Diagonally before 40


I received a call this morning regarding my cancer cover. “Ma’am, at your age it becomes a greater risk.” I was just pissed. I don’t want to take out or increase policies or whatever, because the broker is busy with that. The young man was not happy with the answer and repeated himself: “… at your age…”

Very pissed off, I agreed that he could email me the stuff. At my age, so even… does he think I’m gray and cramped? Maybe I’m being unreasonable and sensitive, but using my “advanced” age to sell my policies and reminding me in a very direct way that I’m getting old doesn’t really work for me. I want to be young-old; not some aunt with a bun and a cane.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with my age, but when someone tries to spoil things for me, I just get pissed off. Then I feel old and affronted and just plain jealous.

The fact that my birthday is on Sunday has nothing to do with the difficult mood. The big four zero. I’m quite looking forward to it without it feeling like a terribly big deal. Funny how this was an issue in my head at the beginning of the year. am i ready Am I going to be okay? Hundreds of questions swirled in my head.

It’s actually so strange. Technically speaking, it’s just another day in the year. No one has ever looked in the mirror on the morning of their birthday and suddenly, overnight, stared at a head full of gray hair (unless it was already gray) or extra wrinkles. I also don’t believe gravity suddenly started pulling noticeably heavier overnight.

No, age catches up with you quietly rather than stalking you around every corner and scaring you on birthdays. Like those friends at school, it walks hand in hand with you and you can actually only see the “damage” when you start looking back over the years. You never really know when that wrinkle became so prominent or when exactly your body started to change.

It is the same with personality. Everyone told me I’d care less what other people think when I’m 40. I am quite amazed. The change has already taken place.

In January I posted a piece of text on my Facebook entitled: Ineligible for 40. I felt so unsure, not necessarily about the next phase in my life, but whether I would be able to pull it off! Everyone seemed to me so behind and in control of everything; so confident and so geared for life. I still feel like a 16-year-old who just takes things as they come and actually can’t hold a candle to my peers or the people in my circles.

I don’t know what or how it happened in the last six months, but every day I feel calmer and less bothered. Even so, I still sometimes wonder what I’m doing in certain circles (I’m not that smart!) or I squint at how effectively other women manage to be mothers and wives so successfully. The admiration is still there, but the inferiority is just gone, I just marvel…

Maybe it’s the many conversations with all the friends and acquaintances throughout the year. Apparently everyone struggles and everyone has challenges, even when they seem so focused and in control. Who would have guessed?

I don’t have a problem with being 40 – I like the calmer me that I attribute to age, and the more mobile and adaptable me that comes with it. I think my husband prefers it too.

So, at 40! We live it, we enjoy it and we ignore the people who make us feel old!