Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Fortieth Year

Halloween 2010
NYE 2008
So, to look at the photos I've chosen, along with the title of this post, you'd think I was EXCITED about turning 40 next year.  Well, you'd be half-correct.  

I suppose I'm thrilled to have gotten to that place where, yeah, I "know better."  I know better than to drink too much at a party when I have to get up with the kids and walk the dog the next morning.  I know better than to make an illegal U-turn in front of my kids' school... and I accept full responsibility when I slip up and do it anyway.  I know better than to buy every new season's fashion trends (although buying a couple of them do make my closet seem happier).  I know I need to use sunscreen religiously -- with a hat -- or else I'll look like the crypt keeper before too long.  I know that if I decide to hack off my hair into a pixie cut, it will be a slow, painful growing-out process.  I know that I'm better off being on this side of my 30s (the late side) than on the other one, when I was still trying so hard to figure my shit out.

But now I'm in the throes of my 40th year.  Sure, as Raf keeps reminding me, I just turned 39 in August.  But I realized that, if babies are considered to be in their 1st year throughout those first 12 months of their lives outside the womb, then I'm already in my 40th year, calendar be damned.  Yes, yes, I like that I'm still in my 30s, no need to rush to the "finish line" of 40, blah blah, but this 40th year thing is driving me a little nuts.

I'm trying to tease it out.  Why are you menacing me?  I'll ask this shadow of 40, as it pops up and sits next to me while I'm having a quiet cup of coffee.  I have months to go before I have to let you into my house.

I want you to take stock, 40 says, whispering in my ear.  What do you want to do?  Then 40 does an impression of the caterpillar from "Alice in Wonderland," puffing on a pipe and asking, Who ARE you?

I am me.  That's all.  I'm a different me than I was at 20 -- hence the creams and vitamin C serum and crazy ballet-style class and cleaner diet -- but I don't think I'd go back to 20 unless I could bring my 39-year-old's point-of-view with me.  And there's the rub, right? 

So I guess it's on, 40.  Bring it.  You have 10 months to prepare, and so do I.  I'll be ready.  Will you?

1 comment:

  1. Love this! I, too, heard that caterpillar...and my answer would probably be different at any decade in my life. And with that, say, "I've made mistakes, but no regrets" that's a lofty goal, but one I'm trying to reach.