My 39th birthday is coming up and I am waffling between apathy and anxiety about it. I have often had high expectations for my birthday and have been sad when they weren't met, so I'm trying to keep a lid on that this year. So, on the one hand, it's just a day--I'm pragmatic and know this in my heart. I will be no different on Monday than I will be on Tuesday and all that.
But, on the other hand, it sounds so much older than I feel. Almost 40? Come ON. Maybe it's the starting over, back in school, etc that's contributing to my general disbelief, but I'm not sure. There are some alarms going off, though I doubt it's all the usual stuff. I am not lamenting my lack of babies or anything. Maybe my lack of a viable career. Also, some options have passed me by forever (and I am not being overly dramatic here, I'm just saying). For example, I will never be in the 40 under 20 or even, likely, the 20 under 40. Even my starting over looks different now than it once did. There's less grace, more clawing for a comfort zone.
I am so set in my ways that I make things harder for myself than I am supposed to. I don't act nearly forty most of the time... so that when I do, it doesn't serve me. I don't make enough room for others, I always act the way I act, I am unforgiving. These are the ways of old people, and I am only now learning that they are my ways.
Sometimes my knees feel forty, but only on the three flights to my apartment, and there are times that I look in the mirror and see all these lines around my eyes and mouth--and am both enchanted and appalled. I know I will never have the smooth stomach I once dreamed of, and that the stomach I do have is considered "character," at best. I have a lot of character, alright, and it will probably wind up being my downfall.
I like all the lines on the back of my hands--they are new. I like that my voice stayed a bit raspy, even though I quit smoking nearly a decade ago. I like that I am in better shape, even now, than I was ten years ago. So, you know, don't get me wrong. It's not all bad; it's just all slipping when it once used to be climbing.