Staring down the barrel of middle age

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I am older than Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey or Monica ever were.

I'm could run in the next Presidential election.

Hell, I could have run in the LAST Presidential election.

My knees ache a little when it's damp outside.

I watch shows on Lifetime (and enjoy them!)

and have actually said “I don't understand ___insert popular band name here___'s appeal to kids.”

Up next? Yelling at them to “Get off my lawn!”

This is what I look like on a regular day. Today, in fact:

photo-6

And tomorrow, I turn 36 years old.

I'm closer to 40 than 30. I remember my parents turning 40; I'm turning into an age where I knew them. I see photos of my mom at 25, her young, gorgeous face looking at me from the past. She's lovely, and I know that I know her, but I didn't know her. I didn't know the Hertz rental car clerk, or the Newport Creamery ice cream scooper. That version of her is someone I never knew. But now, I myself am becoming an age where I've known her.

The Scout leader, the Room Mom, the pushing-40 version of her.

So this is the me that Max will know. He'll be aware that I was an art student, and a graphic designer, maybe he'll even learn about the previously married me, but he won't know those versions of me. He'll know this one. The startup employee who loves her job. With the lines and the splotches (I refuse to call them age spots!) With the 2 plain old earrings instead of the 9 piercings of my teenage years.

It's easy to start feeling old, as I sit here on the verge of midlife.

For as long as I can remember, midlife has been something far off. It's something for old people, with midlife crises and sagging bits. But really? Isn't that just what you make it? How about this:

At 36:

Julia Child moved to Paris and started cooking.

Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove.

And ahem? Jon Hamm became Don Draper.

As for me at 36, I still have no grey hair.

I'm (very close to being) in the best shape of my life.

And I can still be this woman too:

photo-5

And excuse me, but I think she's kinda hot.

“Middle age,” no matter what age at which you think it begins? Isn't a death sentence.

It isn't a set of instructions that you now have to follow.

It's whatever you want it to be.

I need to thank the amazing women of Generation Fabulous for inspiring this post. Because you're all amazing and I adore you. And when I'm at a kindergarten party next fall with mamas a full ten years younger than me? YOU will be my cheerleaders, if only in my brain.

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17 Comments

  1. Love this! U r awesome and I am so happy to read your blog….I am 48 (egads) and still feel in my twenties most days. Looking in the mirror is too shocking so I stopped doing it!

  2. you are HAWT. and amazing. Also? I’m a year older than you. And? HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY!

    p.s. i am so nervous to do my hair like yours. Afraid I can’t rock it like you. I want a big change, and it’s probably just what I need. I know my stylist already has ideas cooking (she already moved my appt earlier b/c she said bleaching part adds time), but do you have thoughts, color ideas for me now that you’ve met me IRL? I think I told you pink is my fave color, but I love your red.

    Also, I see freckles and beauty. I see the face of someone I’m privileged to have met. I see someone who was incredibly kind to me last week when I needed it most and in spite of me not being myself and in an odd situation. I see someone I want to get to know more. I see someone I want to literally follow around at BlogHer.

    So there.
    xoxo

    1. Oh Erin,
      There are no words for your amazingness.
      DO YOUR HAIR! Worst case, you can put a darker color over it again if you don’t like it. But you’ll like it. I promise.
      I’ve had it like this for 2 years and it STILL makes me smile when I see it in the mirror.
      Thank you so much for your sweet words, and I can’t wait to see you again in just 3 weeks!
      XOXO

    1. Heh. Thanks!
      It was SO great getting to spend so much time with you this weekend!
      Even if it was at 2 different Walmarts! XOXO

  3. wow, you’re pretty….GORGEOUS!

    I am 43 and not old at all…at least I don’t think so. I am loving my 40’s.

    CAN’T wait to hug you!!!!

    xoxox

  4. Everyone always huffs and rolls their eyes (adoringly of course, this is me after all) when another birthday of theirs rolls around and I charmingly chime in to say that age is merely a number and never a ruler. “Of course you’d say that! You’re still a baby!” they say. Well, I won’t be a “baby” forever and as I close the gap to 30 on Tuesday and then 40 and then 50 and then 100 (on Tuesdays other than this one. I’m no majestic unicorn…no matter how many times I make that wish on the birthday candles…), I’ll always say that age is merely a number and never a ruler. Happy belated birthday, lady!

  5. You look great and I absolutely love the red in your hair!! I am simply not that brave!

    40… going on 41 here. It’s not that bad either considering most people don’t think I’m that old. Come to think of it they never say how old they think I am… hopefully it’s not older than that!

  6. Love the hair!

    And this point: I remember my parents turning 40; I’m turning into an age where I knew them. <–Never thought about that before! So true 🙂

    And I'm edging ever closer to 50 (gasp!) — and still kicking. My personal trainer is going to help me get in the best shape of my life and I'm happier than I've ever been.

  7. I LOVE YOUR HAIR! So damn cute. I am 41.5 and feel your pain. Although, I still get told I look young for my age. I think people are just trying to keep me from having a mental breakdown so I pretend to believe them. 🙂

  8. I think you are kind of wonderful. I think 36 to 38 are weird years. You’re still young, but have middle age in your headlights. It’s like second puberty.

    40 is not a bad birthday, once you are past it. The early forties are kind of great. Enjoy learning not to give a damn about things that aren’t important.

  9. I’m turning 38 in a few weeks. Yee gad. But I don’t feel old…and the 20 somethings in my office tell me I don’t look old…so I’m going with still young (ish). But I’m not nearly as hot as you!

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