First of all, I need to say this: The fact that it’s spelled “forty” instead of “fourty” has always annoyed me. It doesn’t make sense that sixty, seventy, eighty, and ninety get to have their regularly spelled numbers plus –ty, but all the other multiples of 10 have to put up with inexplicable name changes.
Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty, Fifty, Sixty, Seventy, Eighty, Ninety
Ten, Twoty, Threety, Fourty, Fivety, Sixty, Seventy, Eighty, Ninety?
I’m just saying.
Anyway, that’s just one of the petty, irritable thoughts I’ve had leading up to the BIG BIRTHDAY. I thought it wouldn’t be anything that weighed heavily on my mind; after all, I had no problem turning 30. And up until a couple of months ago, I was feeling fairly blasé about it:
Birthday minus 90 days (let’s call it B-90): What’s the big deal? Ho-hum, turning 40. Why should I get all worked up about it? Why do people get so upset? It’s just a day like any other day. For Pete’s sake. Bring on the clichés, like “Age is just a number,” or “You’re only as old as you feel.” I feel great! There’s no way I’ll give in to this vapid midlife crisis crap.
B-75: In a sudden turn of events, my occasional annoying hip pain turns into all-the-time hip pain. After some x-rays, etc., the doctor says I can do physical therapy, but in the end, I’ll likely need surgery. Moments before, I was more “40-is-the-new-30” and now, suddenly, I’m all “40-is-the-new-90.” Someone bring me a big tube of Ben Gay and reschedule my weekly Bridge game.
B-60: Is that a new crease under my eye? What IS that? Did I sleep on my face, maybe? Because those sleeping pillowface lines that used to go away in 10 minutes now take 5 or 6 hours to disappear. Thanks for nothing, COLLAGEN.
B-45: I still don’t care. Do you hear me, 40? This is me, not caring! Also, I read another one of those simpering interviews with a movie star who recently turned 40 and oh-so-predictably, she said what they always say: “I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.” What does that even mean? Before you turned 40, your skin just didn’t fit right? It was itchy? Too needy? Felt like someone else’s skin? Perhaps before, she was walking around thinking, “Gosh, I just wish my innards were stuffed inside a different skin-bag. This one is just so ICKY.” And then she turned 40, and suddenly the offensive skin holding her body together felt just so very much better. Comfy, even. Magical!
(I know it’s not meant to be taken so literally, but I can’t help it – it bugs me. But I’m FINE! I don’t even care about 40! Numbers mean nothing to me. Obviously.)
B-30: The Daddy asks me if I want to have a party. He’s so sweet – but really, it’s not a big deal, so why do we need to behave as though it is with some expensive gathering commemorating something that’s actually nothing? It’s just a regular day, as far as I’m concerned. Bah humbug.
B-15: Someone asks me how old I am, and I say I’ll be 40 in a few weeks. They kindly exclaim about how that’s impossible, that I look sooooo much younger! And then it strikes me that this is how things will go now – that if I happen to look good on a particular day, it’ll be despite my advanced age.
B-7: Whatever. I don’t care. People who care are shallow and youth-obsessed. Plus, my face broke out today in three places, which doesn’t happen to OLD people. (DOES it?)
B-1: It occurs to me that this is the last day I can say I’m in my 30s. This thought inspires a ridiculously overwrought emotional breakdown. Even the dog thought I was being dumb. Spent the whole day/evening feeling glum and grumpy. Glumpy.
B-day: Feeling pretty silly that I allowed myself to get sucked into a mini midlife crisis. But why shouldn’t I be anything but average and predictable? Simply human, once again. When I turn 50 I’m sure I’ll look back and snicker at what an idiot I was when I turned 40, which is what I did when I was turning 30 and reflecting on age 20. Will that happen forever? When I turn 70, will I think, “Gosh, when I was 60, I was such a know-nothing ass!”