Holy fuck, I’m forty. I’m sure my mother is cringing right now as she reads that statement. Not for the fact her youngest daughter is “over the hill”, but more that she wasted so much money on my English degree for my writing to rely on F-bombs. She doesn’t understand there is actual shock behind the realization I’m middle-age. Which aptly earned a good-hearted and earnest “fuck.”
I’ve passed the hump. The mystical line where “so many opportunities” lived on one side. Now I’ve traveled to the harsh reality of “this is the life I chose.” It’s been a difficult process for me. I’ve had lovely people try to be supportive by reassuring me “it’s not so bad.” People recollecting their best forty-something stories. They laugh and smile because what else are they going to do? They could say the worst sentiment ever, which is “it’s better to turn forty than not turn forty.” Ugh, seriously people, I’m not that self-pitying. Or maybe I am.
I’ve written this blog ten times over. Sometimes I choose to highlight all the fun I’ve experienced this year. Other times I want to talk about the stuff I still plan to do. Both come off as trying to prove to myself that this isn’t so bad. I’m living the life I want, right? What more could I want? (To be thirty again, that’s what.) I’m grabbing life by the balls and playing by my own rules. I’m cliché-ing this blog to death without any apologies. This is living the dream, right?
I’m not sure if I’ve always been this worried about forty or if I’ve worked myself into a tizzy for blog entertainment. If the latter, I didn’t do myself any favors. Here I am, with the day facing straight on, and I lack the grace many have shown when their day arrived. Maybe they weren’t poised, but they didn’t take to a blog to write about it. Or maybe they did and I missed the link. Go ahead, console me and put it in the comments.
Most wonder why? What’s my problem with getting older? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I guess I never really thought it would happen. Somehow youth goes on indefinitely even though I love all the things that have come because of age. Having an eleven year old son would be awkward if I followed it up with only being twenty-one myself. Traveling to Mexico, San Francisco, and Seattle never would’ve happened on my twenty-something budget. Rocking mature friends who are normal enough to hold jobs, smart enough not to get arrested, and daring enough to put their noses on strangers wasn’t always something I found in my early thirties.
So if I have all that, why do I hate this number? Maybe because then it’s over. I won’t be wondering what it’s like to be forty because it will be what I am. I’ve celebrated with parties all year long with the excuse of this milestone birthday, with even more spectacular events still to come. Really what I’ve discovered this year is turning forty has encouraged me to be fearless. To not put off to tomorrow what I should have done yesterday. Visit old friends. Tell people they matter. Dare to keep chasing a dream.
In fact, I now finish this blog with the day already here. I’ve been humbled by the love shown to me today. Bestie threw an outrageous shindig at our office. (Seriously, it was so spectacular I shocked her with a hug.) I’ve received birthday wishes from long time friends and friends in far away places. And I ended the night with a small home celebration where Hubs covered every counter with confetti while the kids blew party horns. It’s these things which give me pause, to enjoy what forty really represents. It symbolizes all the wonderful people I’ve met, the terrific adventures I’ve taken, the soul-filling family I’m blessed with. I will be lucky to have the same reflection when I turn fifty. Because turning fifty is better than not turning fifty, right?