I stopped making a fuss about my birthday sometime in my 20s when it was no longer feasible, reasonable or acceptable to celebrate for an entire week. Thus, last weekend when I turned 44, it read like most of my Saturdays in February — an early morning workout at home followed by a partner workout at the gym, two basketball games before a quick lunch and two more basketball games, family dinner with my guys then home by 9PM. The birthday bonus: My mom drove down from NY to take us out to eat … and she brought cupcakes and presents. Yeah, my mom rocks!
I’m not one to get upset about turning a year older, yet when someone asks how old I am, it takes me about six months to answer correctly. Not out of duplicity or embarrassment, just habit. Remembering a new age/number takes me awhile. The truth is, I’m glad I’m not younger. I like being in my 40s. I’m more comfortable in my own skin now … and my jeans, too. I’m healthier, stronger and can do things that I couldn’t do 10 years ago — hell, even 5 years ago — like, bench press over 100 pounds and deadlift over 200 pounds. I can even do a handstand!
Despite kicking ass in my 40s, it’s far from all roses all the time. There are definitely some armpits mixed in that make 44 feel old, such as:
- having to scroll waaaaaay down to find my birth year online
- being called “ma’am”
- having to pee as soon as I stand up
- forgetting why I entered a room, opened the cabinet or opened a drawer
- needing my glasses to read anything and everything
- not being able to hear when people talk (but thinking a TV volume over 7 is deafening)
- needing to dye my roots every week and a half
- having to check for chin hairs (thanks, early menopause)
- fighting a slower metabolism (thanks again, early menopause)
- being too tired to stay out past 10PM
- catching myself singing along to Hall & Oats and Lionel Richie in the supermarket
But grooving in the grocery store and plucking chin hairs doesn’t make me wish for younger days. I really like being in my 40s. I may be older and have more gray hair, but I’m also wiser. I know what (and who) I like and what (and who) I don’t. I know my strengths and my weaknesses, and I don’t care what other people think because I’m no longer trying to impress anyone — including myself. I’m learning to embrace my imperfections and celebrate my Type A-minus personality in order to become a better version of myself. I know I’m a work in progress and 44 is just the mid-way point. I may not be looking forward to turning 50 in six short years, but if I can make it through early menopause and puberty with two boys, I can handle a silly little number. Besides, I’ll probably keep saying I’m 49 anyway … out of habit.