Amy Wruble rambled off 40 Effed Up Things About Turning 40, which the Huffpo picked up, because, well, the HuffPo picks up things like that. I tried to read it with a sense of humor, because at 43, I too find myself laughing about myself in my 40’s. It’s funny. Mostly, probably, because I refuse to grow-up. I often tell people that I am younger at 43 than I was at 23. At 23 I was still trying to do things right. At 43, pretty much just trying to do things. However I want. Whenever I want. Why-ever I want. I know that why-ever is not a word. I don’t care.
So, here’s my little list of reasons why being in my 40’s is, seriously, the best time of my life yet. (I hope to look back at this in my 50’s, touched by the innocence of how little I knew about how great the 50’s are.)
1. I love my reading glasses. They are a cheap fashion accessory that I can change at will, with infinite variety. Cat-eye, rhinestones, rainbows, you name it, I got it. Just by putting them on I turn into the slutty librarian and can look at you with a simultaneous “come hither” or “you’re in trouble,” depending on who you are. And the fact that I leave them in every room of my house reminds me that I’m a grown up now, and no one can tell me what to do with my things.
2. While I don’t love the pee-leak every time I laugh, sneeze or cough, it reminds me to exercise my pelvic floor. No, not just kegels, that’ll make it worse, but really work my pelvic floor. Bonus side-effect? Sex. Yup. Damn that makes for some good sex. Also, I’ve adopted the all-black pants look, most of the time. Bonus feature there is that I have a sort of “Casual Coco Chanel” thing going on all the time now. Add a pedicure and it totally works. Pee-safe and sophisticated casual. I’ll take it. (Let’s not talk about the elastic waist-band, okay?)
3. Sex. So much better for me now. No more trying to impress people to catch them or keep them coming back again, as it were. My pleasure is for me, how I want it, and as a grown-woman, I finally learned how to ask for it and how to get it. Even better, I understand what a gift it is to be able to pleasure someone. Not because I want something from them, but because I want to just give them pleasure. No goals, no rewards, just great sex without games. Oh my.
4. No more diapers. By the time I do that shit again, they’ll be my grand-kids and I’ll think it’s cute again.
5. I’ve stopped giving a shit what anyone else thinks about my choices.
6. I’ve stopped thinking that I can or should change anyone’s mind about anything. Do you know how much more time there is in the day when you aren’t wasting it trying to convince people you’re right?
7. I stopped thinking that I can or should change who I am. Do you know much more time there is in the day when you aren’t wasting it trying to be what other people think you should be?
8. I learned that you CAN choose your family. (I feel sorry for people who haven’t figured that out yet.)
9. I learned to let go of people, activities and thought patterns that don’t make me feel good. Whatever it is, if it makes you feel like crap, you don’t need it. And you’re a grown up, you can get rid of it.
10. I stopped taking my health for granted and got in, by far, the BEST shape of my life. Partly because I stopped thinking about what size I wanted to be and instead started thinking about things that I wanted to be able TO DO. So I just started doing those things. I am bigger and stronger than I’ve ever been. And I spend my day doing things that I want to do.
10. Fewer hangovers.
11. Having remembered that most rules are issued to us from parents and bosses, and that as an adult I am the boss of me, I wear whatever the hell I want. I wear white pants after labor day, mini-skirts when it’s hot, sequins when it’s cloudy or I’m sad, I eat dessert for dinner if I want. My rules.
12. “Old age” no longer sounds like a scary monster in my closet. It’s more like a promise in a brochure now, someday I’ll get there, and it will be lovely. Like a perpetual spa day with grandchildren instead of cabana boys. Bring it.
13. I can tell my kids stories about things I’ve done that shock, amaze and mildly horrify them. The older I get, the more stories I get. And they thrill me just to think about them. I can’t believe I’m the kind of amazing person with all those great stories. It took me a long time to earn all those.
14. I no longer fear embarrassment.
15. Whatever happens to your hormones in your 40’s, I love it. This is like being a teenager, but without the insecurity, and with way better sex, booze and drugs.
16. It has taken my whole lifetime to amass a collection of friends who know and love and support me for who I actually am. Who will get me through good times, bad times, scary times and omigod-I-can’t-believe-we-did-that times.
17. I learned that it’s okay to love “girlie” things like spa treatments, while simultaneously hating all of the body-negative bullshit that is a spa. And that Amazon carries things like Salicylic and Glycolic acid for facials at home. I can pamper myself however I want, with no uptight attitude. And with whiskey.
I’m sure there’s more. But the sun is out, so I want to go stand outside on my lawn and revel in the fact that no one can tell me not to wear my socks in the grass. I can do my own laundry. Or not.