When you're born, you're cool. Period. Your wrinkles are cute and at least one person out there loves you unconditionally. You've got your whole life ahead of you, so no matter how much of a loser you're destined to be, everybody still imagines you're going to Harvard.
Coolness in your teens depends on your personal experience, but for myself this was a low point. I had braces in high school. Enough said.
In your 20's, you're way cool. You don't give a rat's ass about the world at large, the awkward body issues you had as a teen are ironing out and, well, you're hot. Some of your hotness is due to sheer youth. You're in great shape and you've got hair where it's supposed to be. You've most likely made it through college and the world is your oyster. Even if you didn't go to Harvard, you still have time to f**k up your career and personal life and turn them around later.
Here's where it gets tricky: the 30's. Your coolness is rapidly descending with each breath you take. You become aware that your eggs are drying up (thanks, mom) and there is indeed a biological clock. You get married. One major life event where your coolness starts to slip away. You're no longer a young, party going vixen, you're a WIFE. Off the market. You gain a spouse and lose your prior identity all at the same time, even if you don't change your name. The up side, however, is that you've become a woman who's confident in her own skin. I think 32 is my ideal age.
Notice the dip below the bar at 40. A 40-year-old woman is the most uncool person on the planet. Those fine lines are showing, gravity is your enemy and now you need mammograms. You went from wife to MOTHER. I know celebrity moms would have you believe you can be a "cool mom," but it's just a distraction from the fact that nobody wants to hire them anymore either because of their age. (Note: the sheer use of the word "cool" is uncool). This is when you find yourself saying to your husband, "They don't make music like they used to." You get a little jump in coolness in this decade because you embrace your plight and possibly have the MILF factor going. You may also have achieved some professional success by this point that makes the uncoolness more palatable.
The good news is that we do have something to look forward to. We get to watch our kids grow while reaching that age where only a scalpel can make you look 30. So you don't have to spend so much effort trying to fool everybody (unless you live here in LA). Coolness skyrockets when you get into the 80's thanks to the Betty White factor.
All of this is, frankly, exhausting. But since I'm not getting any cooler, I keep wishing LO could see the me that's still this side of cool. When she's older, she'll never be able to believe I used to be a fun-loving young person too. I tried cigarettes, went to keg parties and was once an athlete, but she won't know that version of me. To her, I'll just be Mom. I want to document this time with her and through writing and pictures, preserve little postcards from her youth so hopefully she can know the complete me. Before the winds of uncoolness carry me away. Quick, I can see the trees swaying...