Friday, June 13, 2014

This is 40

As evidenced by my sentimentality over preschool graduation, I am a poor transitioner.  Hell, I've been misty over my friend's kids graduating things this week on FB.  Rachel, your daugther is so beautiful and tall!  Chris, your son's teacher looked so proud.  It's totally ok to cry, Brandi but know there's so much more cool stuff coming.  And so on.  I like things to stay the same.  Or at least where I can find them.

This is making my upcoming birthday a little bit of an Everest.  I'm turning 40.  As in I had to click the clicker thing on the elliptical machine *five times up* to get to my current age.  I know I'm still technically 39 but I'm trying out 40.  It's weird.  Uncomfortable.  Too big.  Airy even.  Like I'm standing at the bottom of The Grand Canyon blindfolded trying to find my way up and out.  It's scary down here all by myself.

But aha!  I take off my blindfold and see that I"m not alone at all.  There are some crazy cool cats down here with me.  The 40+ crowd has me intrigued and lately I've been paying more attention to the good that can come from it than the bad.

The Good in 40

  1. You value kindness over tenacity.  While determination is still a good thing, by the time you hit 40 you see none of the success means a thing without heart.  Where this is heart and success?  There is always a domino effect.  Good way leads on to good way.  The results magnify beautifully for generations to come. 
  2. You cut to the chase.  Small talk is nonexistent.  Once you've established you like someone, they pretty much know at what age you lost your virginity after your third conversation.  (Not telling but I'm locking up my daughter until she's 24.)
  3. Skirts and drippy silver earrings are fancy.  Nobody expects you to wear anything clingy or even somewhat revealing.  Not even your significant other.  Doesn't mean you can't rock some cleavage every now and then but long maxi skirts aren't just for fortune-tellers anymore. 
  4.  You see the light.  You might not always behave like you see the light but you have it locked in your scope most of the time.  That yellow Gatorade your 5yo just spilled all over the garage?  It's juice on concrete.  Grab the hose, no bigs.  Those new half moon eye-wrinkles you see in the mirror now when you smile?  They make you look like your father, it's all good.  
  5. You prioritize joy.  Snapping pictures makes you happy?  You strap that Nikon on your shoulder like you're Jane Goodall collecting data from the forest.  Writing fills you up?  You sit your butt down every chance you get to tap out your thoughts and watch them show you how you feel.  There might not be more than today to experience joy.  At 40, you get how important this is.
  6. You push away fear.  By now I've come to understand that worry is a beast but fear is a bully.  Once you've established a working relationship with fear, you're fluid.  If you shut down and let it overpower you, you're letting fear have its way with you.  And its way is usually keeping you from new experiences.  When we first moved here, I was really afraid of driving across the 30-some mile causeway bridge.  I white knuckled it the first time, noticed pelicans the second time, and played "I Spy" with my kids by the third.  There are fun things across that bridge - uptown, downtown, excellent music, delicious food... I'm not about to let fear keep me from the original Cafe du Monde.   
  7. You never go a day without feeding your soul.  Chocolate and snuggling dogs is mine.  What's yours?
  8. You have the kind of confidence you dreamed of in high school.  I call myself an introvert.  That's only a half-truth.  The other half is that I'm also an extrovert.  I don't let that one out so much because everyone needs a secret up their sleeve when there's an awkward pause in conversation.  Being 40 is like one tall gin & tonic.  I have lost my inhibitions.  While I'm not swinging from chandeliers and spilling red wine down your blouse, I'm also not shrinking into a corner wishing I had the audacity to speak.  40's gift to you is audacity.  And it's so much fun.
  9. You adore your friends.  I have about five text windows going all day long from friends scattered about the country.  Learning where they're running, driving, going out for Date Night, or cooking for dinner brings me inner peace and sisterly calm.  My friends keep me grounded and allow me to be my cursory, ballsy, irreverent, sappy self.  
  10. You do your thing without apologies:

  11. You need your family.  It's been over a year since I've seen my mom, dad, and brothers.  I feel them missing.  I'm beginning to fade away a little without them.  I get to see them this summer, however, so will hopefully spend time slowing down the clock a little while that's happening.  
  12. You know when you've said enough.


Rachel said...

Another post of yours brought tears to my eyes. :) I have to say that 40 feels pretty great--I'm so at peace with who I am and where I am in life. MUCH better than my twenties and early thirties. And I got carded yesterday so things can't be that bad!

A Speckled Trout said...

Your list making is perfection. Everything is clearer after 40. You're going to love it.

OSMA said...

Hi Rachel! Ok, so I haven't been carded since I had my son but looking past that, I agree w/you that there is a kind of peace in being here, at 40 plus a week.

SpeckT - Thank you, my friend. Somehow I have managed to get here without prescription drugs or (daily) wine before 2pm. I'm just as shocked as the next 40yo :)

Andrea Mowery said...

I felt all these things at 40, too. Sometimes my past lives creep in and give me a little of their fear and nervousness, but 40 (okay, 41) banishes them all and fuels me with the audacity that you so beautifully illustrated. Here's to 40 and beyond! *clinks wine glass*

Jessi said...

Loved this post!! I decided to embrace 40 when I hit it last year, and I absolutely loved it. I've decided, since I'm 41 now, that I'm going to love my fortIES...the whole decade. It's going to be a blast...because I'm choosing so. Who knows how fab the fifties will be after that!! :D

ReneeK said...

Thank you for this. Three years ago I lost my 41 year old friend to cancer. Recently a co-worker of mine was boo-hooing on facebook for WEEKS about turning 40. It was tough because I know we all have our "first world problems" and flippantly complain about things when millions of people have it so much worse than us - I'm certainly guilty of that as well. But that one was just hard for me to handle!! So I loved reading this post from you :) Love your attitude. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :)

OSMA said...

Andrea, it's true. Those past lives don't stand a chance in our experienced bones. Cheers to the best decade of our lifetime.

Jessi - Thanks for leaving a comment! I'm finding it is honestly a choice you make (sometimes every morning) to make it the best age bracket. At first I was blaming things on my age but now I look around and feel inspired by my friends doing much more than they ever did in their twenties or thirties. Here's to rockin' this forty-something place. :)

HI ReneeK! So lovely to see you here again. I'm so sorry about your loss because while I know cancer doesn't discriminate, 41 is too young to leave so many loved ones behind. While I was starting to hyperventilate for a moment about having "more good behind me than in front of me" I banished those thoughts because 1) who knows and 2) that's a privileged place to be regardless. Thank you for the birthday wishes. :)