on turning 40
Earlier this year, two weeks before Wren was born, I turned 40. Needless to say, this milestone was overshadowed by the fact that I was carrying a giant watermelon, which was soon going to be pushed out of my vagina. Forty felt pretty minor compared with what was coming.
Several months in, I can now reflect on the whole thing and the truth is, I don’t feel 40. Most days, I feel too young to even be a mom.
Fact: it’s categorically impossible to feel old when you’re playing peekaboo or singing the Hokey Pokey.
Tangent: Or the Hokey Cokey as they like to call it over here. When I first heard one of the mothers at the local baby sing-along class (yes, baby parties, that’s how I roll these days) sing Cokey, I wanted to lean over and say, “PO-key. It’s Pokey with a P.” But then I realised they were ALL saying Cokey and I was the only one singing Pokey. I just can’t bring myself to say Cokey because I’ve said Pokey my entire life, but if I say Pokey, then Wren will say Pokey and they’ll probably make fun of her at nursery — along with her casual use of sidewalk, toilet, stroller, dessert and back yard. To Cokey or to Pokey, that is the question. Both sound dirty when you look at them like that. Now I’ve gone and said Cokey and Pokey too much and it’s doing my head in. This was meant to be an in-depth analysis on turning 40 and we’re now talking about the Hokey Pokey. No wonder it’s taken me two days to write this post. I think it’s time to end this tangent.
Back to the issue at hand. Yes, most days I’m fine with being 40 but I also struggle with it. You see, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I often feel like I should have accomplished more by now. Everywhere I look, people half my age seem to have achieved twice as much. Do you ever feel that way? And becoming a mother puts the brakes on everything (at least temporarily), which makes me feel anxious, like my ambitions (whatever they were, I never really knew) are sprinting ahead and I’m running out of time. Tick tock, tick tock.
Sigh. Frankly, I am disappointed that this feeling of “not being enough” followed me into my forties. I thought maybe it would magically stay at the door, with the rest of my thirties and my twenties before that, where it bloody belongs. I mean there’s gotta be some benefits to turning 40, right?
Note: my child is currently whining because she wants the yellow toy, not the blue toy. THE YELLOW TOY, MOM!!! As such, I can’t really focus at the moment and think of a clever segue into the next paragraph, so I’m just going to jump right in if that’s ok.
Luckily, projects like like these remind me of how far I’ve come and how much I have to look forward to. “As these women tell it, aging is not a subtraction, but an accumulation of experiences that make life richer. If that kind of experience shows on our faces, then so much the better. Here’s to each of us wearing our own experiences proudly.” How awesome is THAT? Be gone feelings of inadequacy. I hereby banish you! And lo and behold, my friend Karen is featured in the article. Can you believe she is 48? What? Go on Karen, you gorgeous diva!
And for more inspiration, check out Elizabeth’s thoughts on middle age, as an island of tranquility where no fucks are given. That’s where I’m heading people. Unapologetically.
*This post wasn’t meant to be a stream of consciousness. It was meant to inspire you and make you feel like 40 is bad-ass, which is how I felt after reading the above-mentioned posts. So if you are looking for that kind of inspiration, read those. They’ll leave you feeling strong and confident and bloody amazing… as opposed to getting the Hokey Pokey stuck in your head. You’re welcome for that.