By Jen Pastiloff
For as much as I talk about telling the truth, I still get butterflies when sharing my age. My friend Michelle Filgate had an essay in Buzzfeed yesterday about how she used running to treat depression and then she got injured. She interviewed me and it said, Jen Pastiloff, 40 years old, and I sat up and had a moment where I thought how could they have gotten that wrong? I am so not 40 years old.
But I was. Yesterday.
Today, I am 41.
It mortifies my mother-in-law that I tell people how old I am. Especially here in LA, we are not “supposed to” do that.
Youth is a commodity! You’re not “supposed to” age!
I call bullshit.
I was terrified of getting older. In my 20’s I lied and said I was younger. When I was 28, I said I was 25.
I thought once I turned 30 I would be useless. Read that again: useless.
1) My father cheated on my mom and I knew about it. I was about 7 years old. It f*cked me up good. This may have been when my belief that your worth was equal to looks started.
2) My beloved dad (yes, even though he did some shitty things) died when he was 38. I thought that was the end of life. 38 and out. End scene. Done.
I had a shitload of anxieties surrounding getting older, obvi. Plus, I was “trying” to be an actress. And yes, that is in quotes because if you knew me then you knew that my trying was equal to complaining about it while simultaneously waiting for someone to “discover” me while I served them Huevos Cancun with egg whites.
Here’s my message young women: it gets better! Girls: 40 (yes, I’m 41 TODAY and screw anyone that thinks I should keep that private) 40 was the BEST year of my life. So much was possible that I had never even dreamed.
I led numerous retreats around the world (2 in Italy in 2015.) I did two workshops in London. I did workshops in Dallas, NYC (4), Atlanta (2), Princeton, Philadelphia, South Dakota, Massachusetts, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vermont, Seattle, Vancouver, My career was rewarding and fun. You hear that? FUN. (I think that we forget the importance of that word quite often.) I was the guest speaker 3 times at Canyon Ranch. My relationships all deepened- all of them, especially with women. I hung out with Hugh Jackman and drank tequila with him. I launched Girl Power: You Are Enough. This site was on fire. I got a new agent whom I adore. Every one of my workshops sold out. Lena Dunham asked me to perform onstage with her in NYC. I led TWO retreats with Lidia Yuknavitch and one with Emily Rapp. I was published in Shades of Blue, an anthology on depression, and I read my essay onstage in Hollywood in front of hundred of folks. I went to Aruba and filmed classes so I could be part of Yoga_Girl’s OneOEight TV. I took my mom to Paris. I am pregnant, and although unexpected and unplanned, and even though I thought I didn’t want kids, I am over the moon.
I could go on and on but I write all of this to give you an idea that I was not useless or worthless or any of the things I feared I would be when I got “older.” I also firmly believe that we should share our BFD’s (Big f*cking deals.)
When I worked in the restaurant I always remembered people. And what they the ordered last time they came in. And they were always blown away. Like remembering someone was such a big deal.
You know those people that play it cool? They act like they can’t quite place you? It’s as if they will seem vulnerable if they remember you. Or – heaven forbid THEY remember you and it’s not reciprocated. They will lose the upper hand.
I never worry about that – ever.
Well, it’s the same with things that happen in our lives.
Ever see people who have really big things happen and they try to make it like NO BIG DEAL, yo. I NEVER play it cool like that.
Why? Life is too short to not experience fully and go OH My GOD, THIS IS HAPPENING!! THIS IS A VERY BIG DEAL TO ME.
I guess people are afraid to look vulnerable, silly, uncool.
Lena asked me to perform onstage in a talent show so the audience could hear my message. “They need your message,” she said.
Um. I was onstage with Sara Bareilles, Elle King, Bleachers, Kevin Devine, Rachel Antonoff, Fred Armisen & more. That’s a big deal.
It’s an honor.
It’s a beautiful thing and I say celebrate the F out of it without worrying if you seem cool or not.
All of us – when we are excited about something – we should share it!
When you remember someone – go say hello, dammit! Make yourself vulnerable.
Also, I told my yoga class something yesterday (yes, I do teach occasionally when I am in L.A.) I told them that it felt utterly natural being onstage with them all. That’s when you know you’re in it.
When you are connected.
When you are good at what you do.
Listen to that. Pay attention to that. Celebrate that.
Now – tell me below some of your BFD moments (big f*cking deals) without worrying “But what if nobody else thinks it’s s BFD?” IT DOES NOT MATTER. A BFD could be getting out of bed on a day when you’re so depressed that you wanted to die. I will read each and every comment and celebrate you as if today is your birthday. Because you, my faithful readers, are a BFD to me. And don’t forget to tell your age and to own that shit.
Don’t believe the hype about getting older. If we all stop buying into the patriarchal ideas and start owning how beautiful it is and WHAT A PRIVILEGE it is to age- we will really start making leaps as women.
40 was the best year of my life.
Please, I implore you: look forward to this. Do not fear nor dread this. My birthday is today and as my gift I want you to share this post and tell me your age and your thoughts below. So much is possible!! Do not believe the lies! Hell, I’m having a baby in June! A little dude.
Also, please follow @girlpoweryouareenough and @jenpastiloff on Instagram. That is my birthday wish.