40 is 40. That phrase attempts to cheer up those reaching this milestone birthday. Effective? Perhaps for some. For me? Let’s just say if I am only as old as I feel, then Happy 209,865th Birthday to me.
The CEO at the company where I work loves to celebrate these big birthdays with either cake or ice cream in the cafeteria. I thought I could get out of it, but she already knew my birthday was coming up. Dangit. Eating ice cream under fluorescent lighting with people who now know your real age? Can’t wait.
I don’t think I would have minded this ritual when I turned 30. I celebrated my 30th on top of the world. Literally. I was in Vegas and had dinner at that revolving restaurant, Top of the World, overlooking the strip. Followed by a night filled with dancing and strip clubs. Your basic exercise in drunken debauchery. I still felt somewhat energetic and alive.
Turning 40 is different. I’m having a lot more trouble with this one. And I know why.
Aging sucks. Especially for women. Men get more “distinguished.” Women just get old. In a culture that places so much emphasis on youth and beauty, every birthday is one year farther away from that young ideal. I think 40 is where you really start to notice the widening gap.
I think 40 also marks the beginning of the decade where some women start looking into Botox®, mini face lifts, and Restylane®. I want to grow old gracefully. I can’t guarantee there won’t be a day where noticing a line or wrinkle will catapult me into researching Restylane® injections. Vain? Completely. Saying I don’t care about what I’ll look like later on is a lie.
So today, I get to eat ice cream in unflattering light and ponder all of this. The CEO promised me that there is life after 40. What kind of life remains to be seen. Here we go…