The Gift of Being Forty-Something

Discovering that everyday is a 'special occasion.'

Like many of you, I am fully ensconced in my forties. This is not something I bemoan; this is a gift. Too many good people didn’t make is this far for me to complain about the inherent losses of aging.

Nevertheless, now that I am forty-something, some things have changed. Let me elaborate.

Caramel-flavored rice cakes will never again pass as a sweet treat. I simply don’t have that kind of time. Chocolate is a sweet treat and when I am feeling healthy, I’ll choose dark chocolate.

Should I receive as a gift any of the following items: an expensive bar of soap, a luxurious body lotion or an exquisite set of candle sticks, each will be opened, slathered on and/or burned tout de suite. There will be no drawer where these items are stashed away for another day or for a special occasion. No, “another day” has come and the “special occasion” is still being alive to enjoy such extravagances.

While I will always cherish a bargain (I just bought two summer T- shirts from Nordstrom’s Rack for, get this, a penny each!), I will never again skimp on shoes. My feet must be kept comfortable and well supported until the end of days, at which point I want morphine.  Preferably mixed into a chocolate malted milk-shake or a strawberry margarita.

While on the subject of comfort, I will not flinch on purchasing a really expensive bra either. (See note on feet; I’ll say no more.)

Should a novel take a hundred pages to draw me in, this is no longer the book selection for me. Again, I just don’t have that kind of time.  And Mr. Wolfe, I’ll have to take your word on it about not going home again.

Speaking of time and books, while at book group, I never want to hear a 25-minute story featuring as its only plot point: Ivan’s first time on ice skates. And unless your mother is attending the book group, trust me, no one else wants to hear this story either.

The comforter on my bed is a bit grey and mottled. This is not by design, of course.  Its colors were once vibrant, fresh and new, much like all of us. I will replace it soon and for once in my life, I will not head to Target or Walmart for a new one. I am a forty-something adult and I want my new comforter to be both well-made and elegant, never mind the price. Oh, and I don’t ever intend to sleep on sheets that have less than a 300-thread count. In fact, I won’t replace any household items until I can buy quality. It took me a while to learn that quality really does matter and, more often than not, you really do get what you pay for.

A word on memory loss. It’s true, we may have been introduced several times on the soccer field, pool deck, and/or basketball court. I may have given your child a ride home and stood in your foyer and chatted. Nevertheless, when I run into you at Shaw’s, there is a very good chance that I won’t for the life of me be able to recall your first name. Please understand, it’s not personal. It’s utterly embarrassing how often this happens now. I once spent an entire BYBA and Dolphin swim season calling a mom by her daughter’s name.  She’d smile and gently correct me. And then, next time I saw her, I’d make the same mistake again. My only solace is that you too probably can’t recall my name.  Ah, the forties.

So, in addition to memory loss, I’ve now got what I like to call “tinsel” in my hair and bunions on my feet.  But here’s the upside: there are no more term-paper deadlines, blind dates or colicky babies on the horizon.


Karen McCree September 27, 2011 at 08:20 PM
How did that happen??
Franklin Tucker September 27, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Sorry about putting my name on your byline. I was in Springfield for the afternoon without a Starbucks in sight. But the error has been rectified and you are restored.
Franklin Tucker September 27, 2011 at 09:15 PM
I can only say that I hoped to piggy back on Lisa's future fame by claiming one of her columns as my own.
Robin Cushman Phillips September 28, 2011 at 03:16 PM
As always, I love your stuff, Lisa. The idea of "tinsel" in your hair cracks me up!
Rita Carpenter September 30, 2011 at 08:26 AM
I have another 40-something birthday looming closely on the horizon, so I can totally relate... especially the part about chocolate. Never again will I finish my kid's chicken nuggets... when I put unhealthy calories into my body, I make them count (like Vickie Lee's to-die-for desserts -- that is why I exercise!).


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