I'm how old? Oh, yeah - it's my birthday! What with all the Red Sox fever in our house, it's easy to forget. I'm 42 today, which seems hard to believe, since I only feel about 27 or so. Don't get me wrong - I love being older. I'm happier within myself, and feel content with where I am in my life. I appreciate being free of the clouds of angst that followed me around through my 20's, and free of the sleep deprivation-induced inertia that fogged up my 30's.
Almost every woman I know in her late 30's or early 40's feels the same way. I've polled my friends and family, and short of those battling illness or in the midst of ugly divorces, we all agree that we are just so much more ourselves now, and that makes us happy. We have achieved a sense of contentment that we searched for all through our teens and 20's, watching movies and hoping for our soul mate to appear in a bar or a bus shelter, because didn't we need a mate to complete us? (Keep the snickering down, please.) We are successful, or not, but we know why (or why not) and we are okay with that.
And for those among us who aren't feeling great about our lives, there are a billion and a half magazines and books and television shows to help us figure it out. We have options, ladies. Sure, we all have our bad days, and our hormones are starting to get a little wonky, but heck - many of my older friends assure me that I'll looove saying goodbye to my periods. And one of these years, I plan to stop dying my hair and go gray. With the money I'll save from my every-5-weeks root-covering salon visits, I plan to go to Europe each summer. I hear Budapest is fabulous....
The only thing that bugs me is that feeling of being on the downhill side of my life, and that is ridiculous, since it's a purely mathematical supposition. In my head, I have this equation: if I hope to live to be at least 80, then 40 is halfway, right? Well, I've come up with a new mid-point for myself based on my own life experience. I've decided that the years of my life up to 20 don't count, since I was still learning how to be a person. That means that my new mid-life point is 50! I'm not going to stress about life goals and being on the downhill run towards death for another 8 years! Wahoo!
(Did I mention that my rationalization skills have improved with age as well?)