In the rearview mirror of hindsight I wish I would have allowed my loved ones to make a big deal of my 40th birthday. Black decorations, a cane with a horn, and a tombstone cake would have set the stage for humorous acceptance of the inevitable life changes coming my way.
Instead, I adopted the popular idea that by denying and fighting said changes I would age “gracefully”, which to me meant very slowly. I quickly discovered that physiology and culture trump denial and that it is a damn expensive effort to not look 40. My joy diminished as my ass started to fall and my waist disappeared, necessary health exams consisted of smashing my tiny breasts and scary biopsies, and the only people who called me “Miss” anymore were my Grandpa’s age. I began to view friends in their 50’s differently. Perhaps the comfy clogs and flowing shirts were simple adjustments they had made upon discovering that no amount of body-shaping fabrics and pricey creams would save their membership in The Girl’s Club from expiration. The key thing I noticed was that they laughed a lot, much more than I did. These fun-loving, witty women have inspired me to share the humorous and flexible outlook that put me back in touch with joy. My hope is that my musings may give a lift to others navigating life’s changes during the 5th decade by creating a connection that supports aging with aplomb, grace, and a lot of laughter.