Thoughts on turning 42

May 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

So today is my birthday. Being 42 is awesome. For some reason I keep thinking about when I was 24, the flipside of being 42, I guess.

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When I was 24 I got married. I was almost finished with law school. Since I had been in school non-stop my entire life it felt like my true adult life was just beginning. Now, at 42, I definitely feel like a grown-up. But I still feel like there is so much ahead of me, so much to look forward to. Right now I’m in the “Mommy 99% of the Time” phase and 98% of the time I’m fine with that. But 2% of me looks forward to when my children are older and more independent. It’s exciting to think about what our empty nest will be like. Chad and I often talk about it…we’re going to re-live our 20’s when we are in our 50’s!

When I was 24 I thought I never wanted to have children. My main goal in life was to maximize my happiness, thus being free of such encumbrances so that my soul mate and I could do whatever we wanted! At 42 I feel like I am living a life more full of happiness than my 24 year old self could have imagined. At some point (when I was nearing 30) things shifted and I started feeling like my path to future happiness included having progeny and just creating more people who I would love forever. Luckily I was able to bring Chad over to the dark side (make him want kids too) and now we literally marvel over how happy our life together is.

And as far as encumbrances go? Let’s see, in the last couple of years I have gone on a cruise with 10 girls half my age, gone skiing in Tahoe with girlfriends, had fabulous weekends in D.C. and nights in hotels with just my lover, and done just about anything that my heart desired. The difference is that now my heart often desires doing things with all three of my boys. Trips to Tennessee, Kentucky, Hilton Head. Or just hanging out. I don’t feel  encumbered (well, maybe that 2% of me does, but that’s ok. That’s what makes me cynical and ironic and gives me something to bitch about).

When I was 24 there was not a wrinkle on my face nor a stretch mark on my body. But I don’t think I was more comfortable in my skin than I am now. Although I was pretty thin when I started law school, by the time I graduated I had gained a little weight and was around a size 16. I’m around a size 12 now. But regardless of size, I know I am much more fit now than I was then. I couldn’t run a 5K then. I had never lifted a weight. I did walk and swim and maybe that’s all I needed when I was so young. But I feel like I can physically do things now that I would not have been able to do at 24. And I am DONE with being self-conscious. I am what I am, and that is AWESOME. If you don’t like it you are free to avert your eyes.

So 42 is great. I would highly recommend it. Getting older sure beats the alternative! I wouldn’t go back to where I was when I was 24, given the chance. I wouldn’t give up anything about my life now. I would just tell my 24 year old self that good things are to come! My 42 year old self still thinks that is true.

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Today I am doing whatever I want to do since it’s my birthday. I have decided to take a true day off of exercising (taking Angelika’s advice). My quads and hamstrings can really use a real day of rest. Maybe my creatinine levels will come down some. I’d have to go back and read my own blog to figure out when was the last day that I didn’t at least walk. I even slept in a tiny bit while Chad got up and made breakfast for the boys and I drove the kids to school. I’m going to be LAZY and watch TV all day. When Chad gets home from work we are all going out to a Japanese restaurant for hibachi and sushi. I have some cards and boxes to open too Smile.

And can I just say, how awesome are birthdays now with all the social media? Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, texts. All that is linked to my phone so I get a notification for every @mention, wall post, blog comment, e-mail or obviously text. My phone has been chiming all morning. So fun. Thank you to everybody who has tweeted, wall posted, commented, e-mailed, or texted!!!

I even got an actual phone call yesterday, although they had to leave a message on my ancient-technology answering machine (thanks Rudy, you are the best…just think, a few years ago my Dad could have removed your gallbladder! I think he wanted to remove your guts that time we got arrested together a million years ago.)

Oh, I just got another phone call, this time from my parents. When I said, “Hello” all I could hear was Neil Diamond singing “Sweet Caroline”. The entire song. Then my Dad telling me, “Happy Birthday!”. I still have a recording on my answering machine of my Dad singing the birthday song to me, in it’s entirety, last year. I play it every now and then just to smile.

And it’s not even 11:00 a.m. on my birthday yet. Better go now…lots of NOTHING to do.