In less than two months, I will no longer be in my 30s. I am not too bothered by this because when asked, and this is my favorite game, strangers still put me around 30, or even 29, if they’re being flirty. I’m married, a mom, have a career, a degree, and a mortgage (check check check). I’m more or less healthy and my teeth are more or less holding up. I have absolutely no reason to complain and am generally OK with every year that goes by, although the speed at which time passes is nearing a dizzying pace, which is hard to stomach sometimes.
In any case, I’m not at all emotionally distraught about my upcoming birthday. I will be content to maybe get dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and maybe would like some new fancy underwear or some fabric for a new dirndl, something matching for both the Pumpkin and I.
Still, the article, “What You Learn in Your 40s,” by Pamela Druckerman, Contributing Op-Ed Writer in the February 28, 2014, Sunday Review of The New York Times, caught my eye because I’d like some insight about entering middle age, which is what your 40s really are.
Overall, Druckerman paints a picture of your 40s being a time to relax and come into your own. Maybe not in terms of a career, which always takes vigilance and hard work, but emotionally, if you have your boxes in order, then it’s time to start enjoying the fruits of your labor. Her comments are in bold.
“If you worry less about what people think of you, you can pick up an astonishing amount of information about them.”
I find that I am really much more introspective and introverted than I used to be. I am much more likely to find interesting people to talk to and have meaningful conversations than wearing a lampshade and being the life of the party. The last party I attended, I spent the entire time in the kitchen and had an entirely good time. By now, most of my peers have done really amazing things and I am always happier to hear about a good adventure than talking about myself.
“Eight hours of continuous, unmedicated sleep is one of life’s great pleasures.”
” There are no grown-ups… Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.”
By now, I am realizing this as well. There is no such thing as being grown up. Behave responsibly and do the best you can.
“… “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time.”
I was pretty sure that my husband was my soul mate from day one. I had a certain feeling. However, 15 years later, it’s nice to have one’s intuition proved correct. There certainly has been growth, evolution, and hard work. By 40, you realize that just because you have had to work for something, doesn’t mean it’s not fate.
“Emotional scenes are tiring and pointless.”
By 40, you just don’t have the energy you used to have for drama. And, you’ve gained the wisdom to identify which arguments/fights are worth having. 99.9% of the time, it’s just not worth it and by 40 you perfect the ability to walk away and readdress issues at a later time or decide some things are not worth a second consideration. Fighting is incredible emotionally taxing for me and I’ve enjoyed learning not to engage.
“When you meet someone extremely charming, be cautious instead of dazzled.” and “People’s youthful quirks can harden into adult pathologies. What’s adorable at 20 can be worrisome at 30 and dangerous at 40.”
By 40, I consider my life to be precious. My time is precious. My heart is precious. And, my soul is precious. These need to be protected because my family needs them at 100%. By 40, I’ve collected quite a bit of experience with odd souls and now I know what to avoid. Not necessarily that I’ve become a recluse but I consider those with whom I associate very carefully.
“More about you is universal than not universal.”
I have to say that this is not always true. I know plenty of people who have chosen to live outside of normality. And that’s OK. As we’ve become older as a subculture, our lifestyle is more validated; we’re no longer just a bunch of rebellious kids. The best part about this is that our kids won’t likely be persecuted for being different in the same way we were.
“By your 40s, you don’t want to be with the cool people; you want to be with your people.”
The fun thing about being part of the Gothic culture is that it always was about wanting to be with your own people. The cool people were jerks. Now that there are Gothic people in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s, we can see how the culture permeates into everyday life; being parents and having careers and still maintaining our collective individuality and occasionally getting out to shake a tail feather at the club.
Thankfully, Druckerman doesn’t say anything that’s makes me think my 40s will be a horrible time.