It’s funny what little kids get fixated on. Right now Lulu is really preoccupied with the fact that I’m 41. Seriously. She brings it up at the oddest times.
These are just two examples. There have been more.
“Oh, it’s 3:41. 41 . Just like you, mom.”
Thanks? I guess.
The other night, I had some girlfriends over and we were eating takeout tacos at my dining room table. The Hubs was keeping the kids out of our hair for the night; but Lulu meandered over to the table and whispered in my ear. “You’re 41, mama.”
First of all, she came out of nowhere and startled me with her stealthiness. Second of all, what the heck? Why is she so determined to remind me of how old I’ve become?
40 was hard for me, people. I was dreading it. 40 is the middle. When I think of the middle, I think of being stuck. I was always the smallest one with the shortest legs and so I sat in the middle of the backseat. The most uncomfortable seat in the car!
At this stage in life The Hubs and I are not “the young newlyweds” anymore. I had to start buying dye in the box to cover my gray. I thought the lines around my eyes would go away with a few good nights of sleep. When they didn’t, I realized that’s just the way my face is now.
Then there was the mammogram.
Happy Birthday! And congratulations are turning 40! Come in and stand by this cold, unfeeling machine while you awkwardly stand there and let a stranger grab your boobs, put them in between two plastics plates and then squeeze them flatter than you thought was humanly possible. That was a day for the history books.
The day after my Happy Birthday Boob Squeezing, we had to put our dog of 12 years, Jackson, down. I cried for weeks and weeks.
The week before I turned 40, I woke up to the room spinning. I had vertigo. The room spun for 3 days and I could barely stand or walk. I couldn’t drive for 3 weeks. I had always associated vertigo with an ailment older people got. This just threw me further into the depths of despair. (Since then, I’ve come to know of people young and old who have suffered from vertigo.)
What do you do when you turn the age you are dreading? You have a huge party, of course! Still recovering from vertigo, one of my best friends and I had a joint 40th birthday bash and it was off the hook. (Yes, I said “off the hook”. I’m 41!!)
So you see, 40 was memorable. It was memorable for good and bad reasons. But 40 came and went. 41 is here and in just couple of days I will say good-bye to that number, too. Maybe Lulu is just enamored with the fact that she knows my age and it’s new information that she’s mulling over in her little 8 year old mind. Maybe that’s why she mentions it EVERY OTHER DAY. Maybe I’m just thinking about the fact that now that I’m knee- deep into my 40’s, birthdays seem to be a bit anti-climatic. Especially after my vertigo hazed 40th bash. I don’t know, but this getting oldER thing (Notice, I didn’t say “old”.) has been on my mind lately.
Here’s the thing about being in my 40’s, though. Maybe some of you reached this sort of freedom in your 30’s. I’m kind of a late bloomer. Maybe I didn’t get here until now because my kiddos are still little and so there’s all that mommy comparing crap still going on.
But…… I’m much more comfortable in my skin now at 42 (almost) than I was in my 30’s. I know who I am, the strengths and weaknessess. I’m okay with both. I’m not trying to change things about myself anymore. Now I just know what things fit me and what don’t. I know what I want to spend my time doing and what I don’t. I know the kind of people I like to be with and who aren’t my cup of tea. It helps me say no more often than I used to.
When I was young(er) I used to think that being in your 40’s meant you were all established and had it all together. I don’t have it all together and the pressure to have it all together is lessening every year. Because guess what I’ve realized? I’m never going to have it all together. But that hasn’t kept me from being extremely happy and fulfilled. There’s so much I want to do still, so much I want to learn, and so much more in life to do.
Yes, I’m in that middle group. I can’t deny it. But I’m not stuck. One person’s middle is another person’s starting point for something new. I honestly can’t tell anymore who is in there 30’s, 40’s or 50’s. You all look so good. Umm…. I can spot the 20 somethings a mile away, though. And when I hear people say, “Age is just a number.” I get it now.
I was so relieved and heartened the other night (as I giggled with girlfriends over tacos and took silly pictures) that I don’t act my age (what ever that means!). I know I’ll be giggling when I’m 82.
So, ya. I’m 41, almost 42. Get over it!!! You know I’m saying that to myself, right? Okay, I think I’m over it now.