Canada Day, July 1st which is our equivalent to the American holiday, the 4th of July, doesn’t just mean babecues, fireworks and a paid day off work, it means that my birthday is about a week away. This year, I’m turning 40..! How the hell did this happen? In the blink of an eye I went from a young woman to a middle aged woman. Ugh. MIDDLE AGED. This is how we perpetually think of our Mothers. Old, middle aged, pleated pants wearing, concerned with sales and the cost of heating, 6 o’clock news watching, gas passing, laughing randomly at inappropriate times, woman. It probably wouldn’t bother me as much if I didn’t have so many younger people in my life, it makes me wonder if they see me like that. I mean, I don’t wear pleated pants… Yet.
There was a time when people’s heads would turn and look at me as I walked to work, I was attractive, of course at that time I didn’t think so. Not really, I mean- I knew I wasn’t a hideous Shrek, but… If I knew then what I know now I would have embraced my youth more. I spent so much of it sleeping late, watching Melrose Place, and concerning myself with pleasing other people. That’s how it goes though right? As you age you are filled with increasing regrets. For example, I really regret being so filled with angst in my youth that I wasted it away. I blame Kurt Cobain for this. Of course, he chose the chicken shit way out, he thought it was better to die than to fade away. Thanks Kurt, for leaving a legion of fans with nothing but depressing music and a lack of hope in the future.
Nowadays, I have more of a chance that heads will turn to look at me because I have sneezed loudly, had a “sneak away” fart, or ran my shopping cart in to an end cap at the grocery store. I am that woman who you allow to cross at a crosswalk only to have her trip over her own giant man feet along the way. Yes, I am that awkward.
It would seem the first 40 years flew by, in a flash of various hair styles/colors, men, (until I came out as a lesbian), friends, illnesses and a plethora of residences. What I have to show for it now is a trail of dead end jobs, night terrors, chronic illness and a killer sense of humor. I am married with dogs so that’s a highlight. I also have a fish, but quite frankly, he’s an asshole. I refuse to shed light on the life of “Steve: The Betta” a mystery he is and a mystery he shall remain.
I’d like to say, what do the next 40 years have in store for me? But I’m realist and a smoker (at the time of writing this) so- maybe 20 years if I’m lucky.
I can tell I’m aging because I worry about different things than I used to. I used to worry that my make up wasn’t perfect or I had an unruly cowlick sticking up. I worried that friends were mad at me, whether I’d have money to go out with, whether my bra strap would break at school and I’d have to walk around campus ALL DAY with one jiggly boob. Things I worry about now are whether it will rain the following day causing an arthritis flare up making me cranky and miserable, or if I have to be somewhere that I REALLY don’t want to be the next day. Will I have a satisfying bowel movement in the morning? These are my thoughts.
I’m hoping that the saying, “40 is the new 30” is true. I mean mentally, I’m much younger; I’m a total goof, plus I have dimples which in my opinion, makes you appear younger than you actually are. My hopes for the future are to simply feel happy and fulfilled. It sounds so easy when you break it down in to two simple words doesn’t it? I struggle with feeling happy because of Fibromyalgia, arthritis and the depression that comes with that and years of trauma and struggle. I plan to work on this in the future, to enjoy the good moments more and dismiss the bad ones. I want to spend this phase of my life focusing on family and those I consider family. I want to be less selfish in my misery and be stronger to cope with it. I want to focus on the things that really matter and not waste time on the trivial. I also want to focus on my health in hopes of gaining some reprise from daily pain and chronic fatigue.
I will be devoting more of my time reaching my writing goals. I would love to publish a book of short stories, possibly a novel or a screenplay. I have lots of ideas, I just need the discipline and patience to bring them to fruition.
How do you feel about turning 40? Or if you have turned 40, did it affect you at all? Did you fixate on it or feel apprehensive about it? I’d love to hear from you in my comments.
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
“Canadian Flag On Grunge Paper ” by sippakorn www.freedigitalphotos.net
“Number Forty Surprise Box Means Unexpected Celebration Or Party” by Stuart Miles www.freedigitalphotos.net
Sparky Lee Photo is mine