Age: 41 ½ and some change
Beyond the bio: “At 41, I often feel guilty about feeling more gypped than grateful about my life. I regularly make SMH-level mistakes that seem immature AF. When I do, my inner you-should-know-better-than-that voice of wisdom is always like, “WTF, Penny?” And yet, I keep on keeping on. Because at 41, my “GTFOH, Penny!” self-talk game is tight, my comebacks and bounce-backs have stickier than ever landings (though I seldom plant my feet where I expected). What can I say? Middle age has endowed me with the ability to more easily get over myself.”
1. On the nightstand: Bullshit or Fertilizer, written by my friend and one-half of myall-time favorite married couple. This is the simplest, most essential “do the damn thing already” self-help advice ever written for us Generation Xers who are late-70s born and 90s-era hip-hop bred. The book is small and succinct enough to read in a handful of toilet-seat sessions.
2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Deciding whether or not to switch from Sprint to Verizon. Changing my cellular provider has been a mental debate for at least 10 years.
3. Jam of the minute: The Poolside remix of Rhye’s “Feel Your Weight,” I also love Poolside’s reimagining of the Neil Young classic “Harvest Moon.”
4. Thing I miss: Those first few text messages from a new guy who’s 1) your age, 2) sexy, 3) legitimately smart, and 4) legitimately single. I was there as recently as a month ago, until the guy and I crossed that precarious, “texting but not actually hanging out” threshold that makes for poor communication and pent-up sexual tension. Soon enough, your flirtatious riffing with each other turns into a disagreement about Ice Cube’s “Today Was a Good Day.”
5. 80s crush: Michael Jackson. Specifically, Michael Jackson wearing a yellow vest, white button down with pushed up sleeves, and white slacks circa “Human Nature” photoshoot.
6. Current crush: Michael B. Jordan. Jeff Goldblum.
7. Will whine about: The shit show that can be dating—online or otherwise—in your 40s. Wishing that I could afford electrolysis (fucking chin hairs) and a chicer apartment befitting someone in their 40s. Wondering if, in my 40s, I could really have a serious, successful relationship with a twenty-something-year-old. I fell in love with a 28-year-old this summer, and I still think about him every day.
8. Will wine about: Unabashedly liking sweet wine. The more it tastes like Welch’s the better. In my 30s, I was sheepish about publicly professing my love for what may as well be alcoholic fruit juice. But now? IDGAF.
9. Best thing that happened recently: Yesterday (and just about every day): Calling my mom in Oklahoma, and saying, “Hey boo!” when she answers. Today: Sitting next to my father watching the Eagles play the Redskins as I wrap up another weeklong caretaker stint with him in North Carolina. My parents are my love lights. Sometimes I can’t help shining in the world, and I know that any brightness of mine is because of them.
10. Looking forward to: The end of this damn football game.