Friday, February 02, 2007

Notes on Turning 40...

Getting old ain't for sissies.
- Bette Davis

I really didn't think that turning 40 tomorrow would be a huge milestone in my life.


Honestly, I thought I felt like the same person I was when I was 19. Except my hands are drier.

It wasn't until yesterday when I talked to a friend on the phone and she wished me a happy birthday that I did a little freaking out.

Don't wish me a happy birthday NOW! I've got two more days left before I turn 40! Don't take that away from me!

I realized that although I felt the same, I really wasn't the same, and started making some notes about the differences between then and now...

When I watch America's Funniest Home Videos I don't laugh when elderly people fall out of porch swings or when young guys crush their nads doing various "jackassy" things any more. I cringe, because I can't stop thinking about their insurance deductibles.

I still laugh my butt off when grooms faint at the altar and babies blow chunks on their parents though.

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When I was about 12, we got cable for the first time. I saw some old fart named Rod Stewart performing "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" in gold spandex pants and ran screaming from the room. 28 years later, he still has the same haircut and I still have the same reaction.




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I feel a little shocked when Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" is played during the Classic Rock Hour right after Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride".

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My little guy used to ask me..."When you were a girl, did you ever do...?" Now he prefaces everything with, "Back in the dark ages, did you..."?

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I remember when Mel Gibson was young and hot instead of grizzled and crazy.

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I used to have major crushes on young, studly teen heartthrobs with big hair and great teeth. I was going to looove them 4-ever!! Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Clark Brandon and Jimmy MacNichol come to mind. Now I see Leif Garret---balding, bankrupt and brain-dead and wonder---eeek what was I thinking? I couldn't begin to guess who's on the cover of Teen Beat Magazine this month.

Today when I see current "heartthrobs" with names like Justin/Clay/Aaron and Colin, all I can think of is "Let's see you mow my lawn, ya little pussy!"

Nowadays my secret guilty crush is Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. I mean seriously, what real woman in her right mind wouldn't find a guy who can stand waist-deep in doody and laugh irresistible? Especially while he's cleaning it up with a big hose!


But my hubby got grumpy when I mentioned this and said, "Yeah, I'd be laughing too if somebody paid me 50K an episode to smile and shovel shit on TV".



Gotta give him that.

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When I was about 16, The Police came out with a song called "Every Breath You Take". I thought it was the ultimate in romantic love songs. Now when I hear it, all I can think of is....RESTRAINING ORDER!!!!!

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I worry about what to do with my hair. When I was 13, I overheard a man say that he'd never seen a pretty redhead. Being naturally redheaded (and unfortunately freckled), it was a stab to the heart. Despite my mom's protests ("but your hair is a beautiful color!") I spent the next 15 or so years bleaching or dying the crop on my head. Anything to make it "not red".

My hair is also baby-fine and straight as a board. It won't hold a curl even if you stuck an electric cattle prod in my ear and zapped me at high voltage. So add perming and waving to the mix, and it was a mess.

I spent years trying to grow it long. With all the torture I put to it, and with the fried ends, it never grew past my shoulders. It wasn't until my late 20's when I stopped doing stuff to it that it grew.

Now at 40, my hair is down my back. Ironically, it's more of a nuisance than anything, because it gets very tangly and I have to keep it tied up in a bun or a ponytail.

Should I cut it? Now that I'm "officially" middle-aged? Will I look like a pathetic person trying to grasp onto my youth if I don't get a short and perky matronly mommy hairdo?

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When I was 20, I was already a wife and mother. I look at my 20-year-old son and imagine him as a husband and father at this age. No wonder my parents were so aghast!

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It wasn't until I found my biological family (I'm an adoptee) in my mid-30's that I realized I'd had an underlying thread of intense anxiety that permeated my entire being for the majority of my life.

