I’m 40 today.
I’m vintage, heh.
This is what 40 looks like.
That’s 40 without surgical or chemical intervention. No anti-aging products, none of whatever they tell you will make you look twenty, none of that. I’m not airbrushed, and there’s no filter. I have never whitened my teeth. The only make-up in that photo is some mascara. I hadn’t even put on my lip gloss yet.
I have a line in the center of my forehead. It’s a hard-earned line, from giving people “the look” for most of my life. I own it. It’s mine.
I’ve also got burgeoning marionette lines. I think because I am a happy human, who smiles and laughs often.
It doesn’t bother me.
When I am 80, I will look back at this photo and see a young woman who is standing before her husband, ready to head to Starbucks for a special birthday cuppa. I will smile fondly.
I’m telling you this because thanks to everyone having procedures and the media’s obsession with youth, I have absolutely no idea what 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 actually looks like anymore. I refuse to believe that age renders beauty obsolete.
How does 40 feel? Meh.
I’m still me.
Over the last decade, I’ve noticed the increase in pedicures and gray hairs, the thinning of my eyebrows, the sag of my breasts, the overall looseness in my skin, and the freckling. Oh, the freckling. The veins in my hands are more prominent. I’ve developed visible pores on the left side of my nose.
I should care because?
The list of things I can accomplish in one day is still quite long, but it’s not as long as it was at 20.
I’m NOT 20 anymore.
Honestly, I was never good at being 20.
Wise beyond my years.
Blah, blah, blah.
But, in the last decade, I’ve noticed that people pay more attention to me when I speak. I derive a great deal more pleasure from being taken seriously than I ever did from looking good in a bikini. I traded up. I’ve got forty years of memories and wisdom, and when I’m just too tired to cross another accomplishment off my list, I can get upset about it, or I can accept it.
I accept it.
Eventually, I plan to accept nodding off while sitting up, lines all over my face, a full head of unruly white hair, paper-thin skin that jiggles with my every move, liver spots, yellow ridged nails, grandchildren who play with my wattle, and breasts like tube socks…
So yes, I will gladly bear the title of 40, because that’s exactly how many years I’ve been given, and y’all know how I feel about gratitude.
*falls into the sofa, pulls afghan over her lap, pets her cat, slips her glasses on, takes a sip of coffee, and begins quilting*