Embracing My 40s

Boring never felt so good.

There are many signs that I am entering middle age, although – to be perfectly clear – I also was basically born an old lady, so it can be kind of hard to discern what is me versus what is me aging. 

The first and most obvious sign is that I now have children who are 16 and 10. I am pretty sure that, biologically, no matter how young you feel, you cannot have a 16-year-old while you are still young. Young-adjacent, sure. Young-at-heart, absolutely. But if you have a 16-year-old, you’re no longer young. Or at least I’m not. Having a 16-year-old has aged me immeasurably.

And my 10-year-old? My baby? She has her first middle school dance in a couple of weeks, so yeah. That ship has sailed, and that baby is no longer a baby. And I am old.

Then there is my Wordle obsession. I’ve been playing damn near since the start … and I’ve never yet lost. I’ve had a couple of close calls, most notably on my birthday, when I thought my number was up, but I somehow got it in 6 and kept my streak alive, the best birthday present ever. I feel like even though Wordle had its moment in the sun, it was never really what the hip, cool young people were doing. And even if it was, it isn’t still now. But here I am, Wordle as much a part of my morning routine as a shower and a couple of cups of coffee. Does that make me old? Yes, probably. But I think I would’ve loved Wordle even at my peak coolness, circa 2003, when I had a flat midriff and smudge-y eyeliner. 

Or what about the fact that the biggest excitement for me in recent days was the Aldi opening up? Who can say no to cheap produce and cheap sliced cheese and $3.50 wine with a cute owl on the label? Not me!!! 

And then – in true “if you give a mouse a cookie” fashion – once I had all of this produce and cheese, I had to take the money I saved at Aldi and spend it on buying cute glass containers in which to store my produce and cheese. 

Now I have neatly stacked rows of berries and cucumbers and provolone, all nice and neat in my fridge, and I have a deep sense of personal satisfaction. Plus my husband organized the pantry, so we can see all of our spices and canned goods and snacks. 

This is not really riveting stuff. I wasn’t exactly wild and crazy in my college days, but I still don’t think I would’ve skipped a concert to organize my pantry back then. 

But here I am, on the wrong side of 40, and while I’m pretty pumped about the Jazz Fest lineup, I mostly want to tell everyone that I bought a loaf of bread for $1.49 at Aldi and also I have a great recipe for applesauce muffins I’m happy to share. 

So am I getting old? Ugh, yes. (Even if I did get carded while buying that cheap, cheap Aldi wine.) My midriff is no longer flat, and I don’t bother with eyeliner, smudged or otherwise. But am I deeply content? Also yes. 

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