Being in your 40s is weird. Very weird.
It’s so… dichotomous.
I’m old enough to know that I have earned the right to say no, but I can’t. So I let guilt sign my name.
On the one hand, I feel pretty darn comfortable in my own skin. But at the same time, it bothers me how it’s getting all crepey and wrinkly and I see the women who go for the filler and botox and poofier lips and end up looking like they stepped off the same spaceship, and I don’t want to look artificial like that and yet… I totally get it.
I’ve come to terms with and feel at peace (mostly) about my, ahem, more mature body, but when I survey the clothes in my closet, I can’t help but think, can I pull that off? Is it too short? Too young? And I hate worrying about stuff like that because there was a time when I didn’t.
I feel better about wearing less makeup, but I also feel less confident in my ability to apply it. Do I look good or like I went too far outside the lines? Or worse, like I’m trying too hard?
My once-upon-a-time-dark-brown hair is graying, and it’s such a pain to color, but I’m not ready to reveal its natural state to the world just yet.
The thing is, I was never beauty pagent material, maybe cute at best. I never had (what I felt like was) a rockin’ bod. I have always prided myself on a sparkling personality, which in the long run, is so much better because beauty fades and a tight tush eventually sags. Unless you’re JLo or Shakira. And I’m not.
You can’t miss what you never had. In theory.
But, youth… that is not an easy thing to let go. Being a young ‘un cuts you a loooooot of slack. It’s a built-in excuse for so many things, bad decisions and poor behavior. Plus, that skin is wrinkle-free. And so taut. At a certain point, though, the gravy train’s over and it’s expected that you should know better. But should we? We’re always growing, evolving, learning, so can’t we still make goofy mistakes? I mean, I look much older on the outside but way too often, I still feel very much 15 on the inside.
Our society is huge on demographics: Gen-X, Gen-Y, Millenials, ages 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54… and we’re always checking some box, which means we get to hear cringe-y compliments like, “You look good for your age!” We live in a world where people point to celebrities as examples of aging well. We have “role models” like Jennifer Aniston or Gwen Stefani, but they’re not real. They have staff, people who do hair, makeup, clean the house, cook, deal with their kids, tell them how to exercise, schedule their appointments, drive them, basically run interference on the everyday parts of life that the rest of us have to do ourselves (and that cause all the gray hair and stress snacking). No wonder they look so toned — they get a lot of extra exercise dodging reality.
Would I ever go back in time and be a teenager again or relive my 20s?
Hells to the no.
But, I would go back in time and steal that metabolism back.