Finding my birth family changed nothing, yet it changed everything. I still had laundry to do, and kids to raise, and dog poop to pick up, but getting answers to lifelong questions about "where did I come from?" and "why was I adopted?" took a weight off my back that I didn't really realize was there.

It helped me come to terms with a lot of issues, and now I'm a more relaxed person.

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I spent the first 25 years of my life post-diapers picking my undies out of my crack. Then some genius came along and invented undies that were specifically designed to stick up my crack. Was I thrown into some kind of parallel universe where women actually like having things stuck up their butt to avoid panty lines?


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When I was growing up, I made a list of things I was never going to do or say when I became a parent. Now when I open my mouth, my mother comes falling out. How in the hell did that happen?

47 comments:

Kate said...

I've still got a year to go, but I hear you. And Mike Rowe - yummy!

Blogarita said...

I can sooo relate to almost all of these. Even (or especially) the Mike Rowe comment.

Great post!

Ruth Dynamite said...

You never cease to make me laugh out loud. YES on the Mike Rowe thing. YES, Mike. YES. DO YOU HEAR ME?

Hair. I feel your dilemma to the ends of my too long curly frizzball of a witch head. But just because I'm now 40 does it mean I have to chop it off?

I won't go on, but I so relate to all your Leif Garretts and Every Breath You Takes.

Ah well. Happy birthday. Eat cake. Be happy. It's not so bad.

Beth said...

Have a Happy Birthday - tomorrow...
And, noooo....do NOT cut your hair. You will regret it. 40 does not = short matronly hair-dos. If you must cut it, shoulder length only. I know whereof I speak. I am older than you, young lady. Listen to your elders.
Short hair can be a pain in the ass. Every a.m. - raging bed head.

carmachu said...

Happy birthday wilma......*grin*

quinn said...

Happy birthday for tomorrow....first....I agree totally with beth...
I am more than 40 for a couple of years already...and I had a horrible time accepting 40!!!! I seriously did.
I am also very much believe that I may be about to enter into a real mid life crisis...

ohhh yeah ...hehehe..ummmm ...I am suppose to be making you feel better....awwww..well..I am just one person,,,awww age is just a number ..yeah righhhhhhhtttt.. you are only as old as you feel...awwww...that should help....
hahahahaha

Marymurtz said...

You hit the nail on the head with every line you wrote.

But especially about Mike Rowe. I watch him on TV and find myself praying that he doesn't turn out to be gay.

sarala said...

Hey, I'm 45. But I figure I'm only half way done.
But then there's the "change". Shudder.

Boo7 said...

Great post Attila!! I could relate to so many of the topics!! Loved, loved, loved the thong cartoon...OMG!!

Happy, happy day tomorrow....:)

Mamma said...

It's past midnight here so...
Happpy Birthday!!!

I would love to hear more about your birth family experience. I'm an adoptee too and often wonder if certain feelings are adoption related.

St Jude said...

Happy Birthday... life begins!!

DutchBitch said...

I have another 3 years and 24 days to go... but still...

Honey! Don't get in a twist about it as you TOTALLY ROCK! 40 is just a number!

Brenda said...

40 didn't bother me, 30 did, now I'm 2 yrs past 50 and if I ever had any regrets I've forgotten them and most of the memories too. I guess with age comes a selective memory.

Brenda said...

AND! Happy Birthday toooooooooooooooooo youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Myron said...

Happy birthday, kiddo. As dutchbitch said, 40 is only a number.

And for what ever it's worth, my baby boy will be 44 this year. And the biggest will be 50. And I can still find my way to town and back all by myself. Gawdam, where did the years go?

JoeBlogs said...

Interesting post. They say life begins at 40 though don't they.

quinn said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ATILLAAAAAAAAAAAA
HAPPY BIRTHDDAY TO YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU


be very glad you cant hear me sing I cant sing worth shit lol...

imfunnytoo said...

Happy Birthday...I'm five years past you and I can tell you that it's no big thing...

