Being 42

Today is my birthday! I’m 42. Maybe my elation will fade. I’m kind of surprised by it. So much of what I heard (and read) about women over 40 was just not good. I’m supposed to feel over the hill, old, ugly, the best is over etc. Or, at least, I shouldn’t mention my age anymore. But so far, I’m pretty psyched about this decade. Here are a few things I’m happy about:

1. Sleeping through the night! There is NOTHING that feels good as sleep, especially if you’ve been deprived for years. (Next few items also involve the no more tiny babies factor)

2. No more breast feeding! Great experience, but happy its over.

3. No more maternity clothing!

4. No more being pregnant!

5. Time. I value it now. Whether I steal a few minutes by myself to do nothing or I’m pushing my daughter on a swing, I understand in some fundamental way that time passes; ‘getting’ that allows me to be more present– and somehow more relaxed– than I used to be.

5. Mid-career is more fun. There are many things I passionately want to do, but now I have a foundation where making them happen seems possible. Figuring out goals is, obviously, an ever-changing, lifelong process, but I hope never to return to my twentysomething level (and, I admit, thirties level) of conflict and confusion.

6. And speaking of twenties, I’m so fucking healthy! I don’t smoke, hardly drink, go to bed early and physically feel way better than I did then. (Or my thirties, see items #1 – 4)

7. My friends. I have friends who I can say I’ve know for twenty years! Or thirty! And we’re still friends. That gives me a feeling of security and happiness.

8. And sort of related, is the last item on my list: my husband: I am totally in love with this man. It’s been ten years. Before him, I was never with someone for ten months. I never thought I’d get married, but here I am and it’s pretty amazing.

Makes me wonder what’s great about 50s that no one ever told me.