Every time I’m forced to admit how old I am, it comes with a grunt and a “yeeeaaah, 39” which almost sounds apologetic and desperately hopeless because I’m now that much closer to a box of Depends and a senior citizen discount.
Apparently, numbers don’t lie, and next year I’ll be turning exactly four decades old.
FOUR FREAKING DECADES.
One day you’re in your prime years, everything still functions the way it should, your skin bounces and glows and you feel like nothing is ever going to change. Oh these old people in their late thirties and up? OMG… So old. So sad. Horrible. What’s left for them?
And then BAM!!!
You basically go from celebrating immortality each year straight to “crap, not my birthday, not my birthday, not my birthday AGAIN!”
I SHOULD feel old, I guess…
Things clearly aren’t the same anymore.
Why did my husband feel like James Bond being called “Sir” at the age of 20 and why does he still feel like James Bond being called “Sir” at the age of 40 while I’m being referred to as “Ma’am” now which has the appeal of a moist fungus?
“Um, excuse me, ma’am, can I see your ID? Do you need a hand with your 58 bags of groceries, ma’am?” “Watch your step, ma’am.”
I recently found out that all it takes is ONE wrong move for your 39-year-old body to become a royal pain in the ass. I’m talking excruciating pain that can only be relieved by sudden death or a nice floral walking cane.
New moms approach me with ease and ask me questions about their baby’s health and engorged lactating breasts. In other words, my age-old baby advice is now valuable to young people.
Speaking of babies, God forbid my archaic 39-year-old uterus woke up one of these days and coughed up the ancient cobwebs and bats and somehow managed to get pregnant again – my medical chart would read ELDERLY MULTIGRAVIDA followed by three exclamation points. AKA, GRANDMA WITH A BUMP.
Regardless of how young or old I feel though, one thing is certain.
This year IS different.
This is my last full year of thirties (hand me a tissue, please) and maybe even the last year of ever being young. A lot has changed for sure…
THIS IS MY 39:
Nice to meet you…?
It took me exactly 39 years to realize that I am who I am and that it’s OK to not be like everyone else. I’m an introvert with a very low threshold for BS and small talk who can read people. Who knew?! Trying to impress others? So 4 years ago.
I give way less crap about what others think of me now. I can literally fall down in a crowded place and get back up and not really care. For someone that couldn’t eat a whole apple on the subway in the not so distant past, this one blows my 39-year-old mind.
I have way more fight in me now. Which can go both ways, depending on the turn of events.
I haven’t yet figured out if this is the more mature me or raging pre-menopausal hormones, but I always have my back. If you happen to see my paling husband take a few steps to the side at a public event where our kids’ homemade snacks are about to be confiscated by an overweight security guard in the name of available-for-purchase load of crap, I WILL have spoken. Run!!!
So I found this thing on my skin…
Before me and my friends got old, we’d go to bars and clubs and talk about men. Clothes. Food. Parties. Spending money. Cool vacations. Stuff.
Our conversations these days over a single glass of wine and a shared plate of goat cheese, quinoa and collard greens at a local restaurant are still lengthy but have shrunk to debates over how to save our rotting teeth, how to heal our gut, the S.O.B. mineral deficiencies, old-school cremation or the Living Urn???
The 20-something-year-olds sitting next to us are giving us looks, thinking “OMG… So old. So sad. Horrible. What’s left for them?”
Doctors, service people, teachers, neighbors, store associates, and pretty much over half the entire population including librarians is now younger than me. (…the hell???)
Young attractive people are just that. Young attractive people. Zac Efron? Oh of course I know who he is. He’d be a great son to have. (Old. Old. Ooooold.)
I think I can, I think I can — I think I can?!?
Has fitness become the new middle age crisis?
At any given time, about 8 out of every 10 people I know are either running half marathons, marathons, triathlons, hard-core obstacle races or endurance trials of some sort, or training for any of these.
None of us were even remotely interested in that kind of thing when we actually had the vitality and stamina to cross the finish line without tears or a cardiac arrest.
People talk about cycling to work, too. (And by people, I mean my husband.) This Lycra-clad mid-life crisis is for realz, man…
The stupid mirror on the wall…
Those hideous bags under my eyes? Oh that will go away as soon as I sleep back the 5,000 years I lost being a mom.
Wrinkles? What wrinkles?! Leaning towards the mirror in disbelief. It’s not so bad…? There’s a cream for that, right? RIGHT?!
But, even denial eventually wears off.
This is it. The mirror doesn’t lie. The wrinkles are permanently attached to my face, and this is my new best.
It can be unsettling.
My mind says BOTOX — but my heart says HELL NO!!!
You know what actually scares me way more than physical signs of aging though?
Not about the things I did that I wish I hadn’t done but about the things I didn’t do when I still had the time.
I have plans. So many plans! And time is ticking.
I guess I could lament over the fact that I’m almost 40. 40 isn’t the new 25. It is 40 and not a day less.
But I think there is hope in taking chances and living our lives to the fullest while letting our laugh lines procreate.
For when we lie on our deathbed, life experiences are the ONLY things that will have truly mattered…
This is my 39.