Leif Garrett? Huh Uh... no way.

He was too 'pretty' for me.

I was 21 when 'Every Breath You Take' came out, and although I *liked* it, with some of the guys in college I *already* equated the thing with Weird Stalking Behavior.

TOM said...

What a great piece of writing!! Lief Garret...Funny thing is my sis and her hubby are going to see Rod Stewart tonight..And hasn't Leif Garret aged badly, my favorite line though..."Let's see you mow my lawn, ya little pussy!" to all those American Idols..God I hate that show.

Take a deep breath, that's a lot a candles to blow out!!

petunia said...

First - Happy Birthday!!
oh my goodness...You wrote some of my thoughts....i was born in '68 and when I think of all this stuff it really makes me laugh. I was telling the girl in my office I remembered getting our first colored TV in '76 and sheepishly she said "i was born in 1980"

http://pepperminttiger.blogspot.com/
2005_09_01_pepperminttiger_archive.html

I don't know if the whole address will show up, I don't know how to link)

Rootietoot said...

turning 40 was one of the best days of my life. You are free from the immaturity of the '20's, the parental obligation of the '30's. Now you can say "I'm 40, piss off if you think my thighs are fat."

Enjoy it. Being 40-something is awesome.

Mr. Fabulous said...

You're old.


But I'm older.

elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday!

Hope your candles don't burn the house down!

:::D & R:::

Terri said...

I remember when I was in my early 30's and I heard Oprah say the 40's were great.... I was thinking NO WAY! FFFFFForrrtyy???

But it is true... 40's are the best of years, for me that is.

Happy Birthday.

Samantha said...

I'm only 18 and sometimes I hear myself talking like my mother. It's a terrifying experience.

Miss Litzi said...

Hi Attila,
Women only get better as they age (says who?); we gain wisdom, serenity and strength of character. Like fine wine or cheese, we mellow, or turn moldy. With all this to look forward to as you turn 40 tomorrow, pour yourself a stiff drink and enjoy a lovely meal (no dieting allowed on Birthdays). Next year I’m going to officially be older than dirt and am already dreading it….

Happy Birthday, Attila!!

shirley said...

Happy birthday!! Treat yourself to a really nice, expensive haircut & go every 6 months. It's life-changing... just like your blog! ;)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Atilia and thanks for the great words on my blog...

Mel said...

Happy Birthday!!!!
I agreed with so many of these. Age is what you make it, and you share a worldview with a 32-year-old, so make of that what you will. :)

otter said...

Wow....you are about a month younger than me, plus a decade! I don't know where the heck my 40's went, but here I am officially over the hill and don't remember getting there. Oh, and that sounds like a long story....
The hair thing....keep it just the way you like it! My straight stuff was getting a good length, then my dad died and I had to deal with my mother...been dealing with stuff that has been like a perm gone wild ever since. I told mom to back off last year and the hair has been relaxing. That stuff is getting mighty close to the waist! Maybe it will hit the waist about the time the diet forms a waist on me....
Anyway...the point to this drivel was to wish you a happy one. And please remember your 40's as you go through them....then tell me about it...maybe I will recall something.

Annie Drogynous said...

This post ROCKED! I agree with so much that you wrote...especially about scary man, Rod Stewart and about how my mother's voice can be heard when I'm speaking to my kids!

I'm sorry I wasn't here to wish a Happy Birthday on the day itself but I do hope it was wonderful!

Beki said...

Don't give in and cut your hair!! If you do you are on a slippery slope to curlers and blue rinses...

Have a wonderful birthday and you've made me laugh till I need the loo!! What praise!

Trish said...

I am so with you...

It's not that I feel older it's that everyone else is getting younger.

Oh yeah and that Rod Stewart thing? God! he's scary isn't he?

Happy 40th.

Me said...

Happy Birthday Attila!!!!
Snork! Rod Stewart! LOL

Nightmare said...

