I think when I turned 40, something happened.
Not to my posterior either – that happened a long time before I hit the big 4-0.
No, whatever the ‘something’ was, it was something more complicated than anything gravity has done to my tater.
I think I had an epiphany.
I reflected back on my life, where I thought I would be at the age of 40, what I would have accomplished, what I would have done. I was sorely disappointed. A lot of the things I had just knew I was going to do I had not even made the first step towards.
Only one thing had happened that I had previously planned on my life itinerary and that was to be a mother; kind of ironic since that happened after a handful of doctors told me it was not going to ever happen.
When had I mapped out this course for my life? I wondered to myself. Oh that’s right, I remembered, when I was an unrealistic 20-something in college, thinking that life was going to go the way I thought it would, not planning for any missteps or bumps along the way.
How did I let all this time slip away unnoticed? What had I done, or not done?
There were definitely a few things that made me frown and think the situations could have been handled differently, but not the way most would think.
The 40-year-old woman was definitely not the same 20-something year old who had dreamed all these dreams of grandeur.
If anything, I like that 20-something me a lot better. She was surer, bolder and more confident than this 40-something was.
The 20-something me didn’t take half the junk the newly 40-year-old me did. She stood up for herself and every underdog that needed defending. This one now barely has the energy to fight traffic. I was so far in the middle of my pity party for one, I was starting to sound like a character Anne Hathaway would play in the musical.
So I wondered what the 20-something me would have done.
For one, she wouldn’t sit around and whine about it. No, that younger generation me detested whining from herself or anyone else. She would have figured out what needed to be done and do it. So I did.
“Mama, I am going back to school.”
“Wonderful! When are you starting law school?” was her reply.
“Not law school,” I began. “That’s your dream; not mine. I’m going to do what I said I was going to do 16 years ago. I’m going to get my PhD in psychology.”
Even though her Kitten wasn’t going to be a lawyer, Mama was supportive.
The only reason she ever thought I should have been an attorney was because she said not only could I argue with her until I won, I could hold my own against Granny, both of us tying up verbally like a bunch of feral cats.
“How long will it take?” Mama asked.
“Two years for my master’s and three to four for the doctorate,” I answered.
“So you’ll be 45 when you get done?”
Math may not be one of Mama’s strengths but she did that one with a quickness. I knew what she was thinking.
That’s a little late to go back to school, start a second career. Maybe it is. It was something I had on my 20-something “To Accomplish” list that I never did.
“The time is going to go by regardless,” I said. “I’d rather be 45 or 46 or even 47 and say I completed my doctorate than say I am that old and haven’t done what I wanted to do with my life.”
Mama’s silence warned me what was coming next. She ticked off all the things she thought I had started or tried, or talked about and then I said “eh” and didn’t follow through with.
I assured her by telling her, yet again, this was the original plan – and I had already registered for my first class.
“Alright,” was all she said.
Surely, I didn’t need her approval for my choice of mid-life crisis did I?
It was like I had it – I know she would be proud of me in whatever I did, but it would be a little more affirming if I had the whoopin’ and the hollerin’.
Then a friend sent me a link to a story a few days later. I skimmed the story briefly, catching the details that a scientist thought we were going to live to be 150 and eventually, 1,000 years old.
I don’t know if I want to live that long. That’s too much wrinkle cream to buy and I don’t want to see how Spanx evolve for a body that old.
Another news site claimed that 75 is the new 30. It used to be 40 is the new 30, but scientists or someone is pushing that age further out. I don’t even know what 40 is considered now.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I am not having a mid-life crisis after all.
Maybe I am revisiting my adolescence which would explain, well, a lot of things. The pimples that come along with wrinkles for one.
Or maybe, it’s just putting me right where I need to be.