A Pirate Looks at 40…One More Time

As I sit here on the anniversary of my 40th birthday, it seemed like a good time to revisit the trauma of turning 40, share my coming to terms again, and let everyone know that the red stilettos are still rockin. Enjoy!

A Pirate Looks at 40…Sort Of…

I made peace with the number 40 tonight, on my way home from work. It seemed odd, after completely freaking out for months, that a traffic-fraught ride home and some good 80s music on the iPod could take care of the whole thing. All of my friends that are already past 40, or are so far from it that they think I’m crazy can stop laughing now. Louis and Erin, this means you. =)

I think the thing that had me the most upset about the prospect was that I looked out on the horizon, and there was me. At 40. With a station wagon and a pair of sensible shoes. For some reason, it seemed like 40 was the year that it was all over, and I would have to put away the silly, and tell my inner child that it was time to hang it up; it was a good run, but it’s over. To top it off, Don Henley was there in my ear (ok, so shouting at a decible that was sure to cause long term hearing damage) telling me, “Don’t look back. You can never look back”. But why? I wanted to look back. Back was the other way from that number. 40. Back was the land of broken down buses in Kettleman City (you know who you are) and pirate ship rides in Santa Cruz with entire soccer teams. Back was all the silly kid stuff I could ever want.

But then…I realized that the visions of back were through the glasses of 20 years of experience, and pain, and growing up, and learning what it all meant. The real “back” was fun, yes. But also full of all that icky teen angst and college drama that I would never really live again if I was paid to. It was like taking a test without not only not studying, but having never even known you were taking the class. The difference is that now I was looking back at the test, and I knew the answers.

But then I realized, I think I know how to be 40.

When I am 40, I will:

Still drive down the road with the “good” music blaring, knowing I look slightly ridiculous. But we do have the best music.

Do my darndest to continue to get carded for as long as I possibly can, and giggle appropriately when I do

Still refuse to acknowledge grey hair, and put nearly anything on my face to banish those pesky “fine lines”


Look back, but not reach back. Those good times were completely amazing, but nothing will compare to the 4 am snuggle of a 6 year old that is totally and completely yours

Be patient with the “young ones”. They don’t even know they’re taking the test, let alone know the answers. I will however, bust out that knowing look on occasion.

40? Bring it.

And the sensible shoes? 4 inch red patent stilletos.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vanessa
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 21:34:31

    happy forty-versary!

    i do not think you can overemphasize how great our music was. the 80s was the last decade of good music. it’s been pretty much crap since, like, 1987.

    i hope i can join you at some point in the giggling and playing.


  2. Kristen Schoenmann De Haan
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 22:34:35

    the broken down awful bus driver’s name? I still remember – Ephron, I do believe. That bus was either too hot or too cold. That’s when I realized I’d rather be cold than hot b/c there are only so many clothes you can remove…you ARE talking about that bus, right? or was it another bus breakdown time?

    I loved reading this. 40 was good for me – the turning of it. You know what was hard? 35. I was suddenly in a different box in the surveys. crazy. Happily, my husband created this magical and fun camping trip and just happened to invite some of my very best friends and my family as well without telling me. It was fun and funny and silly and perfect, so I didn’t have a chance to even think about NOT being silly. I do sometimes find myself thinking, what kind of crap music are they listening to?? and I happily blare my Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, Fixx, Erasure, U2, etc *big giant smile*

    and, true though it may be that I haven’t seen you in too many years, I can’t imagine you NOT being silly and fun and being your own self 🙂 So glad you realized that you get to stay that way.


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