Some thoughts on turning 40

I created this list when I was newly 40.  In the two years that have passed, I have added and edited.  I think it takes the whole 10 years to figure out your current decade.  Then, if you’re lucky, you get a new one to tackle.  I’m still trying to make sense of the previous four decades of my life.  But time keeps rolling on.  Here are a few random thoughts:

1.  Makeup is no longer “optional.”  (Spanx neither.)

2.  There is too much pain, too much suffering in the world.  Try to help as much as you can.  Try not to cause any if you can help it.

3.  Learning to embrace the seasons on the calendar will help you embrace the seasons of your life.  You have a lot of work to do on Fall and Winter.  Spring and Summer are easy.  They are also over for you.

4.  You have a lot to learn from people who are older than you.

5.  You have a lot to learn from people who are younger than you.

6.  Chin hairs will now be a regular and recurring part of your conversations.  Get over yourself and laugh about it (them).

7.  For the first time in your life, you don’t feel 100% sure you’ll make it to see your next decade.  This thought is both terrifying and liberating.  It is time to set aside petty and irrational fears and just have all of the experiences.  Congratulations on overcoming claustrophobia.  Scuba diving is your next project.

8.  You are learning how to deal with loss gracefully.  You will be learning this lesson till you die.  Also, accepting things that come to you rather than chasing something that feels out of reach and maybe not right for you anyway.

9.  It is ironic that as your daughter blossoms into young womanhood, your body parts are sliding down your skeleton like a scoop of ice cream on a cone on a hot summer’s day.  To mix metaphors.

10.  I am NEVER mopping another floor again in my life.  I will gladly trade however many hours of work it takes to afford the luxury of some housekeeping help.  Terri, I am never giving you up.

11.  I used to worry that my dress would fly up in a breeze and the world would see me wearing Spanx.  Now I’m more worried about what people would see if I didn’t wear Spanx.  [Shudder.]

12.  When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to be a grownup.  I used to love listening to my mother’s conversations with her best friend in the kitchen over “Rescue Specials.”  So dramatic.  Now the drama involves my friends and me and our poor hearts over “Mommy’s Little Helpers.”  It is so hard to have these conversations.  I never say the right thing and listening feels like silence feels like judgment.

Rescue Special- Clamato and Vodka

Mommy’s Little Helper- Hot Chocolate and Bailey’s

13.  You think you should have your life pretty much together by now, and then you go to the bathroom and realize you put your underwear on inside out this morning.  You still drop food on your shirt regularly.  You say the wrong thing.  You eat in public like you do in private.  You *still* don’t know how to fix your hair.  Ditto your makeup.

14.  One of my favorite things about being 40 is that I can call anyone under 40 the following names:  Baby, Sweetie, Honey, Hon, Sugar, Darling.  This is immensely helpful because I can’t remember anyone’s name anymore.

15.  Speaking of Spanx and spills and dressing in general:  I thought by now (2015) we would be living in the age of the Jetsons.  Where is my body-molding, fat-burning, self-laundering, one-piece, zip-up space suit?  Machines make all our food- can I at least get a white shirt that doesn’t sport pit stains after three wearings?

16.  Thank you, God, for leggings and tunic tops.  Also coffee.  Glorious, miraculous, life-affirming coffee.  I can do all things through you.

Back to School

Writing’s what I said

And writing’s in my head

So writing’s what I’ll do

Till I become a writer too

Maybe the words will come

Maybe I’ll just sound dumb

Not trying to start a revolution

Just would like some elocution

of the thoughts that are in my head

I hope I do this till I’m dead

And my children in their precious ways

have already counted up the days until I will be famous

I don’t deserve this life.