One of my favourite movies of all time is Almost Famous. I love the music, I love the actors, and I love the story. At any given time it is perfectly acceptable to have this exchange with my daughter or my brother: “PURPLE. YOUR AURA IS PURPLE.” If you don’t get that reference then watch the movie and come back when we can be friends again.
However I have reached a different stage in my life: Almost Forty.
I have been giving this considerable thought since turning 39 in March. No two ways about it, my next birthday will be my fortieth whether I like it or not.
When I was in my 20s, early to mid 30s, and probably even as recently as 36-37 I would have pshawed anyone who showed any concern over turning 40. “It’s just a number”. Yep and now it’s going to be my number and I’m not sure I am ready for it.
I don’t feel 40. Just this morning I was listening to some Fetty Wap at my desk (headphones in because I’m not that ridiculous) and was chair dancing until I remembered I sit in the hallway and am therefore visible to everyone, and throwing my gangsta’ arm up in the air probably isn’t the most professional behaviour. I sent my daughter a text describing this instance and used the hashtag #almostforty. She replied with “There is something wrong with you.” That’s how we tell each other “I love you” without saying the words.
Forty year olds, if memory serves, are supposed to have their shit together. They are adults with nice cars, houses, and financial security. They know how to make small talk with other adults and be polite and make eye contact with people they don’t like. They never binge on Corn Pops or laugh at bathroom humour.
I have a decent car, my house is livable and I have permanent full time employment. My ‘shit’ is somewhere in the same vicinity, relatively speaking. I suck at small talk beyond the basic niceties; do some major self talk through interacting with people I don’t get along with or care for, and cereal may be the death of me. Also I routinely laugh at and make inappropriate jokes. It’s all part of my charm.
Don’t get me wrong, I know some pretty cool people in the 40 and over crowd. They are the coolest of the cool, the hippest of the hip, and know how to have a good time. I’m just not sure I’m ready to join them yet.
Every week, every month, and every year seems to pass by quicker than the last and that’s what scares me. I still don’t even really know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to watch movies, listen to music, and eat junk food 90% of the time. Some of you are genuinely concerned for my children at this point and I get it but here’s what you need to know: I was blessed with four incredible human beings who have made parenting fairly easy up until this point. Yes I have to actively parent but I’m not your typical mother either. I put all my faith in my parenting practices to date in how my two oldest kids have turned out (f*cking amazing). I’m still not sure how much of that was me and how much was just their innate awesomeness.
What I do know is that I’m not sure where that time went between 20 and 40…which means the time between 40 and 60 is going to go even faster. The good I can see in that is the following: grandchildren, retirement, and….I guess eventually not having to routinely say things like “Don’t touch your brother.” “Stop. Stop. STOP.” I will spend time alone with my husband when we are not exhausted. I will not spend 75% of my free time and money at or for minor sports (although I’m told I will miss this…). There is lots of good left but part of me really wants to go stop time for a little while. I stop aging, my kids stop aging, we all get more time.
However, since that’s not possible, I am going to have to suck it up and just be the best 40 year old you’ve ever seen. Does that mean “growing up”? Probably not. It means choosing to try to live in the moment as much as possible. It means leaving my regrets where they belong (in the past), and then forgetting the past, not worrying too much about the future, and instead focusing on the now. It also means I will continue to listen to gangsta rap, be a smartass, and just generally revel in my own brand of eternal goodhearted assholeishness mixed with a strong dose of a responsibility and a pretty good head on my shoulders. And hair dye.
Stay tuned as the inevitable and slightly different ‘coming of age’ unfolds in T – 5 months. I may need some reassurance and reminders of today’s thoughts!
Until then, I’m going to enjoy being #almostbutnotactuallyfortyyet.