40 Something Me…

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All those things I said would never happen have surreptitiously crept into my peripheral vision and like a Jack in the Box appear with alarming frequency when I least expect it.

Insert blinkered sign flashing “50 Dead Ahead” here.

“How old are you?”

The fluidity, and let’s face it, honesty, with which I used to answer this question is totally gone.

Now, there is a noticeable pause and stutter as my brain grapples its way round to the inevitable mathematical conclusion and issues forth a begrudging reply.

“40 something.”

Short of hot pincers beneath my fingernails, or an official badge, it’s the best response anybody will get from me.

I am a woman after all.

Also? I’m old enough to embrace the wise adage, “A lady never admits her age.”

I think that’s pretty normal. If you’re blessed to live long enough, most of us will reach an age that serves as a mental impasse, we wish to neither discuss, or acknowledge.

For me, that’s 45. The glorious no woman’s land, halfway between sophisticated 40, and fuck it all 50.

What alarms me is the gray area where my age used to reside. Not to mention, the gray hairs.

More often than I care to admit, I pause and calculate my age because, a. I flat out don’t remember it, or b. I think my memory is wrong. This just can’t be.

I spent a whole year telling people I was 43 when I was 44 soooo not on purpose.

That’s not early, onset Alzheimer’s, it’s a very subtle form of mental erasure, a selective memory processing as it were. Mind you, it happened of its own accord and began around 42. Please tell me I’m not the only one with this affliction.

People don’t believe my age, they keep telling me that I look like I’m 30 something.

Cause celebre?

Hell to the no.

Mental circumvention tactics aside, I FEEL my age. Or more aptly, all biological and societal indicators have begun to point North.

It started with the glasses. I was prescribed glasses and in a complete state of denial refused to wear them for a whole year.

Finally, I was forced to face reality because I got tired of squinting at small print on labels and moving things back and forth in a foolish attempt to focus in public places like a moron.

Along came bizarre conversations with my friends about “appropriate” attire for 40 somethings. Seriously?!

I refuse to let anyone tell me what to wear. If I look good enough to rock it, it’s all on the table. Fierceness is ageless! Think Tina Turner ;).

Fast forward to friends calling to inform me that they’re now peri-menopausal. WTF is that? Ok no.

Or, the long minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, standing in Pharmacy aisles staring at the extensive line of products aimed at women of a certain age.

There are so many products for dark spots, wrinkles etc. that it’s nothing short of baffling. I can’t tell you how many aggrieved women I’ve met in these shadowy aisles who look completely stressed out and leave empty handed in disgust and terror.

Oh for the days when I could snatch up any product and bounce. Now, I feel like I need to be a dermatologist to pick the right one. Never mind, the obscene prices. The beauty industry is pimping us out and making a gold mine.

If one more person calls me ma’am I won’t be responsible for what I do. They can have that mess.

Nor, has it escaped my notice that most of my favorite things are now classics. Considering the gray music and movies they’re turning out today that one’s not so bad.

Words have changed in their definition. Jail bait used to mean anyone under 21. At my age, it means anyone under 35. Try as I might, physical attraction still exists but once they start speaking, I’m tripping on how little they know. I can’t help but contemplate the ocean of inexperience that lies between us and the inexorable dwindling of desire is a foregone conclusion.

Gone is my desire for the fast, the quick, the cutting edge new. In it’s place, I find the precious ability to be still and delve deeper.

I know what matters to me now and certainty guides my steps as I pursue joy, knowing fully how transient and important it is.

I savor now, not just gulp lol.

I am more compassionate and wiser in ways that I never imagined and that’s priceless.

I think of all the time I spent trying to find myself, a necessary but arduous and painful task, and I’m happy to settle more comfortably into my 40 something, requires extra care, skin. Truly.

It’s all part of the process. A process that I’m blessed to continue experience unfolding.

Besides, I cant get distracted, I have a bag of pharmaceuticals dragging behind me and it takes all my concentration to hide their bulk behind my miniskirt. ;)

13 thoughts on “40 Something Me…”

  1. Yes, I agree, this was a good read. I couldn’t help but laugh at certain passages, such as gray hair and being referred to as “ma’am.” Some younger guy called me old school recently and I’m like huh? Lol. Gray hairs are the worse, my woman loves them, my daughters cracks jokes all day long. I say we make the best of this age.

    1. Hi Don, Thanks for stopping by. Your comment reminded me that we went to a party last year and the young guys kept calling my fiancé “OG” like it was a badge of honor. OG = Original Gangsta. It took us a minute to figure out what the hell they meant but once we did we were in hysterics. So, you earn your gray hairs and if you manage to retain your swag there is still a badge of honor, or endless jokes, waiting for you somewhere LMAO.

  2. Coco, this post is outstanding! You had me giggling, wagging my finger, and nodding my head saying “ah huh.” Lord, where does the time go and more importantly, why is it that the older we get, the faster time flies? The age thing? Not a problem for me. I picked an age when I was at my happiest and stayed there. If someone is brazen enough to ask how old I am, I swiftly reply, 34! ha! In any case, aren’t they saying something about 40 being the new 50 and 30 being the new 40? I’ll take it, thank you very much! I’m sorry I missed this post. It hasn’t been much of whoville in my neck of the woods with my bum knee, but I’m finally getting my groove back! Happy New Year to you, lady! Big hugs! And happy belated birthday! :)

    1. Thanks, Bella! Welcome back to Whoville, the inmates have awaited your return lol:). I know how that is. Sorry to hear about your knee and glad it’s on the mend. Still working on getting to happy, may your victories outweigh your challenges in 2014. Hugs. Ciao, Bella :)

    1. Hey, D! My life has consumed me lol. But I’m still here! We’ve just finished the season and I’m planning to write my heart out all winter. I miss you too and hope all is fair to middlin’ at the very least ;). Cyber hugs.

  3. As someone who long ago entered the 50-something zone, I can safely tell you, it’s not as bad as you might expect. I still feel like my same old self, happy and cheerful and enjoying life. What I don’t like (not one bit) is what is happening to my neck. Yuck. This started happening around age 54 and it’s a dead giveaway. Otherwise, folks say I look young. And from your photo, I’d say you look very young, like you’re in your 30s. So don’t fret and enjoy your 40s. After all, they say the best is yet to come!

  4. Bravo, lady. I for one am thrilled at your age, as I will subtly say I experience probably the exact same (perhaps even identical) things you mention in this post. I’ve completely forgotten my age too, but I go with the idea that we’re now too smart to care about counting. ;)

    Taking one moment to give a rat’s behind about age (which I try not to), our society’s fear of 40s and 50s seems to blithely ignore the advances made in longevity. Did you know a 100 year old man from India recently completed a marathon? What about Diane Nyad’s recent swim?

    As an aspiring film person, I only hope women cast in movies can be seen as worthwhile, as age seems to be a serious hurdle for any kind of “glamor profession” such as movies.

    Superb post!

    1. Hi Amelie! I knew someone would relate to that lol. And yes, you’re absolutely right. People not formerly defined as able are breaking out all over the place. I love how we’re challenging ageism and notions of what’s possible. It’s about time.

      What you said about actresses is spot on too. It brought to mind the incomparable Meryl Streep, Ruby Dee and Helen Mirren. Imagine all the greatness we’ve missed by relegating actresses to the dustbin? Crying shame.

      Blog visit in progress :)

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