So this is 40. Welcome to the era of mammograms, abnormal Pap smears and aches and pains that only come from inactively sitting in a cubicle all day. For me, 40 came and went and it was no big deal. No tears, no breakdowns, just a smooth transition into the second half of my life. I feel ok, I look ok, my jobs ok, my level of life satisfaction is satisfactory. So now the question…how do I take satisfactory and elevate it to extraordinary? And do I really need to?
Yes, I know the drill. Enough articles exist explaining that extraordinary life fulfillment stems from putting down the cell phone, being present, living every day, embracing the awesomeness of my job, kids and my husband….but sometimes I’m tired of my job, my kids suck and I want to punch my husband in the neck. Once in a while I wonder if this satisfactory state is actually a mid-life situation but then I find myself six Google searches deep on “mid-life crisis” looking for plausible reasons for my weight gain, my sudden disinterest in anything that doesn’t involve crafting, and my lack of motivation to do simple things like the dishes and grocery shopping.
I used to dream extraordinary dreams about jumping out of a plane, travelling the world, and writing a book. Now I am investigating the death rate correlation between being overweight and indoor skydiving simulators, figuring out when we can afford the obligatory Disney trip before our kids think Disney isn’t cool, and I desperately try to bang out this blog post once a month in an effort to avoid paying for professional therapy.
We all have that extraordinary friend. The one that has seven pairs of Tory Burch shoes and didn’t get them at a resale store, who keeps a gratitude journal to reflect on life’s wonder, actually shops in physical malls vs. clicking on Amazon Prime, and takes multiple vacations to paradises I can’t pronounce and not only wears a bikini, but rocks it. I am not that friend. I am the friend that sneaks off to New Orleans to get wasted and forget my life for two days. I don’t own a gratitude journal, but really try to count my blessings at least once a week. I have not even thought about a bikini since 2001 and the only Tory Burch shoes I have are flip flops that I ordered off Amazon and I am pretty sure they are legit. Satisfactory at its finest, friends.
Being a 40 year old working mom adds another layer of crazy. I have found that the “work/life balance” that people refer to is a lie. I feel that I am either succeeding at home OR at work, but both rarely happen simultaneously. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to walk away from my crying child at day care drop off because if I didn’t, I would be late for a 9:00 meeting. Then my morning is plagued by the guilt I feel for making the choices I did. I’ve had to cut a work trip short to get home for my wedding anniversary and then stress about the connections I am not making and the meetings I am missing. I wish I could go back in time and choose a career that would afford me more flexibility to still work hard and be there more for my family. I’m at the point in my career where I have to keep moving forward, but these are lessons I know I will instill on my girls.
Have I lost sight of who I once aspired to be in the process of growing older? I like to think of myself as a work in progress. I have matured so much in the last ten years and as a result, my priorities have shifted. Instead of having a list of places I want to visit, I now have a summer bucket list for all the things our family wants to do together. We still know how to have a great time, we just do a lot of entertaining at our house vs. going out on the town. Our family does fun things both as a family and independently. I throw a lot of money at babysitters to ensure that my husband and I can still go to a ball game or have dinner out with other adults occasionally, and I never feel bad about it. Just because I am a mom and a wife, does not mean that I have to have my family around me at all times. I enjoy a crazy girls night out, my book club, my volunteer group, and of course my gaggle of cheerleading moms that I laugh with on game days. I enjoy my nights out with my husband where we laugh too hard and drink too much and remember why we love being us. Best of all, I enjoy the quiet snuggles, trying new hairstyles, and laughing at farts with my crazy kids. I don’t think that I would be the person I am without all three components of my life. I still can see the old me, but now its a better version. Sure there are things I wish I could achieve. I would love to be described as the size 6, half-marathon running, vice-president, badass mom, but I am also pretty comfortable as just me.
I want my life to be quietly amazing. I don’t need to be famous or the center of attention. I just want to be happy, have my kids listen occasionally, and feel like my husband still wants me. So, I’m 40 years old, and in the words of my husband, “C’s get degrees”. I guess that means it’s ok to be satisfactorily average. Good thing I surround myself with lots of extraordinarily awesome people to up my game.
Top ten list of shit I never did before I hit the big 4-0. Surprisingly, many involve my armpits!
10. Spend three hours of my life developing a carpool spreadsheet for cheerleading practices
9. Use my husbands Old Spice deodorant because it smells good and I’m all out…again
8. Find new uses for deodorant, like applying it to inner thighs to avoid chafing…thank you Amy Schumer for that fab tip
7. Have an emergency stash of edibles
6. Read erotic novels often
5. Own and use essential oils daily
4. Spend $28 on deodorant that lightens my underarm skin
3. Wear bright lipstick and not give a fuck what anyone thinks
2. Have sex in a public restroom…if it is really clean
1. Watch Game of Thrones and love it!
Bio: Mom of two girls