Come July I will also cross that threshold. I find it weird that I still feel like I just got out of High School. I have made the observation several times that it is extremely weird that the class of 1985 seems to be running the country. All of my friends and stuff I grew up with are in charge of some pretty groovy companies. It just seems weird that the people I used to drink until I puked with have titles like VP of sales, and CEO and CIO and stuff. So Happy B-day and remember 50 is the new 30 and that makes you 20 something still!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

MAN! I have missed you! This post is awesome! By the way, I am personally a HUGE fan of red hair and freckles!!!!!!! ( since I also have them) Of course, my haircolor is...ahem....chemically enhanced! I already had the personality of a redhead, so I decided to go all the way! I also loved the part about the hearthrobs of the day! Would you believe I once had a crush on Will Wheaton ( WHO?) and.....dare I say I even thought Michael Jackson was cute back in the 80's when he still looked human! My mom even bought me a shirt that had one bejeweled glove on it. OH, the shame!

GREAT POST! Happy belated birthday! You are such a rock star!

Kim Ayres said...

You may remember that I turned 40 back in October. I don't think it's sunk in yet. Besides, because my wife is 9 years older than me, so turns 50 this year, I'm never allowed to complain about getting old.

Ever.

Shame about your attitude to your hair I always had a thing for redheads.

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You've survived 4 decades despite all the shit the gods have thrown at you, and that's impressive.

Sorry I'm a day late getting here and finding out.

Hope you had a good one!

Christi said...

You know by now that age is just a number. Heck, Mr. C was in the MILITARY when I was in 4th grade. He complains about being old but can run circles around me. :)

At this point, I just lie. Mom's 39, 'cause her elder sister is 39, so I'm eternally 26. So there. :) I hereby designate you my western twin; you may now share the time-locked age I have. Use this power wisely. :>

Kate said...

A belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I hope you had a lovely day! Welcome to the forty-something club, I'm a newish member but it seems quite a fun place to be.

Whatever you do, don't cut your hair. A couple of friends of mine did that and instantly looked 10 years older.

Heather said...

Well HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!

I'm only 22 and I already hear my mother falling out.

And don't cut your hair. I bet it's gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Happy belated ATM! Just wait until you're on the downside to 50........ I'm learning to live with that reality!

Sara

yerdoingitwrong said...

Happy Belated Bday. I loved this post!!!! Very well done. =)

Ma Titwonky said...

I remember being 40. I had some of the same thoughts you've expressed, but, God help me, I still thought Rod Stewart was sexy. Fortunately I outgrew that, but it took a few more years. Happy Birthday! The best is yet to come.

mia said...

Well Sha Doo Run Run Run ATM is 40!!!!! (Shhhhh....I will be joining you on the better side of life in just a few months.)

I agree, thongs suck but it's the nimrod that invented the mid waist jeans that should be shot. I can't buy a freaking pair of jeans anymore without looking like I have a mushroom cap attached to my ass.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ATILLA!!!!!!!
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

TotalChaos said...

Just be thankful somebody didn't give you a surprise "Over the Hill Party" like I got. With the black balooons and tombstones. Dang, I can still remember that, and it was twenty years ago. Don't cut your hair!!
Happy Belated Birthday.

Stinkypaw said...

Ahh, the joys of getting older... got to love it!

I love that thong cartoon - thanks for that!

I can related to so many things you wrote, it's scary. I guess being the same age helps.

As for your hair, I have very short hair and I colour it in the reddish tones (at the moment, I'm in a red phase), so you thinking of a haircut could be cute! It will grow back.

Like I keep telling people who comment on my "frequent" hair changes "Hair (cut/colour) is one thing that I can easily change, so why not?"

3inone said...

Happy Birthday. Yes, I know it's almost a month late but I just found your blog today. Have a great decade, I'm a year into it myself and enjoying it thoroughly. There's something about 40 that's liberating.