It’s upsetting that it is upsetting. 40 that is. Yet here I am, giving my self away in a blog full of incomplete sentences to try and get my point across. It started on this day, last year, when I turned 39. It was a gnawing, unsettling feeling that I figured must be hormones. I’m not the kind of gal who gets caught up in age, I mean, you are only as young as you feel, and forty is the new thirty, and age is just a number and blah, blah, blah…but the feeling was there and it grew a little more every day for the next 365 days. And here we are. Today I’m 40. To be clear, I’m thrilled to be alive and healthy. Frankly, I think it’s silly that I need to clarify that. Some things should be understood without being spoken. It’s kinda like when someone asks a pregnant woman if she would like to have a boy or a girl. She replies with “girl” and the person adds, “oh but as long as it’s healthy, right?” Well of course you ding dong. That should be understood without saying. I certainly would not rather have an unhealthy girl with perhaps a tail and a horn, over a healthy boy. Good grief. So, I’m thrilled to be alive and healthy and be 40, but 40 has freaked me out.
My friends that have already crossed the 40 line have made it look so effortless. I’ve been embarrassed about my struggle. They have given me the best advice and encouragement I could ever hope for and it has really helped. One thing they all have told me is how liberating 40 feels. You finally know who you are. You don’t worry about what others think. You speak your mind confidently. I’ve read hilarious blogs with the same revelations. It gets me super pumped up, and for like 5 minutes I feel like I’m gonna burn my bra and run for president. Then my realization sets in and I start feeling bummed again. The fact is, none of that is new for me. I’ve known exactly who I was for a long time. I have a whole lot of questions about a whole lot of things, but dog gone it, I know who I am. I have no problem speaking my mind and an unfortunate byproduct of that is diarrhea of the mouth. Right or wrong, I will run my pie hole with all the confidence in the world. Bless my heart. No. None of those revelations will be granted to me when I turn 40. I have been quite liberated since I was about 12.
I’ve gone over it many times in the last year, trying to figure out exactly what is it that has me so tore up about 40. I’ve drank more water. I’ve used my oils. I’ve done yoga. I’ve moisturized my wrinkles. None of that mattered, because none of that is my problem. Back in August we went to Graceland with my beloved Sarah. I just about fell over dead when I realized Elvis was only 42 when he died. 42!? All this time I thought he was….old when he died. I walked through his house and watched his movies and interviews and it seemed to me that as he had gotten older, and all of the newer and younger bands were coming on the scene, he was struggling with staying relevant in his time. So maybe that was it. Maybe I was afraid of not being relevant anymore. Sarah straightened me right out on that thing. With her hands on her hips and that head poppin she said, “Are you kidding me? You won’t LET yourself become irrelevant!” It made me feel better, that’s for sure, but as time went on I realized that wasn’t really the thing that was bothering me about 40 either. So what’s the problem?
Like most answers in my life, it donged on me while I was doing hair. Donged. Like a bell. I was teasing, and spraying, and talking, just like I do every day, and all of a sudden the real truth just started sliding right out of my mouth. I was surprised as anyone to hear it. The thing is, it’s not 40 that freaks me out. It’s the season that comes with 40. 40 is the season of letting go and THAT is my problem. If you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s because you are probably 30. Let me break it down for you. 20 is the season for sewing the wild oats and of new beginnings. It’s fun and exciting. There’s lots of new things happening and dreaming comes easy. You love the current music trend. 30 is the season for settling in. You are comfortable and happy about being so needed. You wipe butts and noses and you love it. You begin doubting the talent in the current music trend. Then, there’s 40. 40 is when you place that little butt you were wiping behind the wheel of an automobile, and watch them drive away. You are also fully aware that there is absolutely zero talent in the current music trend and every stinking bit of the vocals are auto tuned. On top of that, there’s a whole new level of pressure raising older children. Shoot, it’s a lot of stress on you and them. If you haven’t bought them a car before they turn 15, guess what? YOU SUCK. And bless their hearts, if they don’t graduate high school 2 months early with an associates degree, and full college scholarships in both academics and athletics, guess what? THEY SUCK. Whew Lawd. It’s a lot let me tell you.
Today is my first day of 40, and now that I have verbalized the problem, and aired it out for God and everybody on social media, I am feeling a whole lot better. Sure, 40 may be a season for letting go, but shoot, it’s also a season for holding tight. I am going to hold tight to the people that I love, and what I believe, and to who I am. I’m going to worry more about raising kids who aren’t jerks and love God and people, more than worrying about if they get 2 cars and an associates degree before they are 18 years old. I’m gonna be happy I’m not wiping butts, because honestly I don’t miss that, or babies in general for that matter. I’m gonna shake off this silly 40 funk I’ve had lurking inside me for the past 365 days, because really, it’s just Satan trying to steal my joy. I’m going to ignore the Crepe Erase infomercial, the lotion for crepe skin for women over 40, because those people can suck it, and I am going to let my hair grow all the way down to my butt crack, all because I was told that “women of a certain age shouldn’t wear long hair.” So there.
Happy 40 Birthday to myself. For the most part, I think I’m killing it.