The backside of 40

Funny-Old-Woman-smokingIn a few short hours – less than three, actually – I will officially end the first half of my 40s and get started on the back half. I say “officially” because I’ve not yet decided whether I will accept what the calendar says or simply remain 45 for as long as I can get away with it.

I have, through the duration of my 40s, proudly exclaimed how wonderful this decade was. I found myself. I discovered new things about myself. I accepted myself for who I am, and realized that in reality, I’m a pretty cool person to know. I’ve flirted with the gym, quit smoking, ended a 30-year relationship with Diet Coke and vastly improved my eating habits. I built strong, lasting relationships with my kids and guided them into adulthood, ready to spread their wings. I’ve reconnected with those I thought I’d lost, and have a renewed sense of reality about lifelong relationships I had mistakenly put on a pedestal.

In short, I’ve lived.

I expected – and was fully prepared – to spend the last half of my 40s the same way I’d spent the first, enjoying life as it happened.

Then came May.

I have no misconceptions about aging. I know it happens to the luckiest of us, in some way or another, and we can choose to let it happen gracefully or fight it. For the most part, I fight it. People ask if my red hair is my natural color and I smile and say, “Yes, and no. This is my natural color, but not all of this color is natural.” I don’t color my hair, I just refresh the red. I’ve been blessed with the fair skin of the Irish and, somehow, have managed to keep my face smooth and young looking – people are often surprised to hear I have a child who is 17, and they are really surprised when I mention her 21-year-old brother. I look at myself and think back to when my mother was my age and know that I am not my mother’s 45.

But May – May had something special in store for me. A lot of somethings, actually.

It started early on in the month, when I began to notice a greater difficulty reading scores on the TV or even some street signs at a distance. I went to the eye doctor in late April expecting to get a stronger prescription for my reading glasses and was given a different kind of prescription: for bi-focals. And yes, I opted for the invisible line. The glasses came May 3, a Friday.

That following Monday, May 6, I got a text from my Man/Friend – his pregnant daughter, due at the end of the month, went in for a doctor’s appointment that morning and was told they were doing a c-section that day. The baby, an amazing little girl, has stolen all of our hearts. She is simply fabulous. I posted a photo of me holding the beautiful girl on Facebook, where a friend promptly asked, “Does this mean we can call you Grandma Molly?” Ummm …

A week later my son turned 21, and my daughter and I were summoned to pick him up from the bars his co-workers took him to for celebration.

A week after that, my daughter – my own baby – graduated from high school.

Then I worked with a photographer on a special project at work and discovered I knew his parents – I worked with them a decade earlier when this photographer, now a married professional with two small children, was still in high school.

If I didn’t know better I’d swear May was a month full of Mondays.

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