A friend of mine wrote a blog about being on the other side of 40, she is 42, and it was quite witty. She talked about being more comfortable with certain aspects of herself as she passed that Oh my crap I am 40 or over stuff. I also was a little surprised because she is gorgeous, runs the universe and has time to be a great Mom and fun friend still... and yet I guess even the "best" among us doesn't always know they are terrific.
I have not been one to really have issues with my age. I mean really if you know me for a long time and are a friend then telling you I am younger than I am seems either like dementia on my part or my thinking you have it. If we graduated from high school together ...ehem baby Einstein you were not so we are roughly the same age give or take a few months. My mother also once told me that if you are going to lie about your age add 2 -3 years so people can ooh and ahh at how well you look... otherwise looks like life may not have been kind if you deduct too much and people think "umm does she know about Botox?". Speaking of which I do not judge or fault you for plastic surgery, Botox or other "fillers", tucks, nips, etc... but a part of me thinks 1) hey I can no longer tell your emotions and I love the emotions that pass through a face and now you seem a bit frozen 2) elective surgery is an oxymoron - I would yeah elect never to need or have surgery 3) some people over do it ...your lips are not a life raft and should not be featured in that movie that they show on planes about emergency evacuations 4) in the end who are we fooling??? Having said all that if that is the choice someone makes and it makes them happy (hard to tell since expression doesn't change) well then that is up to them.
In my teens I worried -- and fretted - and counted. I worried if I looked ok, when I did not look ok, if I was too fat, too thin, too big chested, not showing them off enough. I worried if people liked me and worried why they did not. I fretted over things that in retrospect seem trivial and at the time seemed incredibly important (I mean really if he looked at me when I walked by - in reality it meant nothing - at the time it meant hours of discussion back and forth with my girlfriends). I counted the hours until I was older - until I did not need permission to do things - I willed the speeding up of the hours until I could walk by again or see that boy again or just do nothing again.
In my twenties I worried about how to cram as much possible fun into every moment. I fretted how to pay for first apartments, gas for my car, cigarettes or food (often cigarettes won) and where the next fun thing was going to be. I counted the days until the nights arrived, the weeks until vacations arrived, the songs and tears between the boys. I loved deeper but not deeply - I met someone who made my heart (or maybe it was another body part) take over my thinking - I lost that someone because he was a bit lost to begin with.
In my thirties I wondered if I would get married, if I wanted children, about world events more deeply. I focused more on career and changed the definition of fun. I chose to give up cigarettes. I fell in love in a way that I never understood until that moment - I am grateful for that love - it has become a part of who I became even though he did not get to take the trip with me. I had children - I moved to suburbs - I hated the suburbs - and then I let the place I lived not be the stereotype in my head but the great town it actually is where I found happiness. I said "I do" and now found myself worrying, fretting and counting about the kids - constant worrying, fretting about how I am parenting and the world they are getting, counting and trying to slow the hours so that the kids just don't shoot past me.
In my forties I stopped hating everything about my body - and just wound up disliking parts of it. I still have that insecurity but it does not define my hours. I count less calories and add up more laughter. There is a peace about understanding that the people I count as close friends like me and are here for me as I am for them and that we share a love and bond that is not the fragile one of teenage years or even twenties. The people who I choose to keep in touch with enhance my life and do not add to my fretting. I am ok being the funny, smart one and not sad that I am not going to be the stunning one (I let a few of my female friends do that and bask in it by their side)- I do not need to do it all (well ok I do need to do most of it and some days all because I am also a New York child and that doesn't stop at 40). I guess I just don't beat myself up about not doing it all.
As I approach 50 --- there it goes again did I write 50?!! - I think of the things I have not done and see that there is still time for some of them while understanding that those I did not get to, well maybe they were not meant to be. I smile at the memories of a few times I should have let my heart go instead of telling myself that it would have been rejected. There is also the fact that I no longer worry about the bedroom.. you know in your early years you have that dialogue constantly in your head "what does he think?".."how long before I can let him do xx"..."oh my I did xx and will he call?"....Victoria the Secret is your stuff is not that comfy...see at 40+ I no longer believe the myths about women and sex - instead I embrace busting them.
As I approach 50 I look forward to getting toward a place where my children need me for my brain rather than only for my laundry and basic need skills. So I will never be a size 0, even when I die and decompose, as long as I am healthy and not a size 50 (cause that is not some place I would be happy) then I will not beat myself up. There is a lot of wine still to be drunk, places to see and laughter to create memories with those I care about with. I am this side of 40 this side that is closer to 50 and I think I will start planning that party that says "oh yeah I made it and I still have a way to go before I am done". That bucket list has changed and so have I - cannot wait to see what the other side of 50 brings.