When I turned 40, everyone kept assuring me that 40 was the new 30. And oh how I believed this. I swore to it and told people every chance I got that this was true. I even had a logical explanation for this theory. By marrying later and starting families later, my generation had postponed adulthood well into our late 20’s and 30’s. (not me specifically, but many of my peers definitely). Surely we could postpone middle age too. After all, by the time our parents were in their mid-forties, they were empty nesters. By contrast some of us were still changing diapers.
Gen Xers , true to our Breakfast Club roots, were saying screw you to aging. We weren’t going to be middle age just because we happened to actually be middle age. We were going to be cool – like Rob Lowe cool.
Of course the problem with this theory is that it’s total nonsense. Forty is forty. And 40 ain’t that cool. Actually, in my experience, the 40’s are better than cool. They are fun, relaxed, wise and witty – at least they are for those who are accepting their age gracefully. And that’s what I’m trying to do. Actually, I’m trying not just accept, but to embrace middle age. Here’s my plan for aging with class..
- I won’t lie, fudge, or beat around the bush about my age. I am 46. That’s right. Forty. Six. Trying to in anyway hide or disguise that fact will not change it, and acting embarrassed by it only makes me seem silly and insecure. Did I mention I am 46?
- I won’t spend a fortune on expensive creams and potions. Maybe these high dollar products reduce and reverse the signs of aging. Maybe not. Either way, women’s insecurities are a a multi-gazillion dollar business. Just give me an exfoliating scrub and a little coconut oil, and I’ll be one my way. I have better things to spend my money on.
- I won’t have a “little work” done. At best, I’ll postpone the inevitable. At worst, I’ll look like I’m trying to postpone the inevitable.
- I will avoid fashion fads that are too young for me. Notice I said fads and not styles. It’s a fine line – especially for moms of teenagers. Classy boots, fun scarves, and flannel shirts are all recent fashion trends that moms can get away with. Blue tipped hair, one metallic fingernail, or shredded jeans would just mortify my children.
- I will exercise, drink plenty of water and get lots of sleep. If I can do all of these and laugh often, I might never look my age.
- I will listen to my mother. And other women I know who are aging fabulously and gracefully.
- I will care way less about what other people think about me. Someone once said, “In your 20’s, you don’t care what anyone thinks about you. In your 30’s you worry about what everyone thinks about you. In your 40’s you realize no one is thinking about you.” There is something very freeing about that.
- I will have really good bras. These breasts have nursed four babies for a grand total of 10 years of breastfeeding. They
needdeserve some support.
- I will slow down. My children are still young, and I’m a long way from an empty nest. But they can go outside unsupervised. They can fix some of their own meals and do their own laundry. And the big ones can drive and help chauffeur the little ones around. I am finally in the position to have a little more me time. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I will enjoy that time without guilt.
- I will have less and enjoy more. Since I’m dressing for style and not for trendiness, I need fewer (but better) clothes. I no longer have a house full of toys. I now know exactly what kitchen gadgets and gizmos I’ll use and which ones are just taking up space. I am realizing the value of things – what I can pitch and what things I should keep because they brings me joy or comfort. I am learning which friends I can count on and which ones I can’t. In other words, I am finally starting to figure out what really matters. Letting go of what doesn’t is a huge perk of middle age.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have it all figured out. I haven’t cracked the code on aging. There will still be mornings that I wake up and wonder who the hell that middle age woman is looking back at me in the mirror. I’m certainly not thrilled with my failing eyesight or the increasing number of “silver linings” that come with this age. And I know I will bristle in a few years when I get my first offer to join AARP. But all in all, I think that this time in life is good. I think I can handle it and even embrace it. And embracing middle age certainly doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. Some people will take on this time in life by diving into new careers. Others will travel and have new adventures. A good friend of mine is going back to school What about you? What are you doing to own your age?