Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ruminating on Turning 40

Now, let me preface this by saying I am not writing this to pander for birthday wishes…although if you feel so inclined to wish me a “Happy Birthday” I will gladly accept it.

But no pressure.

I have been excited and nervous about it for weeks. Why? I really have no idea why I am nervous.

Maybe it’s because 40 is a number which always seemed so “big”.

Maybe it’s because the gray hairs and laugh lines (ok, let’s be honest…they are wrinkles) are more numerous by the day; my hairdresser doesn’t even lie anymore about the number of gray hairs, although my mother swears she doesn’t see the wrinkles. Perhaps a trip to the eye doctor should be in her imminent future.

Maybe it’s because my children are getting bigger, and older, which means I must be too.

Maybe it’s the pain in my hip that never quite ever goes away. Maybe it’s just the hype I have bought into that 40 is old.

Because truth be told…I don’t really feel old.

I don’t think I look all that old (although I’ll admit that I do have an appointment with MY eye doctor coming up in December, so maybe my script has changed; perhaps my mom and I can get a two-for-one-special on eye exams).

So here’s kind of what I’ve been thinking about in terms of my age and my birthday, in no particular order:

Recently, I made a joke about my age when I was picking up a prescription. You know how the pharmacist asks for your DOB (because no one could ever know anyone else’s DOB and that is the utmost in high-security for prescription pick-up…but I digress; and please let me explain…I know that’s not the reason they ask. Go with it, people. I’m setting up a joke here.)? So the pharmacist asked and I gave it (the DOB, that is, lest you became confused in all my digressing in the previous sentence) to her.

But I didn’t leave it there. I continued by saying, “I know I LOOK like it should be 1983 instead of ‘73, but I promise it’s really me.”

Crickets, my friends. Crickets were chirping.

My family is giving me a little party with a few friends to celebrate my big day. I told them NO SURPRISES so they agreed. 

At least I think they agreed…the day’s not over yet. The party is on Saturday so it remains to be seen.

I am not usually one who likes to be the center of attention, so I really don’t know why I even ASKED for the party. Yes, I asked for it. It must have been a moment of weakness, or I was really wanting an excuse to buy a big cake…I’m really not for sure.

I remember back to when I was a child, I always looked forward to my parties but DREADED the “gift opening” part. I DESPISED everyone looking at me.


Just to recap, I am looking forward to the party but don’t really want people to look at me. So if you come to the party, do me a favor and pay me no attention, ok?

My 12yo needs to learn the art of subtlety when it comes to all things birthday related…although I do appreciate his efforts at recon and I don’t dare let on that I know what he’s doing.

The following questions have been asked of me in the past couple weeks, par example (and yes, I meant to type “par example”…it’s French for “for example”; I know what you must be thinking: “Is she fluent in French?” The answer is yes, almost.)

  • “Mom, do you like cheesecake? And if so, what is your favorite kind?”
  • “What kind of meat do you like?” (Yes, it is an odd question, but he’s very much into the salted, cured meats and I’m certain he was hoping that I would answer with one of them…as in that’s what I would choose to have on my birthday.)
  • “Mom, what kind of chocolate do you like best…milk chocolate or dark chocolate?” (Notice that he didn’t ask about white chocolate, because any true connoisseur knows that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all…and frankly it isn’t all that good. But I digress…)
And my personal favorite moment: the other day we were at Meijer and I decided to pop into the aisle with Crockpots. (I’m certain you recall the Great Crockpot Incident from a few weeks ago…) and just wanted to do some recon on Crockpots and prices.

Mind you, I use the term “Crockpot” but I am not married to it…it’s like calling all facial tissue “Kleenex” and all soda “Coke”…both of which I tend to do.

Don’t judge.

Anyway…my 12yo was walking behind me and all of a sudden he said, “Mom, you don’t need a Crockpot.”

Me: “Well, actually, yes I do.”

12yo: “But, um, you HAVE a Crockpot.”

Me: “I know, but I need a new smaller one…remember my small one broke.” (I don’t know why I assume that everyone experienced the same trauma that I did when it happened and it is etched in their minds as clearly as it is in mine.)
I turned around in time to see my 12yo firmly planted in front of the row of Crockpots, his eyes bugged out and in a stern voice he said, “MOM! You DON’T need a Crockpot.”
Lightbulb…(and yes, use the Gru voice)

Me: “Oh, well I wasn’t going to buy one…I was just looking.”

12yo: (Insert loud sigh, with head dropped back looking, up at the ceiling) “Well, why didn’t you say so?!?”

Me: “Well, I didn’t know I needed to.”

12yo: “Well, you should have! What was I supposed to say?!? I didn’t know what to do! Now don’t say anything to Nini and Grandpa! Just act surprised!”

