Le Freak Out?

1969. The moon landing. Midnight Cowboy. Led Zeppelin I. The maiden flight of the Boeing 747. The election of Golda Meir.
Also, I was born.
Which, for those of you too lazy to do the math, means that I am turning 40 this year. The big 4-oh.
Now, popular culture, despite Erica Jong, seems determined to regard 40 as the threshold between youth and middle age – which, let’s face it, really means old. In my circle of friends, most people seem to have dealt with the idea of forty pretty well, with the exception of one friend who’s been celebrating his 29th birthday for 15 years as of April, and one other friend whose issues cannot be addressed here, but suffice it to say, they’re big issues.
How am I dealing with forty?
Last August, I got a tattoo. My first. On Good Friday, I got my nose pierced. My first piercing (aside from my ear lobes, which are conventional piercings for most women in our culture). This afternoon, I’m planning to have my navel pierced. Next week, I have consultation to discuss laser eye surgery.
Some might argue that these are the actions of a woman in denial, or of a woman desperately trying to hang onto her youth. In fact, some have already made those arguments. Who knows, maybe some psychiatrist out there will confirm this diagnosis.
My counter-argument is that I love the idea of forty. I have wanted a tattoo since I was a teenager, but managed to talk myself out of it for over twenty years because I was afraid I would get to a certain point in my adult life and seriously regret it. I have always liked the idea of a nose stud, but talked myself out of it because I was convinced my nose was too big. I talked myself out of a navel piercing because I don’t have washboard abs. I talked myself out of laser eye correction because I was afraid it was too risky.
You know what? I love my tattoo. I love my nose stud. So why not the other stuff?
Sure, my nose is big – but I love how it looks with my little diamond. I like my nose more now. So I figure I may not have perfect abs, but I bet my tummy will look just fine with a bit of bling.
I am not afraid of 40. I love 40. Forty means I can relax and say “I don’t care whether or not you think this is a good idea.”
I am in a great place in my life. I have a job that I love, and colleagues that respect my work. I have a great husband who more than appreciates me. I have two great kids – one of whom starts high school this fall. I have a great house, and while it’s hardly ever clean, it’s cozy and feels like home. I may not be model material, but I’m in pretty good shape and pretty comfortable with those bits of me that are in different shapes. I have good friends, and good family.
Forty rocks.

5 Replies to “Le Freak Out?”

  1. I enjoyed your upbeat optimistic opposite-of-Freak-Out. (August?) 1969 was also when Charles Manson’s followers sliced and diced Sharon Tate and several others. Still the Crime-of-the-Century for me. I can hardly wait that long hard decade to see what you post when you’re Fifty. You may like it even better than Forty! Others have.

  2. For twenty years, I’ve been saying, “I can’t wait to be forty. I’ll be so much smarter when I’m forty than I am now.”
    I have 10 months to think up something new and more clever to say about getting older.
    Forty totally rocks. Who the hell would want to be twenty again? I was right – I am WAY smarter (and happier) than I was.
    But I’m still scared of tattoos, and not even my ears are pierced any more.

  3. Maggie – I was recently introduced to your site by a fan and have to say I love it. Your turning forty was like mine and now I’m closing in on the 50 in a bit over a year. It still keeps getting better, though.

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