Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Aging

I got a really great compliment this past weekend from my daughter and her friends.

They are all teenagers and the hormones have kicked in, so they notice boys a whole lot more. I was listening to a discussion about which boys in their class are cute, which ones are obnoxious, which ones they like, which ones get on their nerves, and of course, which girls are “going out with” which boys. (They aren’t “going” anywhere, mind you. This is just the teen lingo for who has the hots for whom.) So anyway, I was quietly driving as the three girls talked it up in the car… just enjoying the moment.

Then, out of nowhere, my child says, “Hey Mom, all the boys think you’re hot. They say you’re “The Hot Mom!”

Well, that’s pretty cool. I mean, I’ve been called a lot of things… some good, some not so good. But this was really a compliment. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, seeing as my ego has taken a few hits in the past year or so. Being “40-something” hasn’t been a lot of fun so far. I’ve heard people say, “40 is the new 30,” but seriously… what does that even mean?

There’s a bunch of stuff really not fun about being a woman in her 40’s. (That hurt just typing it. Ugh.)

To name a few…
--I hate having to deal with both wrinkles and zits. I think once a girl finds her first smile lines, she should for the rest of her life be pimple free. It just seems cruel to have to deal with both.

--The older I get, the more I notice that men of my same age range and older have begun to fish from ponds of younger and younger groups of females. I mean seriously… do they really want to date someone who can’t name all 4 of the Beatles and has no clue what life was like before remote controls and cell phones? Apparently so. They trade in the fabulousness of women with insight and life experience for girls with very little of either. (Great quote… “When a man of forty falls in love with a girl of twenty, it isn't her youth he is seeking but his own.” ~Lenore Coffee )

--Also, as my age creeps higher, the more I feel like that girl on Seinfeld who looked either really good or really bad, depending on the lighting in the room. Remember her? Jerry would only take her to the coffee shop, because it was the only place she looked pretty. I’ve learned that I look great in the dark, in candlelight, or dimly lit rooms. And from long distances. But put me under those fluorescents or top lighting of any kind, up close and personal, and… well, it’s not a good situation. I mean, having been in front of a television camera quite a bit, I’ve come to really respect the value of good lighting. But I didn’t realize how important it would become in the everyday world… or my office.

Funny story - - Last November some friends of mine (a married couple) decided they wanted to fix me up with a friend of theirs, who they claimed would be my perfect match since “Y’all have so much in common and would get along great!” So one day, announced only by a phone call 5 minutes beforehand, the husband brought the friend into my office at the very end of the day to introduce him to me. (A day’s notice would have been swell. I was not wearing my “meeting someone” clothes and my make-up had long since vanished. But men just don’t get the importance of this, I suppose.) The guy, who looked like Adonis – very Greek God-like, standing at about 6’3” with a very athletic physique and dark wavy hair - took one look at me and tucked tail and ran. (Which was probably a good thing, actually. I typically have a rule that I don’t date men who are prettier than I am. Dating pretty guys is just asking for trouble.) But I’m telling you, this beautiful specimen of a man, who was a few years older than I am, could not get away from me fast enough. It was like I had some sort of disease he was scared to catch. And of course, I never heard from him again. To say my ego was bruised is a major understatement. But I choose to rise above… and blame it on the overhead florescent lighting in my office.

--And then there’s the gravity issue. Gravity sucks. It doesn’t matter how many days per week I work out or how many salads or plates of veggies I eat, gravity continues to pull everything downward, from the top of my head all the way to my ankles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful for the gifts God has showered upon me. But seriously, if I were a wealthy woman, I would definitely have a board certified plastic surgeon on speed dial. Forget jewelry and fancy dinners. You wanna give me a gift? Bring on the eye job and the forehead lift and I’ll be doing a happy dance. I’m considering standing on my head for about an hour a day to see if I can reverse it naturally, but I’m guessing all that will do is give me more headaches.

There are, however, a few cool things about being 41...

--It allows me the option of not wasting my time on things that don’t matter. I refuse to play relationship games and I’m tired of small talk. If I carry on a conversation with you it’s because I enjoy your company and want to know you better. I prefer to cut through the crap and get to the heart of the matter. And because I’m “of a certain age,” I feel I have the privilege to do just that.

--I like being called “Ma’am.” I used to hate it. But now, I rather enjoy it. When someone calls me ma’am, I take it as a show of respect.

--Wisdom. I’ve learned a lot from the mistakes I made in my 20’s and 30’s, and will not be repeating them.

--And finally, I love watching my daughter grow into a wonderful young lady. The best part of aging is watching her age, too. I keep a picture of her as a toddler on my computer screen so I can always remember those chubby cheeks and ribbon mouth. But at the end of the day when we are piled up on the couch watching TV or just talking, it’s simply a pleasure to spend time with such a great gal. If aging gives me the opportunity to not only be Emi’s mom but her friend, too, then bring on the years!

After all… according to Emi and her friends, despite gravity and bad lighting, I’m still “The Hot Mom!”

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