Posted by: canthold | August 29, 2007

Growing Up

My youngest daughter held me tight today and told me that she never wants to grow up. I responded by telling her that I don’t either.

It seems that we’re both having mid-life crisis at the same time. I’m about to turn 40 and it’s really bumming me out. (I’m sure that those of you who have passed this mile mark know that I’ll be okay. I just don’t feel it right now. ) I’m not ready to let go of being 20, okay, 30. I want to wear jeans, t-shirts and sneakers forever. I want to wear my hair in a ponytail and I don’t want that giant patch of grey to be there. Of course, I know that I could color it so it doesn’t show – most people don’t notice it anyway – but I’m a low-maintenance gal and that’s too much for me.

I just read an article in More magazine, for women over 40, clandestinely, of course. (I’m such a fool for outing myself, but it’s really good.) The article was about a woman who was deciding to stop coloring her hair and wanted to find out what men thought of women with grey. Forget that it sounded like she was on an ego trip under the guise of research. She posted pictures of herself with both brown and grey hair on to see what the responses would be. It turned out that men preferred her with grey. At least she kept her husband in the loop when she did this, but it still seems a bit creepy to me.

This anecdotal evidence – er – research – should tell me to let go of the aging thing. I’m going to get older (if I’m lucky!) and the number on the driver’s license doesn’t matter a whole lot in the long run. But I’m not ready. It’s like this is some sort of surprise ending that I wasn’t expecting, even though I’ve been working up the courage to turn 40 for two years now.

My 30s have been the best time of my life. I have absolutely no reason to believe that my 40s won’t be more of the same. I have a great life. I don’t have any (big) unattained goals. Sure, it would be great to be a published writer, but I wrote a novel and a screenplay. I graduated from college. I had two of the best kids a mom could ask for. My husband is a great friend, provider and companion.

If I found out that this little mole on my chest, which has doubled in size in the last couple of months, was melanoma and I only had a year left, I wouldn’t have any regrets about the life I’ve lived so far. I wouldn’t rush out and do something rash because a void needed to be filled. My only regrets would be for the life yet to be lived and the loss of seeing my kids grow up, (duh!) (I have an appointment on Friday to have it checked out, by the way.)

So why am I so afraid of wrinkles? And never losing this extra weight that bogs me down and makes me feel frumpy? Why am I afraid of not being young anymore when it’s all in the head anyway? I just don’t know. It’s not even that I look my age. I’ve only had one person come close to guessing my age and even then, he was under by several years.

Maybe it’s just that my daughter and I have something in common. We’re afraid of the unknown and the expectations that will fall on our shoulders as time goes on. I’m sure that if Stacy and Clinton of What Not To Wear showed up at my house, they’d make me get rid of my holey jeans and wear grown-up clothes.

The thing that gets me to calm down and stop sweating is that the day after my birthday is going to feel the same as the day before. There will be no miraculous transformation or metamorphosis. It’s just a date on the calendar.

And my daughter has it easy because she only turned four and her skin is smooth and dewy and no one will ever look at me in a crowded room if she’s there with me. Wait, maybe no one will notice the grey that way, either.



  1. When I look back on my 40’s, I think of how young I was and that I guess I better grow up but 20 years later I really haven’t and I still wear what I want. And….. I color the gray or white because one of the last conversations with my mother was about keeping the drab and gray at bay.

  2. When I think of you in your 40s, I think of you as being very young. I wonder what your mother would say about my grey. I miss her.

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