I celebrated another friend turning the big 40 this week. We went out on a Duffy boat, danced in the Newport harbour and laughed and loved and affirmed our girl Jen.
And it made me think about what I really wanted to tell her (if I was honest) about hitting this big milestone -now that I’m an expert nine months in.
Dear Jen, and all my peeps nearing 40,
Things happen to you when you age –sneaky things, weird things, and terrible awful surprises. And when you are in your thirties NO ONE TELLS YOU the whole truth.
There was a movie out recently –This is 40. And while funny, it wasn’t honest. Because 40 in all reality and not Hollywood land doesn’t look like that. In fact, I would suggest Hollywood makes us all feel MORE OLD because without a team of surgeons and trainers and LASIK, the rest of us look –well…40. The real 40.
So, I’m letting the cat out of the bag.
Here are the top five surprises to hitting middle age.
1. Spots. Are you scared yet? It’s true. Red spots, brown spots, more freckles, random dots. In fact if your kids are bored give them a pen and let them connect them for a fun car game. It’s like your dermal layer checks the time map, notes that you crested over the hill and BAM, a little age fairy tip-toes into your room at night and get’s out the markers. When I asked my dermatologist about it he claimed it was due to hormones, genetics and sun damage. He also mentioned he would be glad to laser them all off for a small fee comparable to my mortgage. (I’m guessing the tanning bed in my late teens was a very BAD idea)
2. Your metabolism hits the Sh*tter. Those cupcakes on the weekend –straight to your ass-ter-kosher. Margaritas’ and chips? You will pay. All of those years when you could indulge over the weekend and then be good on Monday are now OVER. Your vehicle is burning fewer calories and the high-speed octane days of the 2:00am Del Taco run are a distant memory. Unless you are eating A LOT less and training more, your body will change. Depending on your fortitude and state of mind you may want to fight this inevitable battle of the bulge or embrace the middle age spread. Good luck!
3. You become a SANDWICH. Did I throw you off on that one? By sandwich, I mean you get to deal with aging parents, teenagers and because so many of you waited to have kids until your late thirties –diapers too. You are hitting hospitals, prom and play dates all in the same week. You get to fight with your teen about innapropriate parties, search for the lost pacifier and manage your parent’s finances and healthcare all in the same day.
And the stress coming from every angle will make you a little CRAZY, which is why you will…
4. Adopt bizarre coping mechanisms. Like floating underwater in the bath and pretending you are in the Caribbean (until you get repetitive ear infections and your doctor confronts you), or you notice your husband disappearing to the mancave/bathroom for long stretches of time –and you know he’s not pooping that long and must be playing an online poker game. Maybe you become obsessed with a drink at Starbucks, indulge in the mommy sippy cup of wine or a nice meal out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Maybe you pull your hair out, dress your kids in matching outfits to self soothe through image management or sit on the floor and cry because your house is a mess. However you deal, avoid or succumb to the overwhelming feelings of chaos –life just seems to get more complicated as we age.
5. Your uterus tanks. I’m aware this is a female issue but this affects the dudes too. All of a sudden, instead of being so careful to not get pregnant and using birth control, you are forking over hard-earned cash for IVF and Chlomid to get one last shot at a baby. You used to buy condoms now you buy ovulation predictors. Your OBGYN is on a first name basis and you know all the ladies on the pregnancy forums and chat rooms –even if you never officially log in. And when did sex become so stressful? (Because when it’s go time –it’s go time)
(I also want to give a shout out to laugh lines, well-loved but sagging breasts, and random whiskers that appear on your chin. I don’t want to forget the beer gut, thinning hair, bald patch, and lowered levels of Testosterone for the guys. But, I couldn’t cover it all and it’s too freaking depressing anyway. )
So here’s to 40! It’s messy and challenging and wonderful. And there is no better way to celebrate than with your friends!