As I approached my 40s, articles would preach that I was going to stop caring what others thought and start to live my life the way I wanted to as soon as I had that momentous 40th birthday. Buzzfeed wanted me to know that I would be living my best life once I hit the big four O. But what they don’t tell you is that as soon as that birthday has come and gone, mortality shows up at your front door like that annoying solar panel sales guy.
First off, people now in their 50s are not old. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves are both over 50 and hell, Ellen Degeneres just turned 60. They are still young so in turn so am I. I started to become grateful for weird ass things like not being born a beauty queen. Sure, I’m cute and that’s nice. But I didn’t have to rely on my good looks in my 20s and 30s and I don’t have to literally save face with surgery or Botox now that middle age has arrived. A good haircut with bangs will cover up those pesky wrinkles.
I had to wave bye-bye to going to the doctor once a year. I now have to go to the dermatologist to have stuff removed and mammograms to have the girls swished into what feels like a meat grinder. I had to get tested for the BRCA (also known as the Angelina Jolie test). These are all preventative and are really important. And when they come back that I’m fine, that is fabulous. But it also means my anxiety makes room on the couch for new worries:
When I workout, my body whines more than it used to. There are nights where I can’t sleep on the right side because my worn out hip throws a temper tantrum. Other nights it’s the carpal tunnel syndrome I was able to keep at bay in my 30s with yoga. Now numbness in my right hand says hi at 3 am because I gripped the bike handle too hard during a ride. If I go out for a run instead of a bike ride, the shins set off fireworks for my troubles.
Ailments that run in the family come front and center in your forties. Since there is high blood pressure, I keep an eye on mine. Heart disease is also prevalent, so I keep exercising and watch what I eat (most of the time). Eating well now means greens, fruits, chia and flax seeds, and maybe considering a vegetarian diet. Soda now leaves a nasty taste in my mouth and I always regret those 9 pm cookies.
With all things that come with being middle aged, acceptance is standing in the back of the classroom. It waits for me to freak out, take control of the situation, and learn my lesson. But no matter how healthy I want to be and how long I want to live, I will not eat the kale. I just won’t.
Even if you put sweet in front of it. NOPE.