It’s been about a month now and I’ve gotta say, I like being 40. Not that it’s so different from 39 or the preceding years, but the perception shift is enjoyable. I was raised to be one of those “nice girls,” but with each year that passes I care less about whether people like me. Am I sloppy, careless, bitchy? Dunno, maybe a little depending on the day and the context. But overall I’m good with myself and if you don’t like it, bite me.
Also liberating is not caring what I look like as much as I once did. If I manage to get make up on, I’m pleased. But if not, oh well. Society is so dumb for valuing women based on their appearance. If only I could have back all the energy, time and dollars wasted on vain attempts to fix things about myself that weren’t wrong to begin with.
Now that I’m no longer a spring chicken, I don’t even have to pretend to live up to the beauty ideal. And when I do get dolled up, it’s for myself because I deserve to feel good (and my husband … he deserves it too).
Also, it’s not the end of the world if I’m carrying around a few extra pounds. Hubbs and kids couldn’t love me more than they already do, and I like how I look in clothes. There are much more important things to worry about right now than my waistline. So that’s that.
Worry: it still lords over me like a sword of Damocles but, less so than it once did. Years of experience have shown me that worry is a waste of time. 99% of the time the worst case scenario does not materialize. And when it does I have the fortitude and support to deal with whatever comes.
I have friends who complain about being old which is absurd. 40 is young. I’m planning to be around for at least another 40. The way I see it everything up to now has just been training for what’s to come. Maybe I’m foolishly optimistic. Maybe I’ll just be going sideways for the remainder of my days on Earth … catering to my kids and having no personal growth and nothing of my own to look forward to. But I don’t think so.
There is always something new to learn. A new challenge. No matter the age. What I like about this time is that I realize that … and I still have a relatively young and functional body … no aches or pains or conditions to deal with. I am so very grateful for my health and the health of my family. I know what I want and how to pursue it. So yeah, this is 40 and I dig it.
I decided to start blogging again. Very two thousand and three of me, I know. And if you’re reading this now it means that for one day at least I’ve found a way – the focus – to write on the train. New Jersey Transit, where I spend three or more hours a day, Monday through Friday, sitting, schlepping. Waiting impatiently to either get to my office in Manhattan or my home in suburban NJ.
I aspire to be a positive person and to see “problems” as opportunities. But I have a very strong Larry David streak in me. I get hung up on the inane, exasperating, slow witted behaviors of strangers and kvetch about it. Riding the train everyday, one can’t escape the banality of her own existence. We like to think we’re special, but we’re all just coming and going, in both the macro and micro sense.
Part of why I am blogging again is simply to get my brain working again. It’s been a bit dead over the past two years as I’ve been busy making a massive life overhaul. Before all of this, I used to read, I used to write, I used to challenge my own intellect. For all my complaining about having no time I can certainly spend less of my attention on stupid social media and endlessly checking my work email. I can read real books and thought pieces instead of crappy Buzzfeed listicles. And occasionally, I can write!
“ Forget all rules, forget all restrictions, as to taste, as to what ought to be said, write for the pleasure of it…” – William Carlos Williams
Three years ago at this time I lived with my dog and cat in the East Village, went to Yoga 4 times a week and was an inveterate New Yorker. If you told me that by age 40, I’d be a married, Mom to three, home-owning suburban commuter I’d ask you what you were smoking (and could I perhaps have some of that?). But, here I am, living my dream alongside my perfect partner, raising a family that I cherish. #ThisIs40
A big part of how I’ve historically defined myself is that “I always do my best.” As a kid it was in school and sports. As an early adult it was career and self. Now that I’m also a wife and Mom, I have even more to do my best at. A big part of it is pride. I’m a Leo after all. I’m competitive, and my parents raised me to be tough, resilient and resourceful. As far as “leaning in” and all that theoretical discussion of working motherhood…I find aspects I can relate to, but I don’t think about it too much because I don’t have the time. My focus is on the day ahead and how the hell will everything get done without anyone or anything important getting hurt, forgotten, or overlooked. First do no harm. One thing I’m learning is not to dwell on or feel guilty about minor incidents and impediments. Onward! The health and welfare of my family takes precedence over all. Don’t sweat the petty stuff and don’t pet the sweaty stuff!