Christmas sale! $50 OFF every $200 you spend. Use code XMASPRIDE

Life Begins at 40

by Holly V February 22, 2012

By: Holly VAnderhaar

I love being in my 40s. No, really. I do. It’s not all a bed of roses, of course. I don’t love all the gray hair (or the cost involved in hiding it), and I’m not crazy about the tendency of body parts to expand and/or move southward. I expected to be battling these things in my 40s, though. The physical deterioration comes as no surprise, and, anyway, I still look pretty good for my age. What is surprising is that, inside, I feel about 25. Better, actually. At 25, I was an emotional train wreck —or, at best, a partial derailment. Now I’m responsible, a reliable employee, a good parent (most of the time), and on an even emotional keel. But I don’t feel “mature” in the way that my younger self would have expected to feel at this age. I thought that when I was 45, I would feel 45, whatever that means. I don’t, not even close. I giggle with my girlfriends like we’re still in high school. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m more optimistic.

I think what’s made the difference is that I don’t care anymore what people think, and I don’t compare my life to others’ and find it wanting. My 25-year-old self, hearing a fortysomething express those feelings -that cliché that life begins at 40- would have thought, “How sad.” My 25-year-old self would have seen it as a massive rationalization, or self-consolation, or a kind of giving up. She would have thought, “That person is trying to make peace with the inevitability of getting old,” and she would have pitied that person, even while she was going out to a bar that she really didn’t feel like going to, or suffering through another blind date when she would rather have been at home in sweat pants, watching Northern Exposure with her cat and eating ice cream out of the carton.

When I was 25, I was constantly scrutinizing myself —my physical self, my relationships or lack thereof, my career or lack thereof— to see if I measured up. Inevitably, I didn’t. I was mired in the trap of trying to create a persona, to craft an identity, and it was all very plastic and crazy-making. At 25, I had to go out on Friday and Saturday nights, even though many times I would have preferred to stay home, because Monday morning at the office, someone would inevitably ask me what I did over the weekend. Not having plans would have been too humiliating for words. In contrast, the 45-year-old me is quite happy to put on her pajamas at 5:30 on Friday and doesn’t care who knows it.

Maybe some of this is the wisdom that comes with age, but most of it is due to motherhood. When I decided to become a single mom by choice, and had my daughters, I finally got what I’d always wanted. Much of my former unhappiness was caused by the fear that I wouldn’t find a husband, or wouldn’t find one in time to have kids, and since the one constant in my life has always been my desire for motherhood, all my future happiness depended on it. When I decided to stop waiting for it to happen to me, and started to act on my own behalf to make it happen, it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. If I could make this dream a reality, maybe I had it in me to make some of my other dreams come true as well. I started to believe in myself. I stopped apologizing for my life and started living it. And if I had to become middle-aged to achieve this kind of peace, so be it. This gray hair is a battle flag, not a white flag…even if I do pay someone to cover it up every six weeks.

The post Life Begins at 40 appeared first on The Next Family.




Holly V
Holly V

Author


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Parenting

Modern Fitness For the Modern Parent

by The Next Family March 25, 2016

e13db90f29f21c3e81584d04ee44408be273e7d61cb710479cf7_640_fitness-300x214@2x

Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian

By Laura King

Life can get busy. With work, kids, family commitments, friends, chores, and the general chaos of everyday life, it can be near impossible at times to sit down for a cup of tea, let alone squeeze in an hour of exercise regularly. However, all things are possible if you set your mind to them. Those that prioritize their fitness nearly...

Continue Reading →

Estate Planning: The Basics For LGBT Families

by The Next Family March 25, 2016

With the passage of marriage equality last year, laws have been quickly changing across the United States. LGBT couples with or without children weren’t just given the right of marriage, they were provided new protections and benefits within their families. All of a sudden, LGBT couples and families had to figure out how to file jointly when it came to taxes, how to add...

Continue Reading →

Representation of Modern Families in Kid-Friendly Entertainment

by The Next Family March 24, 2016 1 Comment

SidsFamily

By Alex Temblador

I recently wrote an article for The Next Family called, “Family-Friendly Films That Feature Adoption and Foster Care,” that shared wonderful family films with adoption or foster care story lines. My reasoning behind doing so was because every family deserves a chance to see similar families like theirs represented in various forms of entertainment.

The same can be said of other...

Continue Reading →