The conversation during a recent get-together with my friends was lively and filled with gasps and murmurs of agreement.
The oh-so-interesting topic? Vacuum cleaners.
No, that's not code for something dirty. We — guys included — were discussing the thing that cleans carpets and floors.
And so it goes. We've taken yet another step toward Oldsville. Maturity City. Tired-at-10 Town.
All right, all right. In the larger picture of life and the world we're not old. Well, not that old anyway.
But as the discussion that night turned to the cost and quality of Kirbys and Dysons — not to mention the effectiveness of Glad Press 'n Seal wrap — it occurred to me that we as a group have officially entered the next phase of life.
It's the phase where we spend more time going to baby showers than bars, choose Williams-Sonoma over Wet Seal, and well ... sustain lengthy talks about household products.
You know, the older phase.
I'm not going to whine about this. To borrow an oft-used line, it is what it is.
But finding yourself in this place can still be startling.
My boyfriend commented on this recently after we wound up spending a considerable amount of time drooling over the fancy washers and dryers at Sears. (Who knew those burgundy Kenmore front-loaders could look so sexy?)
We also prowled the aisles of Hoovers and Dirt Devils. The boyfriend — who cleans up more than I do — couldn't resist playing with them.
"Wow, you can tell you're old when you want to look at vacuums and washing machines, yeah?" he said.
Holy-moly. He's right. And come to think of it, how sad is it that we're cruising Sears on a Saturday night?
Of course, I could have freaked out and immediately bolted to Guess or American Eagle to force my way into itty-bitty jeans and a "Class of '07" graphic T.
But who am I trying to fool? Nobody wants to see that. Not even me.
As a friend's husband said, in reference to the clothing store: "You're not Forever 21."
No kidding. Thanks to my last birthday, I'm not even forever 31.
And that's OK. These lifestyle changes are not all bad. There's no question we can still live it up. But I can't say I miss regularly losing my voice (and some hearing) trying to have a conversation in a crowded club. I'm not shedding any tears for those bygone nights of standing in line for $5 pitchers either.
There are definite perks to being thirty-something. We're more comfortable with ourselves. After surviving the dramas of our 20s, we have a broader perspective of what's important in life.
By no means do we know everything (does anybody?), but we tend to have a better idea of what we want and don't want. That's progress.
Ahhh. I think I'm ready for my Kirby now.
Reach Lynda Arakawa at firstname.lastname@example.org.