Me: “About what?”

12yo: (Insert eyeroll)

I love that he totally played his hand without even saying aloud what he thought he said; if he’d just been cool about it, we both could have understood the underlying meaning without saying a word.

Yeah, the kid needs to work on his subtlety just a touch. But he is awfully cute so I’ll let it slide. It’s worked for Mr. Always Random all this time, so the kid is learning from the best.

On the eve of my 21st birthday, I wrote a letter to my 40yo self. I mailed it the next day to myself at my parent’s house, so the postmark is actually on my 21st birthday. FYI, at the time I was on an intership in Washington, DC.

I sealed up the letter and wrote on the back “Do Not to Open Until November 14, 2013”. 

Being the good little rule-follower that I am, I have abided by my own stipulations.

But I must confess: that seemed like a long time to wait.

And it has been. Nineteen years to be exact, for those of you who are mathematically challenged.

I have NO.CLUE. what it might possibly say. I may have even had a couple drinks when I was in the middle of writing it (even though I wasn’t yet 21…gasp!).

I actually kind of shudder at the thought of what I might have said to myself.

Will I share it with all of you? Maybe…it depends on how utterly embarrassing it is.

But I will tell you this…I did write a letter to my 50 year old self and when I turn 50, I will gladly share it with all of you…deal? Because I’m sure you’ll ALL be sticking around for this blog in 10 years…

With that, I am off to read my letter. See, I was wise and wrote this PRIOR to reading it, so I wouldn’t feel tempted to reveal something I didn’t want to. And also to keep you coming back for more, just to see if I would share any morsel or tidbit from the letter.

You’ll just have to wait.and.see…because that’s how I roll.

Thanks for spending part of my birthday with me! Have a fabulous day!

I was about 11 months old here...and just to clarify, the shape of the hat does not reflect the shape of my head...thanks for asking.


  1. I'm sitting in the dental college waiting room smiling and chuckling like a big goofball reading your post. I think the people around me think I'm a little off (albeit, true, no one needs to confirm it)!

    Love this whole thing...I love it that you wrote a letter to yourself. So wished I had done that. I passed my 40th, so it seems odd at 43 to write a letter to my 50 yr old self, but... I may just follow your idea and do it anyhow.

    Happy Happy birthday, Sweet Friend! <3

    1. Thank you! I'm glad it made somebody laugh, other than just me! can write a letter to yourself...come on, all the cool kids are doing it! ;)

  2. Happy birthday! You are definitely young--if you were old, you would have forgotten about the letter, or at the very least, forgotten where you kept it.

    1. Yeah, thanks for thinking that I actually remembered the letter, but I did not...that is one detail (ironically) I forgot to mention in the post...I just happened to stumble upon it last spring when I was doing a major cleaning-out around the house. But for the record, I DID remember it from then on.

      I think I'm getting old...

  3. Happy Birthday SO MUCH :) I hope you have a gorgeous day.

    I LOVE that you wrote yourself a birthday letter! That's such an awesome idea :D

    If I tried, I know I'd lose it, too. Still, I have a blog now...


    1. Thanks! I don't know what inspired me to write the letter but I doubt I came up with it on my own. But who knows...I didn't include such info in my letter! :)

  4. Happy Birthday!! I love (but am not surprised) that you wrote a letter to yourself and mailed it to your parents. I cannot wait to hear what it says. Because you will tell me. Or I will sit and stare at you through the entire party. :)

    1. Thanks!

      Maybe I will tell you...or maybe I will put you off by simply telling you that I will blog about it later (which I may or may not do...)

  5. oh what a fun idea to write a letter to yourself! I am curious what did it say?
    And I was firm I did not want a party on my birthday! I too hate people watching me open gifts, I fear I'll make a rotten face at a stupid gift. I did have one but onl family and my closest friends came so it was okay.
    And I find the 12yo funny! Seriously kids crack me up spilling the beans they get so worked up but i guess if they were subtle than it would be harder to catch their little lies?
    anyway enjoy your party (today, because I am slowly catching up on blogs, been too busy to do much of anything)
    Happy Day to you!

    1. Thanks! I'll write about the letter in a few wasn't as specific as I thought it would be, so better than expected (if that makes any sense at all...)

      I did ok, although they made me open gifts. I thought I would DIE. And this was AFTER they insisted on singing to me and making me blow out candles (granted there were only for every 20 years?)

  6. Hope your day was terrific. LOVE that you wrote a letter to yourself.

  7. Wonderful pre-birthday thoughts, you had me laughing right down to the very last photo note! :-) I would love to trade you my very soon to be 60 for your 40, forties are the very best years I think, let's see in ten years if you agree!

    1. I have heard that multiple times...that the 40's are really great. So here's to hoping that's true! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!