January 09, 2005
She is sweating the trauma and reflecting on life as birthday #40 approaches. I can understand her feelings. I did the same thing when I turned 40.
My friends threw me a surprise birthday party, and I was given Depends diapers, Poly-Grip denture glue, Geritol, a genuine truss, Preparation H, and a "create your instant hard-on kit," which consisted of a popcicle stick and a roll of adhesive tape. Everything was wrapped in black paper and everybody at the party wore black arm-bands. We mourned through a whole lot of beer.
The party was a hoot, but I didn't feel old at the time. In fact, my early 40s were some of the best years of my life. I wasn't "old." I was "mature."
All that "mature" shit went right down the crapper when I hit 50. THAT'S when every stupid thing you ever did in life comes back to haunt you. You aren't old at 40, but you're goddam DECREPIT at 50. Trust me--- I've been there and done that.
I picked through those old joke presents ten years later and started finding stuff that I could USE.
Age is a relative condition. When you are six and someone else is sixteen, you are worlds apart in age. When you are 26 and the other person is 36, you don't really see much difference. Ten years are ten years, but what those years mean depends on your perspective. Sometimes it's a lot of difference and sometimes it's not.
The difference between 40 and 50 is A LOT.
You shoulda kept that "Create your instant hard-on kit". It would have come in handy later.
I kept mine. And it does...
Like the Divine Miss Flynny, I am staring forty in the face, but from a bit further back than she is, just over her shoulder, maybe. For some reason, forty doesn't bother me. I watched both my parents bloom at forty; healthy, active, goodlooking - and the forties were where the money started rolliing in. The thirties, for me, have been a drab, puke-stained mommyhood; I figure I will be a Hot Mama at forty. And my kids won't be so much on the titty; I'll regain a measure of freedom.
Fifty, though, does sound somewhat more daunting.
I think I have a couple fillings that are 40. I can relate.
I ain't staring 40 in nothin' -- it's looking wistfully at my receding backside. Of course, in a few more years it may be rolling around on the floor laughing at me, but I'll worry about that then.
40 was great-I started regressing, and I figure by the time I'm 70 I'll be 5 mentally. Went back to work during that time, was painting a lot, looked pretty good. Regained my sense of humor which mom-hood had temporarily stuck in a drawer.
(35 sucked-in the throes of todderhood with a cloud of gunk surrounding me.)
50 was the year from hell and the beginning of two years of hell. 50 was a benchmark of some sort-and with all it's horrors forced me to change several things. I was self-reflectin' and re-directin' and all that happy horseshit.
With that said, there's a reason for all of it, but I'm hoping for a few years of coasting. Please.
Remember the saying "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself"?
It should be written down for the young somewhere that you can trust. With all the half-funny stuff about aging you get, it is hard to know what to really expect. True that at 40 you feel like 20 with a nice crust of experience and moderate new limitations. At 50 hitting the sack is often more appealing than partying on - sometimes at 9 pm, neither mind nor body works as well and the failings are perceptable, you forget lots of things you once knew. Only upside I can see - while I was young I could do more but was always dissatisfied with myself and my lot. Always wanted better, to get the girl, earn the grade, be promoted, be recognized, etc. At 50, perhaps because there is not much chance for major change, I'm happy with my limits and failings for the first time..