“Forty is the new twenty.” This is the saying. The other saying adds, “Until you hang out with someone who is twenty.” The fabulousness of forty is usually defined by a wrinkle free face and a rock hard body. The fabulousness of forty is usually Photoshop and plastic surgery. The fabulousness is the deprivation of fats and sugars and carbs and the societal push towards a gym memberships and the guilt that follows if you aren’t yoga inclined.
Forty is an earned landmark. You made it this far. You have survived, like any other age, and in that survival, you have accumulated the scars to show it. Laugh lines and stretch marks, the beginnings of forehead lines, and the elevens between the eyes are becoming visible. Sure, you can Botox it, if you have the means. What, though, are you going to do about those stretch marks?
It is kind of comical to see the blurred Instagram and Twitter pictures on the feeds. It seems to be the norm to fix what you do not like and put it out there. No wonder an unspoken rule of Twitter is do not tell anyone you are on Twitter. No one can recognize anyone, anyway. The middle age idea of growing old gracefully has now become the idea of hiding that shit.
Dieting is not new. However, it is still not a lifestyle change. Women still make themselves sick and still deprive themselves of things they enjoy just to maintain what was, and it just isn’t. The thing is, you are still going to want that slice of cake after you lypo. And, women are still jumping on every fad weight loss trick bandwagon that comes along to carry our tired asses.
Working out is wonderful. I am not against that at all. What I am against is when you are stressed and stretched and pulled and carrying everything you can everywhere you go adding things you do not have time for in the name of making someone else happy. That is what I do not agree with. Sometimes, when you are forty and the demands of family take up all of your time that you are not working, it really is not even something you could fit in if you wanted to. We are tired people.
I have seen the looks I get at times. I have gone through the personal pictures of former classmates on Facebook who are going to our upcoming mega reunion, and I have sucked in my stomach in the mirror wondering why it was not planned for when I was still skinny. I have seen the elevens on my forehead. Like many women before me, I have miracle-creamed and lotioned this to the point where I was broken out and red, no results but middle-age acne. I do not feel like the societal definition about the fabulousness of forty is mine. I do not feel like it should be mine.
In my mind, the fabulousness of forty is that somehow I made it, when I could have so easily not made it. The fabulousness is the laugh lines. The fabulousness is that I know I can accept myself, and if I go to this reunion, I will not be holding in my stomach, I will be enjoying the beauty of all the people who were on part of this journey, at one point or another, with me. The fabulousness is being real, being a human being, years of flaws, a woman. Maybe you are a mother. Maybe not. Maybe you have a career. Maybe not. The point is the fabulousness is inside of you, not the opinion of others on how you should look.
You are the fabulousness of forty.
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