I’m not totally sure when it happened.
Maybe it was when my OB used the phrase “advanced maternal age” during my second pregnancy. It might have been the time my witty Friends joke bombed at the preschool party because the other mom wasn’t old enough to watch the show.
(insert soul dying)
Perhaps it was when my last Netflix suggestion to my offspring was met with an eye roll and the comment, “Is this another ancient looking movie from when you were little?”
Your loss, kid. If you don’t appreciate the greatness that is Labrynth, I can’t save you. The future of humanity is bleak, y’all.
Anyway, I figured it out. I’m getting old. My 40th birthday is on the horizon, and before I remind you to respect your elders and get off my lawn, I’ve got some great news to share.
This age is AWESOME.
I was thinking about all the poor whippersnappers out there who made it this far despite not experiencing Ross and Rachel’s first kiss in the coffee shop. With that kind of start to adulthood, you deserve to know that turning 40 is sort of the best thing ever. So go ahead and let that worry go. And pretend like you’ve seen The Princess Bride when I mention it, or we will have to break up.
My twenties were a blur of corporate success, raising a dog, and eating at restaurants that didn’t stock crayons. I also vaguely remember talking to my husband about whatever we talked about before we had these children.
I was consumed with career choices and getting ahead. I worried about knowing the right people, making flawless impressions, and setting up my future. It was a whirlwind decade of fun and frequently crippling uncertainties best summed up by the question, “Am I doing this right???”
Then, the thirties. Oh, my beautiful and heart wrenching thirties. I met my babies. I became a mother. All the fear and doubt and indescribable joy . . . it’s amazing I’m still alive. From picking a suburb (I bid you farewell, fancy restaurant with no chicken strips), to infertility, to a special needs diagnosis — we hit all the Big Stuff. Decisions loomed at every turn. Should I stop working? Should he go to preschool? Should we have more kids? Am I going to keep this extra skin flap around my belly? Thirties are not for the faint of heart.
And then, like the moment I realize I’m alone in the car and can switch from Kidz Bop to Snoop Dogg, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I’m at peace with me.
I feel good about myself, friends! While it’s a shame that my neck skin seems slightly loose all of a sudden, getting older means I like me. And I can pay someone to fix the neck. I’ve heard it said before and was skeptical, but it’s not a myth! Turning 40 is magical, and I’m about to own this decade. Why?
I don’t care if people don’t like me.
It’s true. I’m a lifelong people pleaser. I will always care about being nice and helping everyone I can, but it has changed into something far more healthy in the past year. I don’t wring my hands over what impression I just made on those new moms at the PTA event. I don’t say yes when I meant no, or smile when I’m actually upset. Life experience means that I’m confident in who I’ve become. If I’m at peace with God, my husband and children, I’m good. If someone doesn’t agree, that’s absolutely okay. The superfluous “someone” actually doesn’t matter. Who knew?
40 year olds, that’s who.
I’m confident in ways I never imagined. I’ve embraced my
always occasionally over-the-top personality. I used to pretend to be quieter and more serene. I spent years trying to limit my sarcastic comments in a new crowd. When I’m really happy and excited about something, I tend to be a lot like Will Ferrell’s character in Elf. Or Oprah during her “Favorite Things” episodes. You get the gist. But it’s not cool to jump up and down with glee and hug everyone within arms reach all the time. Unless you are 40, at which point you realize that you’re awesome. Even if it embarrasses your kids. And possibly your husband. “YOU get a hug! And YOU get a hug!” **throws glitter and high fives**
Bottom line? I’m suddenly owning it, y’all. I’m proud of the woman I am, scars and all. I still have no idea what I’m doing half the time. My boys are nine and four, and there’s a 98 percent chance that I’m directly responsible for any and all therapy in their future. However, age really does equal wisdom.
I forgive myself and move on when I don’t get it right the first time. I recognize my good intentions and my unending love for my family. I know that I’m imperfect, yet honor myself for doing the best I can. I’m not worried about the people who judge me. Also, I’m fully down with leggings as pants. I will freely admit that I love 90’s gangsta rap. I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I put up my Christmas decorations in November because I love them so much. If you are being a jerk, I’m probably going to tell you. If I want to chop all my hair off, I’m going to do it. Seriously, this decade is going to be my jam.
Where are my fellow old folks? Did you feel the shift in personality as you neared the Big 4-0? Crank up some old school Salt N’ Peppa and tell me your favorite thing about being in your late 30s and 40s!