I will be 40 this year. As I approach this milestone birthday a million bad jokes float through my mind. A million ideas on how to celebrate also float through my mind. Mostly, though, turning 40, for me, is becoming a fantastic excuse to think about who I want to be going forward.
First, I’ve been thinking about my outsides. I’ve been spending time exercising and reevaluating my skin care routine. I’ve been thinking about my mommy scars… those bits and blobs you get from caring for children. Yes, my body took a toll with pregnancy and nursing. The worst damage, though, came from constantly carrying an extra 20-40 pounds on one hip for, let’s see… almost 9 years now with no signs of letting up. Oh, and the sleepless nights.
Then I watched the Superbowl. More accurately, I watched Madonna perform at half time of the Superbowl.
Madonna was born in 1958, which makes her 54 this year. Incredible. Watching her I was struck by how young she looks, and how rested. She can move her body in ways I couldn’t at 18, and her face… oh it’s just so pretty. True, she lives and works in a community that prizes youth over almost everything, thank goodness that isn’t as true for me. But it is a little bit true. When I start thinking about my aging, I start thinking about how to fool the clock – make myself look younger and younger.
That’s not who I want to be, though. I don’t want to want to wear the same size jeans I wore in high school (good thing, too, since that won’t ever be the case.)
After all, when I think about the women I truly admire, Madonna (all her talent aside) is not my role model. The women I choose to emulate – my big girl* friends as my friend JP puts it, are the women who have already traveled the parts of the journey I am now on. They, almost without exception, don’t have washboard abs. They, almost without exception, have wrinkles. As for the rest of their looks, well, I am too busy looking in their eyes and listening to their humor and wisdom, to really notice much else of their physicality. I do know, however, without exception, they are all beautiful.
My big girl friends all know the value of being healthy and strong. That is the goal I’m setting for myself. I don’t need to look like a magazine cover, I just want to be healthy. And maybe well-rested. If that isn’t too much to ask.
* Big girl friends doesn’t refer to anyone’s size. Rather I’m referring to those girls in school a year or two older than us. Remember those girls? Gosh, they were cool. Now I am lucky enough to live in a community with women older than me who are just as cool as those girls I knew in school.