On Becoming the Old Lady In the Office

Like with all buzz-killing life truths, there comes a time to realize that you are not a 24-year-old editorial assistant anymore.
Publish date:
May 24, 2012
career, work, getting older, jobs

Something weird is happening at xoJane headquarters.

Like, I don't know who anybody is sleeping with, even though I keep pregnancy tests in my desk to trick people into confiding in me. (Pregnancy tests, placed under a cage propped up by a stick, are basically 22-year-old traps.) And nobody ever invites me to go out, even though I see them touching up their makeup at their desks before after-work open bar events and I hear them dissecting club dramz on bleary-eyed Monday mornings.

Is it because I'm sober? Because I talk about butt sex and my vagina too much? Because they're straight bitches? Oh, wait, no, it's because I'm fucking old.

Well, and because I'm one of the bosses around here, but that tends to happen if you get older in one field long enough.

I have absolutely no problem with getting older. I mean, I hope to watch all my friends wither and die while I live on immortal, but when you've mixed as many illegal drugs as I have, turning another year older takes on a much more celebratory tone.

But there's definitely a perspective shift required to go from a lifetime membership at the mental kid's table. For awhile there, I was on a trajectory to become to corporate version of Amy Poehler's "fun mom" from "Mean Girls."

"Hey, guys, what's happening?" I'd loom over them, sticking my head in the middle of their conversations. "What's the 411?"

But like with all buzz-killing life truths, there comes a time to realize that you are not a 24-year-old editorial assistant anymore. Actually, I was never an editorial assistant because I never got good jobs when I was that age, but I was a 19-and-20-year-old BUST intern, and we used to bust out the inflatable bong and turn that office into the joint as soon as the elder employees went home to their stupid families or whatever. One time, we had an office sleepover and I got so drunk I just left a note that was like "Went home to puke. Won't be in tomorrow. Emily"

Can you spot me in this picture?

But you can't party like a nubile early adult forever. Well, you can, but you'll have terrible skin.

Ultimately the deal is this: I love my younger co-workers, and I think they like me a lot, too. But we're in different stages of life. They are in the stage where you get to go out and have lots of fun all the time, including at work and I am in the stage where you sometimes find a Cheeto in your bra while you're watching "Hell's Kitchen." Also, I am a boss-like figure, and something something about boundaries?

I will do my best to accept our different roles in the workplace. But when you feel an icy crone's finger rustle your glossy young hair, and a creaky whisper sends a chill down your long, swanlike necks, and you feel your youth and beauty slowly draining out of your smooth, juicy limbs, know that's it's just me walking by. I need a Diet Coke from the kitchen.