband along the way and, for the first time, I could joke with someone, share all my thoughts and find him cute. It was something I was convinced would never happen.

Then I got a job working at Playboy and was around an all male crew. I cut my hair short and embraced one-upping the guys with my new-found wit.

I started talking, and I haven't really stopped. Now I have to tell myself to slow down and listen more.

It's just that I spent so much of my first 20 years of life listening, I feel like I've finally shed something and emerged.

Ironically, just last night, an old friend from junior high and were chatting on Facebook. I had posted something he wrote on Expressing Motherhood, the show I started in 2008 which consists of people sharing their stories about motherhood on stage. (And to think I used to skip school when it was my turn to give a speech!)

He mentioned that I was so shy in high school. I was taken back for a second. Funny, though, how we are all a bit more transparent then we think. Finding the courage to use my voice has been my favorite thing about aging so far. I'm lucky/blessed, whatever you call it to be alive.

Bring it on! Bring on the aging, please. I want to see how else I'll change.

As I type this I'm sitting at a popular outdoor mall in Los Angeles called the Grove. I just tried on a dress at Anthropologie and was disgusted at my legs. I grabbed the loose skin around my belly for about a minute laughed at the hand-scrawled message on the glass, "On Instagram, Tag Anthropologie."

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Then I reminded myself to walk on over to the restaurant on top of the Grove. I had an article to write. I had something to say.

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