In Becky's Words

I dedicate this site to my mother. She was a columnist and an author with the uncanny ability to find humor in the daily ins and outs of life. She faced every challenge with a witty optimism, including the cancer that ended her life too soon.

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Location: Boise, Idaho, United States

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Turning 40, Part 3: I Am 40 Now

How about we call it "Forever 40?"

Back in January, my Facebook friends from high school started posting about their fortieth birthday celebrations. There were pictures of my forty-year-old friends wearing funny hats, blowing out forty candles, doing shots, partying while eating cheese and drinking wine.

Then my husband, Dan, turned 40 in April, and I felt like, “It’s coming for you next. There’s no outrunning it now.”

Actually, it's been coming for a while.

I fall asleep while watching my favorite TV shows, even though I vehemently deny it when I wake up at end. Nonetheless, Dan has to fill me in on what happened during the episode I absolutely DID NOT sleep through.

I wake up stiff in the mornings, and my left leg won't lift as high as my right anymore. No one would ever believe I took fourteen years of classical ballet.

I don't get carded when I buy wine now, but Dan . . . and his graying beard . . . are usually with me.

Forty is a weird age. One day, I received three separate brochures in the mail regarding hearing screenings, prenatal care, and premenopausal symptoms.

Lest I forget my real age and decide to call the number on that prenatal care flyer, there have been several friendly reminders.

"You know, when I'm forty, you'll be almost fifty," my little brother, who is almost a decade younger, said to me.

"Yeah, but you have two kids, and that ages you at least ten years," I countered.

In case that wasn't enough of a reminder, here is a Facebook post of mine from a few weeks ago.
It finally happened. One of my kindergartners dragged her dad over to me at Graduation today and said, "Do you remember him?"
He was one of my former students. I have now reached the age where I'm teaching my students' children.
Dan said, "Well, you are turning 40 on Monday."
#grandstudents #notoldenoughforthis

I have always looked fairly young for my age.

Five years ago, I was in The King and I, and several people told me I didn't look old enough to play Anna. I was thirty-five at the time, a year older than when Deborah Kerr portrayed her in the movie. In everyone's defense, I did wear pigtails to the rehearsals.

Recently, a couple of colleagues of mine said, on separate occasions, I didn't look old enough to have taught sixteen years. A friend of mine asked my secret to not aging . . . like ever, and another friend said I must have made some sort of dark pact. I liked that. I'm the Robert Johnson of Aging. 

One of my teacher friends, who seemed surprised by my age, gave this explanation, "I'm sixty, but I feel thirty inside. Our jobs help with that."

It's nice to receive compliments about not looking my age, but I don't want to turn into my age-obsessed grandmother, always "the pretty one" in the family.

She would buy clothes in the juniors department for me, a preteen, and then buy herself same outfit . . . at age seventy. She lied about her age so much, she forgot when she was actually born.

She did look good for her age throughout her entire life. But is there really a difference between looking eighty and ninety? When does someone saying, "There's no way you look [fill in the blank] years old," stop being true and turn into people just being polite?

I don't want to spend that much time and energy attempting to retain my youthful looks.

But I do have a few not-aging-so-gracefully admissions.

My "elevens," those little crinkles in between your eyebrows, have become much more prominent lately, and the lines on my forehead are not as fine as they used to be. My neck is starting to look a bit like a turkey but only if you look really close.

I may or may not try to adjust the natural light behind me to diminish those telltale signs when I take selfies.

I might have a few fifty-dollar Jars of Hope sitting around my bathroom. I'm still waiting for my laser treatment in a bottle to kick in.

For the most part, I'm ready to embrace middle age, not fight it. I earned these elevens (I'm looking at you, former students) and forehead wrinkles. As for my future turkey neck, I love scarves.  

One of my good friends, who turned forty a few months before I did, put it best.
Oh, THANK GOD WE ARE FINALLY the same age again! Welcome to 40! It's so bad-ass, Becky! Not kidding...we are going to slay this 40 business! I have been doing it half a year now, so if you need any pointers let me know.
"Welcome to the club!" several of my friends said to me on my birthday.

A club? That makes turning forty sound fun. Let's do this!
Welcome to The 40 Club
Now that you have read and loved part three, feel free to revisit:
Turning 40, Part 1: Dan Is 40 Now
Turning 40, Part 2: #birthdayweekend

Still to come next week:
Turning 40, Part 4: Hangin' at the DMV

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