Forty Is Just a Number

My husband turns 40 this week. He’s not thrilled about his milestone four decades of life. I think he feels kind of old, lost his youth, you know. If he drives up in a convertible and I have to put up with ten years of a midlife crisis, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Go along for the ride? As long as there isn’t a blonde in the passenger seat, I think I can handle a little change.

I’ve just never cared much about age. Forty doesn’t scare me, but I’m not quite there yet either. I still have two years (one and a half) until I say good-bye to my thirties, and they’ve been really good to me. Maybe by then I will be a weepy, wrinkly, achy mess.

For most of my adult life, I haven’t been able to remember my age. Twenty-something. Twenty-three, no seven? After I was legal, I really didn’t care. Now that I have kids who can speak and who are good in math, they don’t let me forget. “No, you’re 38.”turning 40

I think having kids helps me maintain a youthful spirit. When you play chase in the yard, pretend you’re Padme Amidala, immerse yourself in dolls and Harry Potter, and hear fart talk 24/7, it rubs off on you. My dad always says, “You’re as old as you feel,” and I agree. I look forward to a Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Little House book as much as my kids do. I let my spirit decide my age. The actual number can’t get me down.

But seeing my husband as he approaches 40, living with someone almost as youthful as I am who plays with the kids and lives this same life, I’m starting to see his perspective. I’m starting to get it, to feel it.

My mind may still feel young but my body is aging whether I want it to or not. Every winter now, my joints swell and ache. My fingers become stiff and the morning cold greets my body with a shock of reality. I’m sure it’s arthritis but I don’t want to take a multi-pill regimen every day. I’m too young for a day-of-the-week pill pack.

My eyes deceive me. For the rest of my life, I will always hear the story of the time I pointed up to the tree at the zoo and told my kids to look at the pretty bird. It happened to be a red panda, and I happened to be the butt of many jokes that day.

I fall asleep on the couch on Friday nights mouth gaping, tongue lolling, and mumble “I’m awake” from time to time. I’m cold from August through June. I always need a lap blanket because it’s so darn chilly. As I sweep the hair off the bathroom floor every morning, I wonder who will go bald first—my husband or me. It looks like we’re both regular contributors.

I hope once 40 passes, it will be just another number to my husband, to me. I hope it won’t crush my spirit, and loud music and Star Wars will always be fun. I hope my husband and I get a second wind and embarrass our teenagers by staying out late, holding hands, and partying too much.

But regardless of what we do, how old we really are, and what time we go to bed, I’m glad we spend all of our birthdays together. It will lessen the sting when 90 approaches.



Filed under Fatherhood

32 responses to “Forty Is Just a Number

  1. Ah, what a sweet post. I recommend you save the feeling old for when you are 90. So when your husband drives up in that convertible, hop in and hang on! 🙂

  2. Great post. Happy birthday to you husband.

    I had to laugh at your being cold–I am already freezing and it’s only late September. I’ve got about 4 years on you so I can tell you this doesn’t get any better with age (or the achy joints) But like you said, as long as I can keep that youthful kid spirit inside, I’m good.

    And yeah, why do my kids always know exactly how old I am and choose to always remind me of it?

  3. JWo

    My 40 is just around the corner (May) and I’m with you about it not bothering me because, like you said, after 21 I didn’t care.

    I don’t “think” like a 39 year old person but sometimes have to remind myself that my body IS that age. 😉

    Still, it doesn’t bother me because I’ve always said, “I’m 17 up here (in my head).”

    • Yeah, if I didn’t have kids who constantly remind me, I’d never know my age. That’s OK. I’ll be sure to remind them when their time comes. Though I may have to ask my grandkids.

  4. MandagsMor

    You know; any old lady is actually a young girl – whos SKIN just happened to grow old… 😉

  5. Great post! I just turned the big 4-0 last week and I can relate to this post so much. I laughed out loud at your Friday night falling asleep on the couch and saying, “I’m awake.” I do the same thing! A happy b-day to your husband! To 40! 🙂

    • Something about finally sitting still I guess. Sometimes if the kids decide they want to read to me at bedtime instead of me reading to them, I fall asleep like a baby. How come they never do?

  6. lisa

    90!! Here’s hoping I’m dead by then unless they figure out how to make me the first bionic woman.

  7. Forty seems like such a long time ago! Our oldest was born just three weeks from my husband’s 40th, now he’s 50+ and I would chase him and marry him all over again!! He is super-duper sexy (especially when cleaning up vomit or folding laundry). It’s easy getting older with a partner, being in it together, like you say. Definitely takes the sting out of it. In some ways, I feel I’m growing younger.

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Muddled! And many, many more. Hair, or no. And always, always live to embarrass your kids with excessive amounts of PDA. That’s just plain fun. 🙂

  8. carmelharrington

    Lovely post. I’ve turned 40 now and with a 2 year old and a 10 month old I worried a little about it. But truthfully it’s just a number. My husband and I are more aware of our health now, I think that’s the biggest change. We want to be around for many more decades so we are attempting a healthier way of life. And now, right now at the grand old age of 41 I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Who’d have thunk it? 🙂

    • I wouldn’t trade my age for anything. My husband and I disagree on this. Some things you can only get with experience, and you can only get experience with time. I was really young and stupid in my 20s!

  9. 40 did not bother me. 43 sucked for some reason, but I’m over it. As usual, a very well-written post!

  10. I’m several years ahead of you and I’m here to say Star Wars is definitely still fun. (And Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.) Loud music, well, sometimes and only if I get to pick it.

    • Oh yes. Definitely only loud music if I get to pick it, not that crap my kids listen to. And then it is accompanied by my arthritic-looking dancing while I cook.

      We haven’t started Lord of the Rings yet. Still something to look forward to!

  11. Congrats to your hubby on this milestone. And I have no doubt you’ll both make it to 90 with childlike spirits! 🙂

  12. 40 is the new 30, or at least that’s what I tell myself. Happy Birthday to your sweetie!

  13. Okay, how did we write such similar posts this week? That’s just plain crazy.

  14. So been there, sooooo done that!! Know what, grab hold of your hubby’s hand and hang in there for the ride!!! Before you know it they will be graduating from highschool… huh?? What????

  15. love this! I turn 40 in three weeks and have to say it has been a time for reflection but mostly for a laugh at the little things in life that show my age – falling asleep on the couch etc – that’s my husband! I think I am going to like being 40 or at least just getting the milestone out of the way! I’ve started blogging about turning twice twenty as I call it!!

    • I think at this age, your body definitely starts to have a bad sense of humor. But I would never want to go back to being 20 again–unless I could know then what I know now. 😉

  16. ecomumof2

    As a 40 something with a 3 yrs old and a 3 month old I definitely aim to act as young as them and often carry it off (OK, so I get odd looks when playing imaginary catch with my 3 yrs old or trying to catch falling leaves with her). However, creaking bones and aching muscles are an increasingly common feature of my life.

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