Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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I'll be 40 - someday

The other day, I had the house to myself.

Yes, that's right.

I had. The house. To myself.

I considered working, and I very briefly considered doing some chores, but I exercised instead. Which, of course, made me feel guilty (and hungry, but mostly guilty).

At this stage of the game, on the cusp of midlife (which sounds so much prettier than Middle Aged), taking time for ourselves seems decadent; there are always other things that I "should" be attending to.

Don't worry, I'm not going to make a habit of exercising; I hate effort too much for that to happen. But on this particular day, not only did I indulge in some me-time, but instead of planning my next writing assignment or trying to remember if I'd started the dishwasher, I let my mind wander.

Perhaps it was the fact that arrrrg, working out is hard now or the resulting huffing and puffing, but I started thinking about what it means to me that I'm going to be 40. My birthday was just a few days away! Will things be very different when I do finally huff and puff Over The Hill, I wondered?

on turning 40 - someday by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

I didn't care much for turning 20. Kissing my teen years goodbye was tougher than I thought - I wasn't quite ready to embrace the idea that I'd be expected to "know better" and, as a result, probably needed to cut way back on making stupid decisions.

By the time a decade had passed, I was glad to turn 30. I was tired of not being taken seriously at work because I was "only twenty-something." I was finally ready to be a Real Grown Up.

Now, yet another decade has nearly sped by (!!!) and I'm faced with turning 40. Will it be as rough as 20, bringing with it a certain amount of regression and heavy drinking? Or will it be more similar to 30 - comfortable, like slipping into a new pair of elastic-waist pants?

For years my hair has been graying, my face wrinkling, my rest-of-me sagging. I don't mind any of that.

When I look at a snapshot of today - what I have and where I am and who I am - I'm thrilled with what I see. I have a family, career, and a life I never would have imagined possible when I was 20. Or even 30.

When I peer back down the path I took to get here - all the obstacles and triumphs, the sacrifices and tough choices - I am content. I made plenty of mistakes, but I have no regrets. I don't see how I could've gotten where I am any other way.

But as I slogged away at my workout that afternoon, I thought about the Big Picture. I looked at my whole life, stretched across the canvas of 40 years, and it seemed . . . sparse. Although I'm deliriously happy, pleased with where I've been and where I am, I found myself feeling very unready for 40.

But why?

Is there more I feel I should've accomplished by now? Do my memories just not amass into something that feels big enough to cover 40 years? Shouldn't I be looking forward to the Promised Years of post-kid freedom in which one is allowed to do decadent things like exercise (or eat an entire sleeve of Oreos), guilt-free? Or is it as simple as just not wanting to face the inevitable reality that time, moment by moment, decade by decade, is slipping away?

I don't know. Maybe.

I'll be 40, I thought, trying the concept on for size. Forty. 4-0. Foooooortyyyyyyy. I wasn't sure exactly what that meant to me.

The next day, as I was relating all these thoughts and questions to my husband, he made a very important point.

"Honey," he said, taking my hand and looking at me earnestly. "You're turning 38 this year. You won't be 40 until 2016."

I checked the math. He's right.

Okay, so I'm only going to be 38, though apparently the part of my brain that calculates my age is, like, 138. However, the simple fact that remains is this:

Nothing makes 38 feel younger than thinking you were 40.

But I'll still be 40 . . . someday.

Hey, whichever birthday I'm having this year, it's here! *cue confetti* If you didn't get me a present, no worries - you'll still make my day if you buy yourself a present... like a copy of I Just Want To Be Alone, the funny anthology about the men in our lives we love to laugh about! Already bought a bunch of copies? Fantastic! I'd consider it a special birthday favor if you popped over to Amazon and left us a review - they do wonders for the book's rank (and our egos). Thank you!!!

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