The Reality of turning (ahem) Forty Six.

Nobody told me the realities of things growing up.  Or, maybe they did but I didn’t listen. Having children for starters.  That was way harder than I thought it would be, not glorified babysitting at.all.    But, turning what I am now accepting as middle aged, has proven to be humorous, in addition to solemn.  First off, I am glad I have turned 46, considering the alternative would be not being here.  And, although I humbly admit I have had moments where I wanted to end my existence here seriously, I am glad I got through those tough times, and hope the future ones are not as severe.

But, the realities are still stunning to me.  Brace yourself for brute honesty.  No sugar coating ahead!  You’ve been warned.

So the realities are:

I no longer shave my legs.  (I am mostly a sparsely haired person anyway).

I occasionally shave my…………………face.

I have started to not care about my white undercoat.  As a redhead, my hair started whitening quite a while ago, and after many experiments with home dye resulting in what my daughter called Bozo hair, I just sort of said, “Oh, well.”  I got some henna this summer, and I tried it and loved it, but have yet to find any free time I am willing to spend an hour slathered with a muddy substance reaking of cow manure…and gritty hair for a day or two.  So, white peaks through, and I don’t freak out.

One of the great things is:    I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about me anymore.   I dress in what I like, comfortably, trying to be somewhat attractive, neat, etc., but it is only for me.  I can go to the store in snow boots and pajama pants in Scott’s coat (only once!) and not care.  I try to not be repulsive.  To not stink.  Good goal if you ask me.

My bucket list (unwritten) is starting to take on an urgency.  There are things I really never imagined NOT doing, and now the reality is scary.  What if I don’t have the money?  What if I am not well enough?  My parents were incredibly fortunate to have travel opportunites at my age, and I fear that I won’t.

I can no longer treat my body as a roller coaster ride.   My stomach is sensitive,  I get bathroom issues, I get carb issues.   I fear doctor visits.  My uterus is not my friend (a gyno actually told me it was once)  anymore, rather a monthly enemy determined to kill me, but my womanly coat of honor refuses to allow me to succumb (I did call in ONCE…and I am still ashamed).  Snow shoveling causes a slight pause of thought, but only slight.

I marvel at women older than me, who seem to thrive…they are my inspiration!  Mormor – wow!  She lived to 99!  She had great-grandchildren…side thought:  Katie has announced she won’t be having children, which will render me grandchildless, which while I respect her decision, am a little sad because I have seen how much joy grandchildren have brought  to my sister and my mom, but at this point in Katie’s life, is a wise decision on her part.  Back to inspiration, Mormor was a bit feeble in her aging years, but sharp as a tack mentally.  She was awesome!  My aunt Joanne is another inspiration.  Saw her at a wedding recently, and she rocked out in a layered modern dress, and her figure is still good.  She still travels and is very active.  I have always admired her spunk, she was an ambulance driver! and she raised a bunch of kids – who were challenging I am sure.  But they all came out successful, and knowing what I now know, THAT is incredible. She is 12 years older than my mom, yet she is still close to her younger sister(s).  I will never forget visiting her house in Nutley.  As a Navy brat, the homes of my aunts – Nutley, New Jersey and Wayne, PA along with the ubiquitous 183 Forbes Street, Rahway, were major constants in my young life of changes.

Have I mentioned my Aunt Melva?!  OMG – she was a dancer in NYC, kept a perfect home, always bubbly, and runs (perhaps “ran” applies now?) marathons in her elder years!   My Aunt Melva is the most beautiful woman in our family (sorry, but she IS).  Always stylish, always hip, always put together.  She is an IT girl.  Always has been.  And she smells good, too.  Growing up, I thought of her as some kind of angel, we’d visit during holidays.  She had a gold silk sofa stuffed with down!  (We were told before we got there to look, but not touch anything in the gorgeous home she kept).   Another post topic would be her husband: Uncle Cort.  Loved and missed, but I’ll save him for another post.

Aunt Nancy.  Beloved sister of my dad.  Literally hundreds of letters my dad sent her through the years have been saved, and presumably treasured.  I can’t comprehend the strength of my Aunt Nancy.  First off, she was beautiful.  Blonde, dimpled, and just very pretty from day one.  She, from the time I knew her, had a big, perfect home on the Main Line outside of Philadelphia.  I loved that house so much.  It was another constant in my life of nearly a dozen homes which one couldn’t bond with much.  Another post: Elizabeth’s room and play closet + attic…can’t do that yet – this many years later, but still too fresh a wound.  But, Aunt Nancy – the pinnacle of style, elegance and taste.  She endured what no mother should, the funeral for three of her five children.  Even though, I asked her, and she answered, I still don’t know how she did it.  I am talking about a woman who had the box of crayons belonging to her daughter as a child when we were both in our late 20’s.  She adored her daughters, and her sons, and her strength, and endurance are incomprehensible.

I also am lucky to have my Aunt Helen – the baby of her family – and I am the baby of mine!  What fun I had at her house as a child:  peanut butter and mayo sammies, pajama time, Sesame Street, the home movies!!!!!!!!!!! Uncle John: digitize them!  and my beloved four boy cousins who are all big old Dads now!

Well, I feel a lot younger now having written about so many older than me people (left out my MUCH older than me sisters!)  And didn’t mention my mom, who has endured more than all of the above in a way (although she still has us to nag her to go to doctor appt’s) but I’ll save my mom post for another day.

Off to actually write that bucket list!

Post post:  Might I mention that in addition to the above side effects:  sex ain’t on my to do list top ten, I have to take Tums more than I should, Advil is my best friend, I have wrinkles for real now, Oil of Olay lied, my boobs point south, my butt touches my upper thighs, my hands are “old lady hands”  and my students say “Wow! You’re THAT old?”  Also, the music I thought was cool is played on the radio in “Oldies” segments.   Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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2 Responses to The Reality of turning (ahem) Forty Six.

  1. Dorothea Baxter says:

    Very well put! I wish I could write all my thoughts down as liberating as this might have been for you!

  2. Erin Hughes says:

    Amen sista’ Amen!

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