As I sat in the orthodontist’s chair, I felt a little embarrassed. My teeth, though straightened with braces when I was a teenager, had shifted and I found myself being fitted for dental trays that would hopefully restore my teeth to their former glory. As I listened to the dental assistant explain to me that gummy candies and popcorn were now off limits, I had flashbacks to when I had a mouth full of metal in sixth grade.
Though orthodontic technology has changed in thirty years, the fact is, I am again wearing orthodonture just like my teenaged kids. At the age of 43. Thank God they don’t use headgear anymore, though.
Last week, I caved to the notion that my eyes need a little help when I read and I now wear “readers” in addition to my contact lenses.
Oh, and my skin has decided to erupt into little mountains of pus and pimples. My T zone is a fucking disaster, I don’t mind telling you.
Glasses, braces and acne? What am I, 15 again?
Seriously, no one tells you that you have to relive your teen years the minute you climb up over the hill.
My teenage years sucked, but in my 20s, I grew secure in the knowledge that I’d never again have to worry about acne. My body had stopped growing and changing and, save for a few extra pounds here and there, my 20s and 30s proved to be pretty smooth sailing when it came to being a woman.
And then 40 showed up and was like, “here, hold my beer.”
Here are other ways that I’m in teenaged hell:
1. Erratic periods are a thing again.
Remember when you were a teenager and you never knew when Aunt Flow was going to show up, no matter how much you tried to track it on a calendar? Turns out, your 40s bring on erratic periods again. Only, this time, you are drenched in sweat and you can’t remember shit.
2. Drama never goes away.
And you thought the halls of high school were tough when it came to gossip and girl drama? Wrong. PTA meetings are worse. So much worse. Mean girl drama doesn’t go away just because we all have grey hair now.
3. Hair grows in places you don’t expect.
When you hit puberty, you grow hair in your armpits and lady regions. When you turn 40, you grow hair on your chin, boobs and upper lip. And your eyebrows become really, really scary.
4. Acne is no more fun than it was as a teenager. Trust.
I find myself longing for the days of Clearasil and Noxema when I’m listening to a woman at a cosmetic counter detail the $540 “system” necessary to keep my skin from looking like a pizza paved road map.
5. Mood swings are imminent at all times.
Look out, kids, Mommy is on a rampage again because she just can’t control her emotions. Oh, look, she’s crying again. Oh, but, wait, now she’s laughing hysterically. Don’t make any sudden movements, okay?
6. Your body changes.
Teenagers develop curves. Women in their forties sag. It’s so unfair.
7. Your boobs become HUGE.
Everyone remembers that scene in “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” where Margaret chants, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust,” right? Don’t worry, Margie, your boobs will be increased by infinity when you hit 40. Just sit tight.
8. There are curfews again.
Only this time, you are trying to stay awake to pick your teenager up from his social activities. You find yourself praying you’ll be home by midnight rather than arguing to stay out later.
9. You cry at every single Hallmark movie you watch.
Listen, you try watching Candace Cameron find the love of her life at Christmas after being a widow with two small kids and not shed a tear. And, for the record, that KFC commercial was just beautiful. Don’t judge me, okay?
10. You are horny AF.
If there is anything that can be counted as a bonus to living like a teen again in your 40s, it’s that your hormones make you wanna get busy any time, any place. And, this time, you don’t have to do it in the back of someone’s car. Unless you want to. Speaking of being horny all the time…
11. You worry about becoming pregnant. Only for different reasons now.
When you are a teenager, the fear of getting pregnant is very real because you have your whole life in front of you. When you are in your 40s, you are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after years of raising kids. And, the thought of doing it all over again makes you want to run screaming down the street.
12. You have to ask if you can borrow the car…from your teenager.
You find yourself saying “If I promise to have it home by 8, can I pleeeeeeese borrow the car?” to your teenager. And it’s humiliating, just like when you were a teen.
14. There’s a ridiculous amount of pressure to fit into your jeans.
Not only do you feel the need to squeeze your mom thighs into jeans from ten years ago but you also find yourself trying not to wear “mom jeans.” Jeans are just not worth it any longer, frankly. Leggings, please don’t ever leave us.