Here’s another story from a reader about turning 40 I’d like to share with you. Thanks Deborah!
How did you feel about turning 40?
I loved turning 40. I had a wonderful husband and two daughters – the oldest in kindergarten – and I pretty much thought I had it all. 50 was a little tougher. I didn’t just love my job anymore – mostly I didn’t love the owner’s son who had taken over after 6 years of my working there – and that was a huge part of my self-image.
How did you celebrate this milestone birthday?
I had plans to travel to Africa on my 50th birthday (with my husband and girls because we all love to travel), but life kind of got in the way. Instead, my family threw me a party fit for a 5-year-old, with a pink cardboard crown (they added a zero behind the sparkly number five), kermit-faced boxing pens (two, so they could spar with each other) and assorted silly things. It wasn’t quite Africa, but I appreciated the What were your hopes and dreams for this age (i.e. What did you hope to accomplish by this age?) I grew up with a stay-at-home mom, so having a professional career outside of the home was my goal. I always assumed I’d have a loving husband and family, and I do. My husband and I will celebrate 20 years this September. And we’re actually happy.
What was difficult about reaching this milestone?
I didn’t find it difficult. I’m just always amazed how much younger I am than my mother and aunts were when they were 50. (I’ll be 52 in October) They seemed so old in their 30’s, and I don’t think it was just perspective. I think we are truly a younger-thinking, younger-behaving culture now.
What was wonderful about reaching this milestone?
At 50? Knowing that I wouldn’t have another milestone birthday for a decade.
What do you think about our youth-obsessed culture and the constant pressure to look younger than we are?
When I was 16 years old, I worked at a Foster’s Freeze with another girl my age. Her mom had a hysterectomy while we most worked there, which created some sort of hormone imbalance. She started dressing like a teenager, acting really flirty, etc. I remember being particularly repulsed by her behavior, and made a personal commitment then that I would never behave like that. Sometimes I am sad to see photographs of me with thick dark brown hair, small hips and a tiny waste. My skin was beautiful and my eyes were bright blue. Now none of those things are true, so I look at my daughters (15 and 17) and I realize that it’s their time to be the belles of the ball, and it’s my time to support them. I miss my former body and face and hair, but I don’t have a desire to be 50+ years old and try to look like I’m 20 or 30. I would like our youth-obsessed culture to spend more time obsessing on the healthy aspects of taking care of yourself, not the rest.
How do you feel about cosmetic surgery?
I could use some, but I would never. Again, for all the reasons above. If I had some gross disfiguration, I wouldn’t hesitate. Some liposuction and a boob lift are pretty enticing, but no – that’s just not my priority.