Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pushing 40

I don't know if there's an official definition of "pushing" a decade, but at 37 I can definitely feel 40 looming just over the horizon.

I used to work with a sour-lemon-face woman who was forever warning me how horrible it is to be over 40. To quote her exactly, "After you turn 40, everything goes to shit." By which she meant one's health and looks. And for her, sadly, it was true. But she was a smoker, a heavy drinker, and a fast-food junkie. Not exactly a recipe for eternal youth.

I'm feeling OK about the approach of 40, so far. I'm in a good place in my life.

Most people would look to their kids as a major point of pride. As a voluntary non-parent, one of my big achievements has been to overcome my insecurities about not having any. I'm not 100% bulletproof. Sometimes regrets or shame or the expectations of others sneak up on me and get me down. But that's rare nowadays. I don't struggle with it daily, as I used to. I am as sure as I can be that it's the right choice for me.

My marriage is superb. It didn't get to be that way overnight. There have been plenty of disagreements, power struggles, and misunderstandings along the way. But these days, we're pretty much copacetic.

I love my job. Truly, I do. Despite all my bitching here and on Twitter, about stress and chaos, and sleepless nights. It's socially satisfying, intellectually challenging, financially rewarding, and almost never boring. Right now we're going through some growing pains, which will probably carry on until at least the beginning of the summer, but my team is fantastic and the stress is actually having the effect of bringing my staff together more closely than before.

I love being a manager. I'm responsible for the supervision of 10 people, plus I work with the managers of other departments to solve big-picture problems. I've been here long enough that all but one member of my team is someone I hired myself. The one person I didn't hand-pick is a good person and a good worker. Over the years, the nasty folks have all left or been let go. Those who remain are people whom I consider to be a Work Family.

All in all, I feel that I have all my ducks in a row. So I can probably skip the whole mid-life crisis drama. I don't feel the need to go running out to buy a fast car, or go travel the world, or register on Ashley-Madison. I don't have anything more to prove at this point. I'm good.

Assumptions of my age which have taken place over the past week:

32: From my newest hire, who is himself 30 years old. I mentioned the whole "pushing 40" thing and his eyebrows shot up, so I believe his guess was probably genuine and not just an ass-kissing tactic. Well, maybe he knocked a couple of years off his actual estimate... I guess I'll never know for sure.*

27: A woman who is around 50, who goes to my church. I'm thinking that the church people probably that assume anyone who hasn't had children "yet" must be under 30.

21: My neighbour, who admittedly is legally blind. I'm not sure what she based her guess on. I have an orange purse, which apparently figured into this calculation. It's a perfectly normal purse which just happens to be a lovely shade of deep orange. Nothing else unusual about it. But when I was talking with the woman who thought I was 27, telling her my actual age, my neighbour was very suprised. She puckered up her face and said "My goodness, I thought you were 21! Especially with that purse!" I assure you that no self-respecting 21-year-old would wear that purse. It's much too mature.

*I expect WIGSF to say something scathing on this point. Go ahead, give it your best shot.


whatigotsofar said...

You take all the fun out of this. Here I am reading this post and in the back of my head thinking up ways to make fun of your advanced age and then you go and tell me to take my best shot.

And frankly, men don't look at women and think age. Well, the only time a man thinks about a woman's age is when the thought involves the legality of coitus with the woman. Once the legality has been established, the only thing a man thinks about a woman is whether or not to leave the lights on during coitus. We really aren't all that complex.

But here is something to consider about a woman's age. My mother has this huge honking zit on her face. I was making light of it last night. She didn't like the fact that I was saying she had another nose growing out of her cheek and other generic huge honking zit jokes. I then told her she should take it as a compliment because only teens still get huge honking zits. She didn't find that complimentary. So apparently, you can't compliment a woman by saying she looks young. I've just gone back to calling her an old lady.

And being the manager, don't let the new hire kiss you ass. We all saw that movie with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore, right? Okay, I never saw that movie but it had something to do with a female manager sexually harassing a male employee.

whatigotsofar said...

And by reading my comment about me insulting my mother's huge honking zit, you're probably reassured about not having children.
But be sure of this, if you ever want to be insulted, you know where to find me.

Jenski, PhD said...

Sounds like a good place to be, young face, great marriage and job, and all!

Also, apparently your legally blind neighbor can see your orange purse?

