I just turned 39. And on my birthday, I made sure to tell everyone around me that I am so cool with turning 40. It’s possible that I even threw gang signs, and hollered, “I’m going to kick 40’s ass!” It’s also possible that I made a list of all the things that I want to accomplish before I turn 40 and stressed myself out so much that I needed a nap. It’s possible.
I have had many thoughts since turning 39. Here are some of them:
1. My children tell me things now that blow my mind. Some part of me knew that thunder is the sound of lightning breaking the sound barrier, but when my son told his little sister this factoid the other day, I was like, of course it is.
2. And, oh my God, my skin is freaking out. Freaking out. I have employed dermatologists, facialists and wishful thinking. What I have learned is that water is my new best friend and that chin zits are the price I will pay for having a slice of pizza.
3. My body doesn’t recover like it used to. After exercise, after drinking too much, or even after sitting cross-legged for too long. My body is telling me a lot of things, and mostly it says, “You’re past your prime, lady.”
4. I’m all about inner peace and finding it. Some days it comes through attempting to meditate, and other days, unfortunately, it comes from a little alcohol. That’s right, Namaste, Two-Buck Chuck.
5. I appreciate being able to text my mom to ask her for her dumpling recipe because I know that someday I won’t be able to do that.
6. I don’t have time for temporary friendships. The friends whom I connect with now will be permanent fixtures in my life forever. Whether they want to be or not.
7. Sometimes, I like to sit down and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just like an 80-year-old man.
8. I think about mortality more—mine, my parents’, even the aging actors whom I love.
9. I’m pretty serious about those goals. It truly is now or never.
10. I’m not at all serious about that perfection crap that haunted me in my 20s.
11. I don’t care anymore if someone doesn’t like me.
12. And now, I will sacrifice politeness to stick up for myself.
13. I spend a lot of time trying to get people to do stuff for themselves. This goes for both my parents and my children. One moment, I am trying to make my parents independent with their digital devices, and the next I am convincing my children that they can, in fact, fetch their own socks.
14. I remember my mom telling me that she couldn’t remember her life without her children in it. I’m there. I look at them and think, How was there possibly a time when I didn’t know you?
15. And finally, that close look in the mirror some mornings? I don’t want to talk about it.
It’s all going very fast. But I’m pretty sure the only reason I would revisit my 20s is so that I could eat some Ben & Jerry’s and not wake up the next day with it sitting in a lumpy little pile on my butt.