On Wednesday I turn 45. It is literally the age that I have always considered “the scary age.” It’s half way to 90 and possibly the top of the mountain where you look toward the other side that faces death. Now that’s a fun thought. I could wax poetic like most people do at this point, but I already did that here. Sometimes, the beauty and comedy in life comes from the absurdity and WTF moments. I still have over half of my life to live…if I live past 90 and if I don’t, well what can you do. We all know how it ends and it always ends with some sort of return to the earth. Being 45 in today’s world is a lot different than in my parents. For example, when my parents were my age, they had three kids who were all either in college or starting college. At the age of 45, my kid is only 7. You know what that means? It means that I’ll be raising a teenager when I go through menopause. Awesome. Can’t wait for that.
There are so many things that people didn’t tell me about reaching middle age. It’s almost like all the annoying little secrets no one tells you about before you make the choice to have kids. I mean, I expected the baby crying, but I never expected the incessant, interminable, mind numbing screaming that sent me running into the dark of night toward the liquor store. So with that being said, I realized that aging would require certain realities such as sagging of the boobs, metabolism that has all but stopped, and tests that are required to check for things like cancer. It’s in your 40’s when you get to have your first mammogram. I heard it was painful, but there is truly no way to prepare for the feeling you get when you take your breast out of the gown and have a total stranger, who can only be described as a sadomasochist, cup it and place it on a Star Trek looking machine that completely crushes it between two plates not once, but multiple times! I mean, you get all of that without any promise of sex. Oh joy.
In this lead up to 45, I’ve worked very hard to make sure that I maintained a healthy weight and get in a fairly decent amount of exercise, like everyone suggests and I would have to say that I look fairly good………”for the people in my age bracket.” That’s a phrase I just simply love. I’m at that age where I no longer have the perky boobs of a 25 year old, but I also don’t have the boobs of a 90 year old. I look o.k. For my age! It’s almost like being in the 20 minute mile group and getting excited when you run that mile in under 18 minutes.
I’ve noticed that being at this middle aged mark has forced me to evaluate my career. Imagine my dismay when I realized that 45 means that I have at the least twenty more years in the work force. My God! I’ve already done 20 years and you are telling me that I have at a minimum twenty left! WTF is that about! And not only is the thought of working another 20 years frightening, but so is the fact that most of us at this age are still in middle management, having very little control, and making just enough money to be not enough. Being 45 in 2014, means that I’m a Gen Xer and those pesky Baby Boomers are still in the workforce sucking up all the good executive jobs. Yeah that makes me smile, as I head to my windowless, exceptionally boring cubicle.I have found that this is the point in a person’s career where they also think of changing jobs to something totally different like bartending at the Hooters on the beach. Except I have too much debt to even consider that and my boobs would no longer hold up that tight little halter top. Yay. There are other things in the work force that I have started to notice around 45. I attend retirement parties for co-workers and have a sense of envy as they walk out the door, but also a sense of superiority that I’m not quite that old yet. I secretly hate them as they email pics of their daily exploits that don’t involve a windowless cubicles and just say to myself, “Well, at least they will die before me.” Somewhere around the 40’s I have found, is when you start to deplore the executives and their two week cruises, as you can only look forward to a three day weekend cooking smores in your back yard and playing in the baby pool with your kid. It’s a joyous time.
I think what’s interesting about turning 45 is the realities of lost dreams. My guess is that I’ll most likely never sing Memory on Broadway, become a millionaire, stand on the medalist podium during the Olympics (except maybe with the introduction of Curling, I might have a chance), and give a speech at the Oscars. In all likelihood I’ll never have a man walk up to me in a ballroom and say, “No one puts baby in a corner,” and then lift me up to inspiring music. My best shot of fame is probably some makeover reality show where a trainer screams at me all day long and I cry on national television over my lost battle between gravity and my breasts. I’m inclined to listen to the oldies station on the radio and get excited when I actually can sing the lyrics of a popular song. Of course, once you reach that stage, your kid screams at you from the back seat to stop singing All About That Base. Sex is also intriguing at this age as time no longer becomes a factor of embarrassment as you take pride in how fast you can do it, so you can get back to sewing your kids Halloween costume or the glass of wine you need to finish. The movies I watched and loved in high school are now celebrating their 30 year anniversary as this is also the age I’ve realized that most of my childhood was a lie. (Please see Bill Cosby) TV stars I grew up with are dying and I now know the actual lyrics to songs from my youth and am completely shocked to find out they mean nothing of what I thought they did. I have come to grips with the fact that I’ll never look like a Victoria Secrets model, no matter how many fancy bras I buy for $50 and I have accepted the reality that granny panties are actually rather comfortable and I don’t really give a rats ass if I feel “sexy” down there.
My mom once said that your 40’s are a very unique time in your life. You have enough time behind you to have fallen on your face more than once and enough time in front of you to learn from them and laugh about it. I think she was right. I look around me and see how all of these ridiculous and absurd aspects of growing old impact people. Some give up. Some sell out. Some sit back and accept their fate. There are those that fight it and those that struggle with the change. I have found that I’m none of that. It inspires me to be at a point in life that I can laugh at the reality of the human condition. I’m healthy enough to appreciate the frailty of the body and old enough to understand resilience of the human spirit. I still believe in dreams and know that one day I’ll occupy that corner office. I would be lying if I didn’t still practice my Oscar speech in the car and pretend to sing Memory on Broadway. I have friends that have known me for decades and not only know where the bodies are buried, but helped me poor the cocktails after the burial. When I bitch about the kids today, they are the ones to say, “Bitch please. I guess you forgot about the time when…”
It’s a special time and I really believe I’m going to enjoy the next 45.