LL Cool Joe said...

Age is just a number.

I must cut back on the fast food though, geez now you've got me worried. :D At least I don't smoke.

DarcsFalcon said...

LOL 40 and beyond is fine. Age really is an attitude in many respect. Yes, things on the body start working a little differently, but you adapt.

Anyone can enjoy life at any age. The ones who say it sucks after 40 probably hated life after 10 anyway. Just sayin'. ;)

Jameil said...

i guess you're not amused by me calling rashan old all the time and you have him by 2 years huh? lolol. last summer less than a month before my 27th birthday, a woman asked me if i went to her daughter's high school... ... i'm used to being carded but that was extreme to me!! lol. so i assume i'll get the same reactions in 10 years. ROTFL @ 'that purse!'

powdergirl said...

I love my sons, but I sure never planned them : ) in fact I planned not to have kids, the worlds not a fit place for children anymore.

Life sounds good, Sparkly, and it will stay that way. I know those 40 yos who talk like that, they drive me nuts. Past summer I ran down to our beach and saw someone I knew on the public beach, stopped to say hi and she launched into 'how I wouldn't look so fit by the time I turned 40', I'd have been mad, but at 45? That wasn't the worst thing she could say to me.

Mone said...

Hi I'm almost 43 and life is good =D Only utterly stupid people connect happiness with age.

Sparkling Red said...

WIGSF: You're The Insulter. It's almost like a super-power. Maybe you should wear a unitard and a cape.

It's good to know that men don't all have the same beauty standards as women's vanity magazines. I guess if that were the case, 97% of women would be single.

Jenski: I'm not sure how much vision she has. She can't read, but I guess she can see big bright handbags.

LL Cool Joe: As I grow older, I feel the same way, about age being just a number. If I haven't yet given up on enjoying stuffed toys, that's a promising sign that I won't be a prisoner of my birthdays.

DarcsFalcon: Yeah, I this woman was probably a sourpuss when she was young too. She had a good side to her, but she had a tendency to be bitter at the best of times.

Jameil: I would not be happy if I had a younger friend who was always reminding me of my age. But I think it's different for guys. They care, but not as much as women. Anyway, we all have our turn to get old. It's that or drop dead, right?

Powdergirl: You're the embodiment of many characteristics I hope to have in my 40's: energy, sass, and sex appeal. :-)

Mone: Very good to hear! I hope I can say the same when I'm 43.

powdergirl said...

Aw shucks(blink blink)

Ily said...

That orange purse sounds fabulous. I wish you would've posted a pic. ;)

You are still a chick-a-dee! It's not over 'til it's really over.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Aw Spark I don't think you ever be pushing forty even when you're forty-five. It's about how you act and you have that personality that is just vibrant and youthful.

Claire said...

I'm strictly of the opinion that age is just a number. This often means I tend to assume that everyone I know is my age!



NicoleB said...

Snicker, I am totally not bothered by age either.
I am pretty much in the same boat with you regarding age and marriage.
I'm happy the way it is and I actually don't really feel like I thought I would with 37 :)

Sparkling Red said...

Ily: I decided against posting a photo of my purse because it's very distinctive and could potentially identify me in public.

Ron: Thanks, you're sweet to say that. :-) I hope you're right. My youngest aunt is 55 now, but she could pass for 39 if you don't scrutinize her too closely. I think we have youthful genes in my family, psychologically as well as physically.

Claire: It always amazes me when people I manage, who are 20 years older than I am, defer to me with respect. If anything, that is a sure-fire sign that age is just a number, otherwise they wouldn't accept my authority.

Nicole: My mother once said to me "No matter how old you get, you always just feel like you inside." She's right!

G said...

I'm turning 45 this year, so if you want real fun, how 'bout listening to me say "I'm halfway to 50!"

Seriously, age is just a number, and no matter what, you can be what age you want to be. I've always said that 40 is the new 27, so 37 is the new 24.

Better, hotter and full of life.

Sparkling Red said...

G: I was saying "I'm halfway to 50" when I turned 25. I guess I'm a math purist. ;-)

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Age is but a number is oh so true. We add years to our life by smoking, drinking and eating poorly. We knock years off by exercising, keeping our weight in check and eating in healthy doses. Other than signifying what year we were born, I don't think our actual age matters all that much.