So 2016 is the year I turn forty. I’m not sure how well I’m going to handle it. I’m constantly reading posts with titles like “Life Begins at Forty!” and “Forty is When Life Gets Good!”. Hmmm…. Well, I’m trying to stay positive as I hurtle toward this milestone but lately I’ve definitely been feeling my age. I will admit that I can list many good points to being…older. However, I also can list many, many not so great reasons why forty is most definitely NOT “The New Thirty”.
I’ll start with those:
My more recent Christmas “gifts” have included: a new transmission, a new stove, and a new ceiling in my dining room to fix the damage from my leaking bathroom (oh and a new shower). I was excited about all of them.
Saturday nights are often laundry nights. Every other Saturday night is bed-changing night.
If I drink more than two glasses of wine while out silliness, tripping, and spilling will ensue. More than two glasses of wine consumed at home leads to extreme sleepiness.
I have aches and pains in strange places and no idea how I injured anything.
I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed.
Instead of receiving wedding invitations we hear about divorces. Instead of attending baby showers I attend “graduations” from pre-k, sixth grade, middle school…
Several of my friends have lost a parent and I’m increasingly concerned about losing mine.
I no longer chat with other parents at “baby gyms” or playgrounds. I see parents at our kids’ sporting events, school concerts, and awards nights.
Instead of talking about saving money to have children and to buy a home, my husband and I discuss saving for college tuition and retirement.
My garbage goes out more often than I do and my children have a more active social life than their parents.
If we do get out with other couples we ask each other about extremely depressing things. Who has cancer? Whose marriage fell apart? Who did you use to write your wills? How much life insurance do you have? Are you considering private high school for the kids? Can you give me the name of your roofer? Who did your bunion surgery?
Instead of buying formula and diapers at the store I’m buying teen deodorant, feminine products designed for teens, and nail polish (so, so, so much nail polish). I also spend a lot of time examining products such as eye cream, wrinkle erasers, and age-defying moisturizers.
I watch MTV and NICK awards shows with my tweens and I have heard of absolutely NONE of the performers.
I’m constantly telling my kids to turn things down. Everything is always too noisy for my comfort level.
I can no longer refer to my OB-GYN as “my OB” since I’m not planning on any more babies. He’s my “GYN” and we discuss symptoms of pre-menopause instead of prenatal nutrition and I make appointments for mammograms instead of ultrasounds.
When my friends and I decide to spend an evening together we decide, nine times out of ten, to simply gather at someone’s house rather than go out. Dress up? Wear heels? Stand around a tiny table paying $9 for a glass of wine and sharing a $16 appetizer? No thanks. Yoga pants and flip flops, a table filled with snacks, and homemade drinks are much more appealing to tired mamas looking for a break.
I’ll end with some of the good:
My husband and I are finally feeling like we are getting our act together with this whole life-money-parenting-marriage-work balance thing.
My kids (mostly) sleep through the night and require much less from me to take care of their basic needs.
I’m finally figuring out the best alignment for my priorities and I’m learning how to say “no” to commitments, people, and opportunities that are not in my (or my family’s) ultimate best interests.
My husband and I can now “take back the house” as our kids are less likely to spill and destroy things and all of the baby-proofing gear can be removed. We are beginning to renovate spaces and buy nice things again.
I’m pretty sure I know what I want to do “when I grow up” and I get to do it every day (and get paid to do it!).
I know my strengths and weaknesses. I take pride in my accomplishments and I no longer apologize for my weaknesses. I know who I am and I will not change anything about myself for anyone else. If I’m unhappy with a habit or a characteristic, I’ll change it for me and for me only.
So that is (almost) forty for me. I’m going to do my best to dance into my forties with grace, humor, and pride—if I’m not already asleep from the wine.