Fucking time, man. One minute, you’re rocking combat boots and long floral dresses in college, the next you’re on the verge of becoming The Invisible Woman.
I’m turning 40 two weeks from today, on the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. I always told myself that age was a number, I’m only as old as I feel, experience trumps a perky rack and ass. As the big day approaches, I’m on the fence.
Things creak that didn’t used to creak. I forget more shit than I used to forget. Gravity has done a number on most everything. My gray hairs are both coarse and curly, which makes it appear as if I have very thin springs shooting out from my scalp.
Even our Klout score has been taunting me.
On my 20th birthday, I kissed a shockingly cute boy, and I wanted to be a playwright. That year, I wrote the best thing I’ve ever written, and I have yet to top it.
On my 25th birthday, I worked six hours at the bowling alley where I tended bar and nine at the nursing home where I tended the med cart. That year, I decided I was entirely too lazy to work two or three jobs my entire life.
I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen people on my 30th birthday. It was my first holiday in my own home, and I felt like a goddamn grown-up. This was aided by a copious amount of grown-up wine, the kind in a bottle, with a cork instead of a screw top. I’d just gotten my Master’s degree and a fancy award at work. I was going to kick the shit out of my thirties.
On my 35th birthday, I decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Since then, I started two businesses that failed, and learned enough to start a third that hasn’t. (Knock wood. No, really, knock some fucking wood, are you trying to jinx it?)
On my 37th, I’d just been fired from someone else’s start-up, and I knew for sure I wasn’t ever going to be a parent. That year I lost two pets to old age and two close friends to suicide. It was a very dark year.
My 38th birthday was the last birthday I got to spend with my mom, who died the following summer. My mom, like her mom and her grandmother, was 67 when she died. That year, I didn’t spend nearly as much time with her as I should have. It was a pretty dark year, too. Washing my hair, eating or leaving the house stopped being priorities.
By my 39th birthday, I’d done what millions of women half my age had done, I’d started a blog. (This one. Knock wood again, please.) It didn’t cure the dark, but it gave me something else to obsess over, and it made me get out of bed every morning when I’d rather have not. It also gave me a community. (See Kelsium’s posts on friendship here and here, she explains it better than I could.)
As I round the last corner before the slide into forty, I’m willing to concede that kicking the shit out of my thirties was less about procreating and promotions, and more about surviving them at all.
The weekend after next, I’m going to Chicago with some of my favorite people in the world. We’re planning on giving my thirties a Viking funeral. Then I’ll be coming up with a plan to kick the shit out of my forties.