I’m reading a book about being in your 40s.
The author is an American who lives in France and she said one day it just all began…the switch from waiters calling her Mademoiselle right into Madame.
Old ladies are Madame.
And now she was being called Madame…old.
Of course, age is but a number. How we cope with the number that sits next to our face on our driver’s license is what’s important.
In the states, you go from being called a Miss to a Ma’am.
I’m a Ma’am now. It is startling to hear the 17 year old guy at the grocery store who is bagging your lettuce and organic soy milk address you as Ma’am.
And then they ask you if you need help to your car.
You can call me Ma’am, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to help me with my bags!
And I’ll show you what kind of Ma’am I am by schlopping all 6 bags onto my arms to get to the car WITHOUT a cart.
And I’ll throw in a jog through the parking lot.
I’m 47 years old now.
My kids keep me on the young side. I had kids when I was in my 30s and I am an older mom in my neck of the woods.
Heck, my cousin (who is younger than me) is already a grandmother.
She’s a Grandma Ma’am.
So, in a similar style to the book I’m reading (There Are No Grown-Ups:A Midlife Coming-Of-Age Story by Pamela Druckerman) I’m going to make a list for you about MY experiences at being Forty.
- I now shave my knuckles because as I’ve gotten older they seem to have exploded into gorilla knuckles.
- Same for my big toes.
- I got bifocals a few years ago and now it seems like I don’t need bifocals. I can read better without them on. I don’t know if my eyes are getting better or worse.
- I have had a few hot flashes. I think. I wasn’t sure if it was really happening. I texted my girlfriends and only one of them has experienced menopause and she confirmed that the sudden burst of internal heat that I felt the other day while folding Man-Farmer’s boxer briefs on laundry day was indeed a hot flash. She then proceeded to tell me all about the other horrible things that have happened to her as she’s been going through menopause. Lovely things like…flop sweat, changes in body odor, the flashes of heat, mood swings. Oh, Joy.
- My neck fell down and I don’t even know when it tripped. I have a turkey gobbler neck and I swear to you, I just woke up one morning and there it was. I have had weight fluctuations in the past 7 years. When my daughter was diagnosed with cancer at age 5, eating was put on the backburner. I lost 20 pounds. Since she’s recovered from her disease and is cured, I have gained weight back. I guess the weight loss/gain has attributed to the turkey neck.
- I have started doing crossword puzzles and word searches to keep my brain in tip-top shape. My grandmother did crossword puzzles. I’m doing things that are in the Ma’am/Madame stage of life because I don’t want to go down stupid. I want to remember dates. I want to remember names. I want to remember driving directions. I have a knack for remembering how to get somewhere if I’ve been there once. I don’t want to lose that as I get older. Aldi has a package of word searches and crossword puzzles on sale right now and I’m gonna get them. And yes, I check the circular for deals. Just like a Ma’am does.
- I don’t hide the fact that I am a very liberal, open-minded, non-god believer, don’t like guns kind of a person. I can still be friends with you if you are a god-believing, gun-loving, conservative. Because the world is a big place and there’s bound to be something that we can mutually agree on and talk about.
- My hair may be gray (I stopped coloring a few years ago), but my skin still behave as if I’m a twentysomething. It’s oily and I break out often. STILL! It’s the worst and I would give up my left boob to have clear skin. If you are rolling your eyes and thinking…how superficial/losing your breasts are nothing to joke about/it’s just a zit…then you have never been plagued by unruly skin. I have had uncooperative skin since I was 18 years old. So, 30 years of shit-skin. I don’t know if things will improve when menopause occurs or if things will get worse. I’m hoping for something other than my vajayjay drying up as I get older.
- Friendships are now either super-long-term friendships that I’ve had 30 years (that group is very small) and moms of my kids’ friends at school (even smaller). I’m not sure how to maintain either and I don’t really feel a huge desire to be fake anymore with anyone. So, either you like me or you don’t. If you don’t like me…okay. I won’t force myself on you. I am an extroverted introvert. What you see is not always what you get and I think I disappoint people.
- Regardless of the fact that I have hairy knuckles and that I’m beginning to have surges of heat flowing through my body even though I’m in air conditioning, I like me. I have accepted the gray hair, the turkey neck, and my quiet personality.
Being in my fortieth year of life, actually, now the endish part of my fortieth years, has made me more accepting of myself. I even write about it openly. Which is not something my younger self would have done. And I’m pretty sure I’ve had hairy knuckles since I was 12.