Friday, May 9, 2014


This year I celebrate Mother's Day and my birthday on the same day. It's a two-for-one deal for my family. I'm getting totally robbed, of course. Those jerks should have to treat me like the Queen of Everything on more than one day.

Just kidding. I'll make them celebrate me all weekend.

And possibly into next week.

So I'm turning 43 on Sunday.

I can't believe I typed that and put it into the atmosphere for people to consume and digest how horrifically ancient I am. Actually, this is quite an achievement. It has taken me three years to admit that I'm in my 40s. I really hated turning 40. So much so that my son still insists I'm 38. For a while I think he really believed it, and then I felt guilty and corrected him, but then he kept insisting to anyone who asked that I was indeed 38 years old because he's just that wonderful.

But I'm 43 this week. For real.

I thought I'd be a grown up by the time I was in my 40s. But I look at my face in the mirror and there's still something wide-eyed and childlike about my appearance. Or maybe that's just me seeing the me I know me to be? Maybe strangers see a 43-year-old suburban housewife.

I see Brigitte Bardot.

But whatever. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I'm going to behold me as looking young. Notice I did not say, "for my age." If Madonna can be in her 50s, I can be in my 40s. And neither one of us looks "good for our age." We just look good, thank you.

Perhaps I'm okay with being in my 40s because I'm happier with myself at 43 than I was at 40? I'm married to an incredibly smart, handsome and hilarious man. He's also rich. Just kidding. I just said that to make him laugh. When our daughter Grace was born, I used to quote her a line from the Tina Turner biopic, What's Love Got To Do With It? Ike Turner says to his newborn son, "Why you cryin' baby? Don't you know your daddy's rich and your mama's good lookin'?" So that's how I describe us to my husband and he finds it amusing.

I also have a beautiful and kind son who is ten years old. TEN YEARS OLD! I have parented for a decade! He came into my world and changed my life for the better a whole ten years ago. I can't even believe it. And I have a beautiful and feisty four-year-old daughter. FOUR YEARS OLD! She's no longer a toddler or a baby. She's practically a big girl. She can put on her own pants and everything.

These are things to feel good about. I'm raising two tiny human beings to put on pants and flatter people. If that isn't success, I don't know what is.

And I'm in grad school and I'm writing a book. I think I felt pretty bad about not doing either of those things three years ago … so maybe that's why I'm finally okay with being in my forties? Perhaps I feel like I'm accomplishing stuff. Maybe I feel successful even though I don't have the final evidence quite yet. It's in process. The wheels are in motion. I've got two classes down for the Master's degree and I'm over 250 pages into my first book.

Yeah. Not too shabby. I'm going to stake a claim on it and go ahead and feel good about myself.

It's been a long road to 43. Let me tell you, 33 was hard as hell. I was not in a good place. I was a single mom and scared. I was trying to create an entirely brand-new career out of thin air. And I was full of doubts about my abilities. Maybe I'm a late bloomer? I spent my twenties in a marriage in a bubble. I spent my thirties living the life that you're supposed to live in your twenties. Trying to find myself and trying on all kinds of roles and men. Making lots of mistakes and trying to find my way back to normal.

And 40? What will I do with this decade? I feel like I'm going to get shit done. All the dreams and frustrations of the previous forty years will be answered. I'm doing the work. Burning the midnight oil  that I avoided all those other decades.

40 is better than 30. And 30 is better than 20. And 20 was better than 10. At this rate, I can't wait to be 50 and 60 and 70 and more. Life is good. Being alive is a gift. I'm not going to waste it anymore. I'm going to do things that matter. I'm going to make a difference and connect with people. I'm going to be brave and honest. I'm going to learn to like myself a little more. And I'm going to be nicer to old people and jerks. Maybe even be a little less self-critical and ignore that internal monologue that says "I can't" instead of "I can."

And I'm not going to be embarrassed about how much life I've lived. I've earned it. I'm on my way. And you haven't even seen the best of me yet.

This is how I do 43, bitches.