Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Spring Chicken Contemplates Turning the Big 4-0

“We’re both turning forty this year. FORTY!” I pointed out to my husband the other day.

“So? Do you care?”

“No, not really.” He knows I’ve never been one to worry about my age or it how insists on moving up, I just can’t believe sometimes these higher numbers apply to me. Didn’t I just turn thirty? I continued, “I told the kids the other day that I guess with turning forty I can no longer try to deny that I’m a grown up.”

“Why, did you do that before?”

“I guess not but I just…I thought I was going to feel differently at this point. I guess I thought life as a grown up would be more—boring I guess.”

“Funny,” said my darling husband whom I’ve been friends with since we were both fourteen, “when I thought of what you might be like as an adult I thought your life would be way more exciting than it is right now.”

Are you kidding? I’m totally non-boring as a grown up! Fine, I don’t have an exciting globetrotting career but that’s not exactly what I meant by being a boring grown-up anyway. When I was a kid, most of the grown-ups seemed pretty dull in ways I (personally) don’t consider myself to be now. Boring clothes, bad taste in music, that kind of thing. There are also things I’d thought I’d have given up by now or other (probably boring) things I would have started to do by this age.  So taking that into consideration, these are the ways I don’t really act/feel like what I thought an adult would:

1.   I still wear whatever I want. Leopard print coat, chopsticks in my hair, ring in my nose, dresses over pants, yadda yadda. 

2.   I still don’t like most country music or any Celine Dion. (Allegedly there are some young people who do like this music but--um--no.)

3.   I do, however, still like my music loud.

4.   I really just prefer being called by my first name, even by children (and not with a “Miss” in front of it. That's for preschool or gymnastics teachers in my world.)

5.   I still do the things I like to do. (It seems like many creative hobbies I have, like acting, are the kinds of hobbies a lot of people stop doing in High School or soon thereafter.)

6.   Potty mouth? Still have it. (Shocker)

7.   Farting? Still uproariously funny. The other day I actually had tears rolling down my face while listening to Daddy-O saying to 3 year-old A, “Why are you crying? Because Mommy didn’t want you on her lap? Do you know why she didn’t want you on her lap? It’s because you kept farting. It’s not nice to sit on someone’s lap and then fart a lot.” Seriously, I’m laughing just writing it out now.

8.   I don’t even try to fold a fitted sheet properly.

9. I might drink a lot at a party and steal someone's ugly holiday tie. Hypothetically. 

Yet at the same time there are new and exciting ways I feel older all the time! Now, I’m not talking about being able to operate a motor vehicle or buy alcohol, the novelty of those milestones wore off years decades ago (ouch). Now it’s other things, like:

1.   Have you NOTICED what kids these days are wearing? Flannel shirts? Southwestern inspired prints? Wait a minute, I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME THESE WERE IN FASHION. Oh god, no. They’re hideous! Why?? And then…and then I remember when my wardrobe consisted of a bunch of 70s cast-offs and the OLD people would moan, “oh why are those ugly clothes back in style again??” Hating fashion on its second go ‘round? Old.

2.    My 13 year old daughter ends sentences by trailing off and saying “ . . . so, yeah.”  Once again I remember those old people groaning at the way we kids would pepper our sentences with the word "like” or answer anything with, “what-ever” so I keep my groans inside. But inside my head those groans are very, very loud.  (Just FYI.)

3.   Oh these grey hairs. I like them, I actually do, but there are JUST SO MANY OF THEM! I sometimes just can’t believe that that is my own reflection I see with so much grey hair. It’s just that I never had so many before, how could this be? 

4.   Skirts I wore in my twenties seem so . . . short now. Once my legs are tan I feel like I can handle them but when I first put them on in the springtime (with non-tan legs) my first thought is always, “Oh no, no, no. You are not young enough to wear a skirt this short.”

5.   I have to keep an eye on my blood pressure. What the fuck?

6.   I’m staring to plan our summer vacation. It's January. 

7.   While talking about sex with my mom is another milestone that has long lost its novelty, talking with my DAUGHTER about sex is not. Dude, she was just in diapers.

8.   Speaking about my daughter being just in diapers—fine, I exaggerate but I’m old enough now to know they really do grow so fast. Blindingly fast. Those boring grown-ups weren’t kidding about that one.

9. Dishwashing gloves.

10. Daddy-O's first job out of college was as a middle school teacher. One of the students from that time is now going to be our younger boys' basketball coach (meaning he's a parent to a 2nd grader now). Ooof.

11. Look at how much time I just spent debating whether I feel old or not. Apparently the young people don't really do that.

And there you have it, folks--there are two more items on the old list than the young list. I guess that means I can no longer claim that I  feel exactly the same way about everything as I did when I was younger. After all I am a wrinkling, greying, turning-forty-this-year mother of five—I guess it's natural that my outlook on some things has changed. But as long as I still do and wear what I want (and can be brought to tears over a fart) I will continue to feel like I didn't turn into one of those dull adults that I never wanted to to be--even if my husband doesn't agree.

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