This month I will celebrate the 6 month anniversary of my 40th birthday. Hey, I don't get out much so just work with me here. The actual event of turning 40 was mostly anti-climactic. Nothing really extraordinary. But since then, I've noticed a few weird things about being 40.
I have a 1-year old baby girl. To be honest, I never thought I would have kids at all. And when I was a child, I'm pretty sure I never considered how old I would be when I would become a mom, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't 40. But that's not the weird part. It turns out that there are a lot more women like me - working moms in their late 30s/early 40s with babies. I read an article recently that said that the number of moms to newborns who were 35 and older increased by 5% between 1990 and 2008. Weird but awesome. It's a relief to have someone I can relate to and know that I won't be the 'old lady' at the soccer game.
I have no idea what I'm supposed to wear. I grew up in a conservative family and was raised with this idea of 'age appropriate' clothing. I don't have a clue what that means anymore! I'm fairly confident that I shouldn't wear anything that has gigantic letters printed across my rear-end, but I'm not ready for polyester elastic-waist pants either. (My grandmother had a fantastic collection of these in her 70s though. Very impressive.) I feel caught between what's fashionable and what doesn't make me look like I'm trying too hard. So Banana Republic works, Hollister not so much.
I'm much more interested in sun screen. That's something I should have been interested in 20 years ago instead of being tan. But now that I'm more interested in not looking like a piece of luggage in 10 years, I've invested a lot more in sunscreen.
I'm in school again. I really anticipated being done with formal education by now, but for some reason I feel compelled to finish a masters degree. The kicker is that it won't necessarily provide any benefits to my career. But I am an advocate for education and in a weird way I enjoy being a student.
I'm halfway through a career. I spent my 20s and 30s working towards achievement and accomplishment. In terms of the career ladder, there's not much higher I can go (at least that I'm interested in right now). In 10 years I can retire and I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to spend that 10 (maybe a few more) years of my career. And the best part is that if I'm ready in 10 years, I will retire when Scarlett is 11. I will have had the opportunity to complete a career, spend more time at home with her, and still bring home a paycheck. I don't think I would have been able to do that if I had kids earlier. That 10 years may seem like a really long time, but think about where you were 10 years ago and where you are now. It goes so fast.
I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Whew...that was hard. You would think that by writing a personal blog I wouldn't have many hang-ups about being open about personal stuff. I keep a lot of my feelings private and don't discuss them with many people at all, but this is a weird/nice place to be. After 39 years of insecurities and trying to prove myself, I'm feeling pretty good. Do I still feel insecure about some things? Absolutely. Have I accomplished everything I set out to do? Not at all. But I think I'm at a place where I feel good about what I've accomplished so far, appreciate that I at least tried when I failed and recognized that there are just days I won't feel as great about 'me' as other days. Weird...I know (especially if you know me).
Turns out 40 is not that big a deal. It's just...weird.