I hit a milestone birthday on July 1st. For the last three days I have been working on a different blog post, and at this time, I have two complete sentences written of that one. Writer’s block. So, I thought if I switched instead to writing about my Milestone, it might get me over the hump. Especially since the Milestone has preoccupied me for the last two weeks. I mean, I don’t so much think the bloom is completely off my rose, but mes fleurs se fanent. Transitions are difficult.
My Milestone landed me squarely into the category of middle aged. To dispel any thoughts of “forty is the new twenty” nonsense, I felt compelled to get my navel pierced. Navel piercing post-forty is evidence of middle age. (I am including a photo of my navel piercing because I am actually quite enamored with it.)
To be perfectly honest, there is other evidence as well, and I must again complain that as little girls, we are not given full disclosure of what to expect. In the law, we call this a fraudulent omission. It begins with that beautiful experience they call pregnancy, which we are told is nine months long. In reality, human gestation is 40 weeks. That is ten months. That is just the first of many such myths foisted upon little girls.
While we are schooled early on from cosmetic advertisements that we can expect someday to have to worry about wrinkles, that concept stays far enough off on the horizon to be non-threatening for a long time. And by 30-something, we’ve at least heard about those little vision changes that will make you wish your arms were longer (perhaps Mother Nature’s way of keeping us from noticing those wrinkles that the 20 year old models in the commercials don’t actually have, but we 40-somethings do).
There is, of course, more. How about eyebrows? No one ever mentioned eyebrows. Your mother never tells you to stay on top of your brows or they will take over like the baobab trees in The Little Prince. Through our teens and twenties and thirties, we blithely tweezed and shaped them into arched perfection but no further grooming was required. At a certain point in your forties, they must not only be waxed (because they are too hard to see anymore), and then tweezed, but also trimmed. One need only look at a 40-something year old man to know that unkempt eyebrows can take on the appearance of unruly vineyard. Beware the unibrow!
Then there is body texture. Women are conditioned from birth in this country to obsess over weight, but at some variable point in time, the texture of our fat gets more gelatinous. Without control top pantyhose, a female abdomen could flow across the floor and out the door some day.
And of course there are wrinkles. Our euphemism is “laugh lines,” but they are not so funny. The bitter irony is that I feel as immature as I did at 20, it’s just that when I see a photo of myself, I am shocked by how old I look. (In a few more years, this phenomenon will be completely ameliorated by the continued deterioration of my vision. I am looking forward to it.)
I am still going to cling stubbornly to the “my cup is half full” (of wine or some other strong spirit) philosophy. I don’t have hot flashes or chin whiskers. I am not incontinent. No gas or heartburn. I don’t have (gasp) “dryness” issues. Although, if my friends are truthful, all of these things may be on the horizon as Father Time marches on and on and on. A close friend of mine is fond of saying that money makes everybody more attractive, so I suppose that is another reason to want to win the Powerball – to regain hotness.
This is an important point to remember. (I am trying to fish a point out of all of this complaining.) All those legislative hearings, all those meetings with attorneys and legislators, all those days and weeks spent in court rooms with no windows, all those lengthy conference calls – you can never get that time back. I have spent hours listening to complete morons ramble on an on and on about fantasies of pythons springing out of toilets to attack women in their laundry rooms while they are making lemonade or running children down in their gardens. I can’t get that time back! The animal rights activists aren’t only trying to take everyone’s pets away, they are trying to run the clock on my youth. In fact, on our very lives! Fuckers. This is the real threat to public safety: insanity that cannot be cured sucking the life energy out of the rest of the world. But I digress. It happens with advancing age.
Don’t waste your moments because before you know it, you could be in the lifestage of the (mercifully) blind, wrinkled, hot flashing, incontinent, flatulent, bearded lady. I think by then, those things won’t matter any more, though. At least I hope so.
So, here is the real moral to the story. We all get a finite number of sunrises. Time wasted is lost forever. You can never get it back. Find the space in your life to enjoy the people and the things that bring you true joy today and now. (None of them can be quantified numerically. That is a hint.) Your choices define you. Make good ones.