I woke up and realized that I might need to start raising money for my plastic surgery fund because you just never know when that dream role will present itself, right? I made some very careful calculations: Take the number of stretch marks, divide that by two c-sections, subtract the weight loss, add the inches that gravity has stretched my skin, carry the two… and, well, I figure it will only take a cool half million to get this body stage ready.
It could be worse.
Today, as you all are reading this, my body (full of wrinkles, and stretch marks) is turning forty. The big FOUR OH! While you all read, I will be sitting on a beach, in a “not so teeny bikini” bathing suit on a tropical island celebrating a day that some folks dread. I will be enjoying the company of my husband, who has not yet reached this delightful milestone, but will be joining the ranks of those of us in our forties soon enough. When I return, I will officially be living in the fourth decade of my life. Forty years old.
From what people tell me, forty is the new thirty or even twenty these days. To which I always think, “Man, I hope not!” Because if I really spend the time to think about it? I would not want to be any age other than 40 today. No way.
Would I love to have the body I had back in my early twenties, when I “thought” I was fat, but was really just about perfect? For a split second I think that would be a good idea. But then I remember how terribly insecure I was about it. I remember that I didn’t always make the best choices when it came to relationships because of that insecurity. And, to be completely honest, I did not understand or know how to harness my own body and sexuality. At the age of forty, even knowing all my flaws, I can say that I can now harness it. Like a boss. (Sorry children… again. But this is also true.)
Would I love to go back to a time in my mid-twenties where I didn’t think much about losing the people I love? Yeah, that is tempting too. But then I remember that my ability to love, maintain and foster my relationships has grown by leaps and bounds since then. I am terrified of something happening to my now older parents, my family, or my friends. But that is okay. My forty years mean that I have an overflowing abundance of people I truly love. No way would I change that.
Would I love to go back to my late twenties when I was a young mother with more energy for my kid? When things were exciting and new? No way. Because exciting and new also meant I didn’t have a flipping clue what I was doing. Being a mother to a toddler as I turn 40 has taught me that, while necessary, those years of learning meant I stressed a lot of things that I didn’t need to stress. That I missed out on lots of moments because of that. Sure, I had more energy… but I spent it worried too much about how much I was messing up my kid and wondering what other people thought of my parenting choices.
Would I love to return to my early thirties when I was confident that we were really mastering this whole marriage thing, and not fighting the urge every day to just fall into the comfortable rut that 15 years of being wed can provide? Again, no. Because my confidence didn’t allow me to see the things that we really needed to work on to make sure that our marriage is still strong after 15 more years have passed. At forty, it is abundantly clear to me that we are not always mastering the marriage scene… but that also means that we work a lot harder at it.
Would I love to return to the days, in my mid-thirties, when I was just starting to find my way in my career? When every little milestone felt like I had just conquered the world? When I was tickled that someone would actually pay me $25 to use MY words in THEIR publication or would ask me to sing for free just to be heard? Absolutely not. Again, that growth was necessary, but I also have a much better handle on what my strengths and weaknesses are career-wise. I know what my value is in the workplace. When I choose to perform or write, it is either because I am being well-compensated or it is something I enjoy or believe in. My vision for the future of my career is clear… and I am dictating the path.
There is not one thing in my past that I would like to have back. Not perky breasts untouched by silicone, carefree relationships, red-bull energy, the perfect marriage, or baby career steps. Because the forty years that I have already accumulated have shaped me into the person I am today… and I really like her. Wrinkles and all.
Don’t get me wrong… I have no qualms about having plastic surgery once I raise that cool half million. Hey, if science can give me those perky breasts again, why not? But if it never happens, well that will be just fine.
Forty is the new… forty, folks.
And that is a-okay by me.