Why I Pierced My Ears at 40

The older I get, the more I do things I’ve always said I’ll never do. Last week I got my ears pierced.

I never did it as a kid or a teen, and after that it seemed too late. But after years of scouring thrift stores for agonizing clip-on earrings, I bit the bullet.

Three of my girlfriends–Kaitlyn, Nancy, and Zohal–joined me on my adventure. We headed over to Ancient Arts in Boston, MA.

anya-and-ladiesFrom left: Nancy, Zohal, Anya, Kaitlyn. All photos courtesy of Fance Nance.

I’d spent a long time a few weeks back talking with the owner, Matt, about what to expect. Deep down, I wasn’t so much scared of the pain, but that getting pierced would make me into a different person.

But we’re all becoming different people, every day. The trick is to transform in a healthy, playful way.

And for me, getting pierced seemed like a warrior goddess tradition. Why not get in on that action? And increase the bling factor in my life?

Here’s me before, flaunting my lobe:

before-2My last few moments as an unpierced lady.

And here’s me after:

newly-piercedMy shiny, sterilized earlobe, post-needle.

The pain wasn’t bad. It felt like a small, vindictive animal sinking one sharp tooth into my earlobe.

I went with purple labret studs for the starter earrings. Zohal said that the sparkle on my ears made my eyes look brighter too.

anya-and-mattMe and the piercing pro: Matt from Ancient Arts.

Thanks to Matt and my girlfriends for making this body art ritual fun and memorable!

The Four Pillars of Adulthood

Image courtesy of JD Hancock, via Creative Commons on Flickr.

Most Americans do four things before they’re considered a mature, successful adult:

  1. Graduate from college.
  2. Get married.
  3. Buy a house.
  4. Have kids.

While the order is somewhat flexible, if you don’t achieve these milestones, you’re not considered a grownup.

Of these four, I’ve accomplished #1 (college). The other three are iffy.

I have a lot of ambivalence around marriage. It’s moving when two people commit their lives to one another. And it can be sooooo hard for that to work out well.

I’ve already written about self-identifying as a renter, not an owner.

And just from the name of this blog, you can tell #4 is not a priority.

So I’m a wicked underachiever. I don’t even have a car, for crying out loud. I might as well be living in my parents’ basement.

But other actions I’ve taken have transformed me.

  • I joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Asia for two years.
  • I wrote a screenplay. I’m writing another one.
  • I’ve loved with all my heart, and had my heart shattered–and rewired.

The truth is, I’m quite a conventional person. I work a 9-to-5 job, pay my rent on the first, buy things on Amazon. I play by society’s rules.

But going by the four pillars up top, I’m an outlier. A rebel. Call me Peter Pan, because clearly, adulthood and me? Not such good friends.

What about you? Are you an American grownup? How do you feel about that?