Last year I became a 40-year-old.
I had promised myself that I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. Not the birthday itself, I love love love birthdays, especially my own. I love celebrating my birthday and I love getting presents and making a big deal about it. Every birthday is a reason to celebrate. It gives me a reason to be childlike with permission.
I mean that I wouldn’t make a big deal out of the milestone: turning 40. I didn’t want to be one of those women that made a big deal about getting older. I was certain that turning 40 was going to big no big deal and that the birthday was going to pass without a meltdown.
As I pass the one-year mark of this milestone I can safely announce two things:
I was right.
I was wrong.
The birthday itself passed without incident. I celebrated with friends and family members over a period of weeks. Lunches, dinners, and coffee breaks were punctuated by gifts, cards, and well wishes. I rolled along in a sugar-induced state of birthday euphoria for weeks. And there wasn’t a meltdown second in the whole thing.
But, over the last year, the “I’m old” feeling has crept up on my with increasing frequency. Putting aside the fact that I am bigger than I’ve ever been in my life, and don’t look like any of my headshots, and hate every single picture I see of myself… I’m obsessing over the lack of definition in my chin, the fact that my breasts are not perky, the laugh lines around my eyes, and the deep crease between my eyebrows.
I look at my wardrobe and wonder who bought these clothes. When did I start dressing like an old woman? What happened to the colors, the flashy accessories, the hats and flirty shoes that once filled my closet? When did I stop buying red and orange and bight blue? When did black and brown become mandatory items? When did shoes become sensible? When did I become the embodiment of “frumpy?”
I could list the many many things I keep stumbling over in my face and my body. I could write paragraphs about the gray hair that finally made an appearance, a good ten years after both my sisters started to gray. Or I could focus on how seldom I remember to put on makeup when I]m not in work mode. Etc., etc., etc. But the real thing that’s been bothering me is the change in my personality.
Once upon a time I would have gotten up on a Saturday morning and decided to drive to San Antonio for lunch. Once upon a time I was the type of person who stopped on the side of the road to take photos of the wildflowers. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have cared about blowing my savings on a new “toy” or spending this week’s grocery money on a new purse. Once upon a time I didn’t have to schedule going out, and I didn’t prefer to hibernate in my “cave” as a preferred method of unwinding at the end of a bad day.
In my work life I am progressive. I flatter myself that I don’t have any of these problems with decision-making at work, that I keep up-to-date and incorporate the newest techniques in communications. But then I know that I am no longer one of the newbies. If I started looking for a job today I would have a harder time because of my age, my experience (salary-range), and my size. It would be assumed that I am not as good at social media and online communications as someone… younger.
And so I obsess about my age. It’s gotten worse the further into my 40s I get. And words like hysterectomy, diverticulosis, and arthritis only make things worse.
I have decided, though, that if I can’t feel better about this then I am going to fake it. Eventually I am going to get over it. Really.
***** Written on my ipad. I promise to proof and edit it later. ******