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Forty and Fortified...?

"Act your age!" But do we really know how? I'm calling for a revolution! Ladies on the cusp of 40 – together, we can change the world! (But don't count on it.)


With 40 looming just around the corner in a few weeks, I’ve given a lot of thought to this upcoming milestone. I’ve heard, more than once, the proverbial “they” say that 40 is the new 30. So that must mean 30 is the new 20, 20 is the new ten, and 10 is the new what, fetus? Gimme a break people. Quit fooling yourselves!

I must admit, I do not feel 40, but I don’t exactly know what 40 is supposed to feel like. I actually never knew what ANY age was supposed to feel like. As a child, and I think many of you can agree with me, it seemed to take forever to “grow up”.  When I hit junior high school age, 13, a teenager, I thought I was going to be so mature. But all that it got me was braces, a really bad perm and eyeglasses so large on my face I looked like the wise owl from the Tootsie Pop commercial.  Thank goodness high school was a little more forgiving. College, however, was going to really whip me into shape.  I was 18, an “adult” and living on campus.  Just me and my alarm clock to get me to class.  Yup, me and my alarm clock.  Two words: Bad Combo. But then I would enter my 20s and start my career where people depended on me. I got my first real paycheck outside of my part-time minimum wage jobs that I had during high school and college. Man, I was RIIIICH!! I could go out all night with my friends, get my rump shaker shakin’ while gettin’ jiggy wit it! That must have been quite a sight! At 30 years old, marriage would definitely change me. Marriage would finally initiate me into this thing called “adulthood." I would become a responsible, dutiful wife who quickly learned along with her responsible, dutiful husband that not only does the mortgage of ones house double at least twice the amount of the rent paid on their apartments but it also has an extra bathroom and a half to clean because Lord knows the house doesn’t clean itself, nor does the lawn mow itself, nor the driveway shovel itself. And that was just the tip of the iceberg! But a baby… a BABY ... will make it all come together. Raising another human being and imparting your wisdom on this brand new person will finally make it all click. You bring your newborn home to his beautiful nursery swaddled up tightly, snug as a bug in a rug and at night time lay him down in the heirloom family bassinet thinking you’re going to get a full eight hours sleep because you are so naïve and clueless. You go lay down and the second your head hits the pillow you hear this pterodactyl-like scream coming from your infant’s nursery and you think to yourself, is there something wrong with the air conditioning unit?

So here I am, coming up on yet another milestone wondering how to feel. Do I feel old? No. Do I want to be the “new 30”? Absolutely not. As I look back on my life so far, I’ve earned all these wonderful years under my belt thank you very much. I don’t feel the need to prove anything. I’m in fact very happy to be right where I am. So no, you won’t see this 40-year-old wearing a fedora hat and a halter-top sucking in her gut to wear a pair of jeans two sizes too small to paint the town red all hours of the night. Been there done that. (Correction: Never have I worn a fedora hat and never will I, as God is my witness.) In fact, why not start a revolution? Why not celebrate the elastic waistband and start living for comfort?  I’m starting to see nothing wrong with the muumuu our grandmothers wore tinkering around the house. (My grandmother called it a "housecoat.") They knew what was good for them. And in about 25 years or so, when other women my age are having their bunions removed because they wore their 8-inch heel Manolo Blahnik’s or Jimmy Choo’s, I’ll be cruising around Foxwoods’ cashing in my wampum points calling out BINGO like it’s nobody’s business because I wore Danskos baby! And enough of this Coco, Estee, and Ms. Arden! Their wallets are fat enough! Did you know Pond’s Cold Cream is less than $5 a pop?! C’mon now ladies! I smell a revolution! And it smells like Noxzema!!

Look, we don't need to take our femininity away, let's just be comfortable and rational about it like our foremothers were. They knew how to be in vogue in a graceful 40-something way. You never saw Carol Brady rummaging through her girls’ closets trying to be fashion-forward for Mike. She kept Mike pretty content in her polyester pant suits and vests running that household with Alice and cooking with Wesson Oil sporting her momullet (business in the front, partyflap in the back). Florida Evans on “Good Times” never once envied her daughter Thelma’s girlish figure and sense of style. She was too busy putting JJ in his place – DY-NO-MITE! If you even raised the question to Claire Huxtable on the "Bill Cosby Show" about 40 being the new 30 she’d object, have you in contempt, and leave you in jail to rot for the next 40 years. She was a brilliant attorney that one was. Shirley Partridge did sing in her kids’ band, so that was a little creepy, but other than that, these moms knew how to act their age, not their daughters’ shoe size.

Speaking of shoe size, I’ve got to conclude because after I get my hair colored I must swap my pair of Easy Spirits for a pair of roller-skates. I’m taking my kids roller-skating and have got to show my son and daughter how it all goes down.  They got NUTHIN’ on this epic roller-skating DISCO DIVA who could rock and skate circles around them!!!! I am totally rad on the rink fer sure!! But, I shall do it in a graceful, 40-something way, mind you. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Leslie Lee January 23, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Thank YOU Lynnie! Although, I think this is a far cry from journalism!
Leslie Lee January 23, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Thank you Mr. Payne! Taking your Emma Bombeck comparison as a huge complement and having fun with it!
Leslie Lee January 23, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Thanks Kimmie and Tazi! I'll look forward to your Brady Bunch reference tomorrow!
Leslie Lee January 23, 2013 at 01:24 AM
You're only 35 - don't rush it!
Suzanne Arena January 25, 2013 at 03:30 AM
All the wonderful memories....welcome to the soon to turn 40+ club. Happy Birthday!

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