I’m just going to put this out there: I’m 40 years old. And I look, well, 40 years old.
As much as I’d like to delude myself into thinking that my body looks like it did when I was 21, sometimes, you just have to face facts. At some point, you have to look in that mirror and realize that the grey hair is here to stay, those wrinkles are actually a permanent part of your face and as much as they tell you that C Section scar will fade, that ain’t exactly the truth. At some point, you have to give up the farce: the party’s over, babe. Welcome to the Approaching 40 Club, my dear.
Sigh. I just don’t want to accept that the party is over. Do I have to?
My first inkling that my body was no longer Bootylicious came from a conversation with my then 3 year old fruit loop. I had just gotten out of the shower and he came walking in right after I got out and before I’d had a chance to towel up. The conversation went more or less like this:
3 year old: Mommy! Your body is smiling at me!
Me: Uhm, excuse me?
3 year old: Can’t you see the smiley face on your body?
Me, still baffled: Huh?
3 year old, exasperated: Two eyes, a nose and a smile! And a beard, too!
Nothing like the wisdom and honesty of a child to make you realize that that C Section scar really does kind of look like a smile. And to those who also bear the C Section badge of courage: you will now never look at yourself in the mirror the same. Smile and welcome to the club, ladies…..
Over the past few years, I’ve grudgingly admitted that a little hair color isn’t necessarily a bad thing and that concealer just doesn’t do the trick that it used to for crow’s feet. I’ve acquiesced to my abdominal muscles and realized that the only 6 pack I’m ever going to have on my person is beer. And, as much as it galls me to say so, I just do not have the calorie burning power I used to and have accepted running as my means to justify my eating and drinking habits. With each little battle lost, I’ve sighed and just quietly accepted.
I was in a bar on a Saturday night with a group of friends celebrating a birthday. Because it was Saturday night, I took it as an opportunity to get gussied up (read: wash my hair, apply extra make up and use hairspray). Fancy hair, fun dress, bright red lipstick. The works. After a day in the yard power washing, I cleaned up pretty nicely if I do say so myself. I armed myself with my teeny tiny, non Mom purse, my ID and a tube of lipstick and out I went.
When I got to the bar, I felt like I had walked into a Time Machine. The bar was loaded with young, vibrant, uber sexy people . When had everyone gotten so damned young? When did dresses get so damned short? When did heels become platform, spike and death defying? As I stood there, in the sea of young pretty people, I wondered two things: what was I thinking wearing a red flower in my hair and when the hell did I get so old? Suffice it to say, sadly, no one asked me for my ID. Or my phone number.
Later that evening, in a somewhat confusing conversation, I was told that I looked great “for my age”. Gee, thanks, I think? Hearing that phrase made me realize that perhaps the jig was up: those kids may have looked young to me but in an interesting turn of events: I looked old to them. I guess I’m officially a full fledged, card carrying member of the Approaching 40 Club….can I get 10% off around town with my new card?
In thinking about the loss of my youthful glow, my first instinct was to have a pity party. I wanted to sit in a corner and cry over the loss of my glossy hair, my taut skin and the ability to be carded the minute I tried to get into a bar. I wanted to rue the road map of veins on my thighs, my soft as a marshmallow abs and my no longer easily concealed dark circles under my eyes. I wanted to turn back time, for just one night, and have my 21 year old body back.
Sigh. Bitch, please. Pity party is over. Snap the hell out of it, would you?
Those varicose veins are a product of working long days and nights as a nurse. I saved lives with those legs. Those purplish blue roads up and down your legs were paved with compassion and hard work.
Those marshmallow abs are a product of producing real, live humans. HUMANS came out of me. I grew actual people. And now I get to eat s’mores with them (come on, I had to throw a marshmallow joke in there….weak, I know).
Those crows feet are a result of a life lived laughing and smiling. I am surrounded by people who make me laugh so hard that I almost pee my pants on a daily basis. They don’t call them laugh lines for nothing….in fact, I should pity those who don’t have wrinkles. Clearly, they aren’t in on the jokes around them. Clearly, they don’t read my blog nearly enough….
And that C Section smile, er, scar? Just a daily, quite literal, reminder to smile at the body I’ve been given. To smile and be grateful that it has grown two fruit loops, run 7 half marathons, completed 4 marathons and consistently does what I ask of it every day. To smile that these legs have carried me around the world and back and they always bring me home to the man who is blinded by my beauty at any age. I will smile daily at my body and I will try to smile at every aging milestone (I do, however, reserve the right to frown at grey eyebrow hairs….eeew!). And, truth be told, when those young ladies from the bar get to my age, I’ll show them my Mother’s Day blog and will buy them a drink to ease the pain of realizing they have to grow old, too.