I am days short of approaching my fortieth year of age, now I am in fact turning 39 on paper but the iconoclastic women in my family who defy logic and challenge the world in which they live have always included the first year of life leading up to the first birthday in their calculations. It is as kin to calculating Easter for us Roman Catholics but I choose to announce my anniversary as such.
The big secret is that I have always wanted to be forty.
Out of nothing less than affection one of my nicknames is The Alien, Trips On Rocks is my native American name but The Alien is at best the one way people can relate to others knowing me as little as they do. After fourteen years together my ex is quoted as saying “every year I learn something new about you” and my husband is often heard saying “I have no idea who the hell you really are”. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing but they can both agree that (I am quoting them both now) “you must have been born an old woman”
I claim no previous life as Guinevere or new age tomfoolery nor do I believe that age is a meaningless number, it is symbolic of a certain amount of life experience because if it were just a number we would not see women and men panic at the higher (older) approaching digits. I remember the week my girlfriend took to mourning herself, crying and depressed simply because she was turning thirty; the boob job she got was far more traumatic for me than the reality that we had known each other for fifteen years. We had gone from all girls catholic school uniforms to adulthood.
You see I could not wait to be an adult, I was a very serious girl and I wanted to be that mature woman in numbers that reflected my life experiences – I have felt
forty for a very long time. I stopped colouring my hair because I did not want to hide the white ones; in fact I named them before it became difficult and now they are all called Jeremy. I could not lament a youth I never felt I had. Perhaps I was born an old woman armed with knowledge well beyond those of my peers but with reasonable caution it kept me safe, it made me confident and it is why I am who I am today. I was not afraid to throw caution to the wind and certainly there are times upon reflection that I have to admit I am surprised I even survived this long however I have very few regrets.
Mysticism aside I believe that a part of the human condition requires that we all experience aspects of life; be it loss, love, fear, betrayal, trust, and so on. The one thing I can say for sure is that it is truly unfortunate that whilst we all go through them there is no regulation on when. If we are to experience such things it would stand to reason that the point in time in which they happen affect us and help shape our qualities as human beings. For me so much happened before I was a young woman that I am now, in my fortieth year, experiencing things that someone else went through at sixteen.
This is why I have great compassion for others; I never assume that they should know something that is obvious to me because even though they are fifty it might very well be their first time for them. Yes it does frustrate me often and makes me want to scream ‘how can you not see this’ or that I know better but why deny them the pleasure and sometimes pain of the experience for themselves. Even looking ahead there are plenty of firsts on my horizon but I am doing this without a road-map, there is no right way or wrong way to any of this, there is simply doing it and surviving it alongside everyone else on the road.
We choose to make it a miserable journey, to focus on the negative and subject the others around us to our disappointments – even when things happen to us- it is with constant effort that we achieve a certain amount of peace with ourselves and the rest of the world, which requires more work but all the better rewarding in the end.
I feel as though another piece to the puzzle fits, I look and feel my age and it is truly beautiful. So my boobs are no longer perky, my ass is bigger and I have a few wrinkles here and there but it would be ridiculous for me to fight these obvious things and deny the grace I believe I have always possessed. I know a lot of stuff, I am street smart, book educated, funny, loved, I have seen the world in a way not many others will ever get too but most of all I am happy. I smile a lot more now than I used too.
Spread some happy around to others
and help me celebrate forty years!