I came across a post recently on one of a few select message boards which I am a member. The thread was titled What the Hell is Wrong With Me?
The original poster stated they had turned 40 this past June and felt as if they were experiencing an identity crisis or a second childhood. Their conflict or sorts began after the poster’s Dodge Caravan got totaled, and their oldest children were 17 11, so they no longer needed a minivan. The poster bought a car like one they drove in college, a 1990 Mustang GT convert, because they love driving fast. The poster said they’d felt silly driving it after awhile (e.g. they couldn’t go to the gas station without some teenage boy wanting to talk to them about the car, and then extended an invitation to join their club).
They gave the Mustang to their spouse, bought a much newer BMW, and wanted to upgrade the sound in it. It’s just not loud enough. The poster need to feel their music. The poster found themselves having thoughts of just upgrading to another BMW that’s a faster five speed.
Then the ultimate question was asked: What the hell is wrong with me?
Here is my answer: Nothing.
If we want a great stereo that blasts their favorite music from the 70‘s, 80‘s (or whatever decade), bleach our dark hair blonde (provided we have the skin coloring and features to pull off such a drastic change; otherwise, it’s just hideous), go to clubs, be more sociable, read books that aren’t ‘trendy’, play a video game once in awhile, stay up all night watching horror movies, flirt with the attractive man down the street (even if he is more than a decade younger than we), have sex, drive a souped-up car, or anything else that makes us happy, what’s the problem?
Once we’ve reached a certain age (be it 30‘s, 40‘s, and beyond), we are most likely able to afford to indulge in life’s little pleasures. I think too much time is wasted on wondering how other people think we should be by a certain age, instead of focusing on what makes us happy and just plain living our lives.
I’m a middle aged woman, and far from a size 2 as one can get. I never will be a size 2 nor do I have any desire to be. In any event, I still wear jeans and cheerful bright colors. I have my hair cut in a pixie that I spike – and have had total strangers tell me they love it!
I blast music from the 70′s and 80′s at near scream level on my stereo. I watch wrestling matches from the 1990‘s on YouTube. I run around in my bare feet. I have friends younger than some of my nieces and nephews. My hair is naturally gray around the temples, but you can thank L’Oreal for keeping those beauties under cover.
Now I’m not saying we should still wear mini skirts and midriff tops when we’re forty. While it’s okay to dress “young,” there are certain boundaries. I like my pretty colors and “girly” styles, but you won’t see me wearing low rider jeans, bikinis, or short shorts, just to name a few. Nor will you ever see a streak of Day-Glo colors in my hair and my body riddled with piercings and tattoos. The former and latter are fine for the teens and 20‘s crowd, but two holes in each of my ears, my God-given freckles, and spiky hair are as “bad ass” as I’m going to be.
My current love is 38 years old, yet when I’m in public with him, we don’t look odd because he has a few premature gray hairs of his own. Does they and our age difference bother either of us? Not in the least. As he likes to say, age is just a number and he’s earned his gray hairs (Not to mention I think those little gray spots are quite sexy on him).
I think my attitude toward youthful living stems from not really living up to my then-potential from my teens right up until about five years ago. I got my first job at age thirteen (obviously “off the books”), which I worked for over three years while helping my mother care for my grandmother, who spent the last decade of her life in poor health before she passed away at age 75.
I wasn’t allowed to date until I was eighteen, which didn’t bother me because I was painfully shy and not boy crazy at the time. I couldn’t attend school functions without a chaperone until I was a senior. I didn’t even sleep with my first guy until I was 20.
If I wasn’t working, everything was focused on my getting good grades in high school and then learning a vocational trade after I graduated. When my own mother began having her own health issues, it was mostly my responsibility to help her. I never had the opportunity – nor the finances – to leave home until I was 23. By then, I had enough skills and experience to work almost any job.
From then onward, I worked and came home, with the exception of an occasional visit to the clubs and my former sister-in-law taking me to wrestling shows. I wanted and needed more, but had no idea where to begin.
About ten years ago, I decided enough was enough. Almost three-quarters of my life was spent caring for other people and trying to live up to the expectations of others. While I enjoyed being included in the lives of others (for the most part), I had dreams and aspirations that were yet untapped.
I dabbled in acting and full-figure modeling for a few years until I decided neither was for me. once took a trip to Florida by train – round trip. I attempted driver’s training, but found myself way too skittish to operate a motor vehicle.
When I began to develop health issues which prevented me from working full time, I returned to my first love, writing.
I started my first novel in 2008 and schlepped it around to various publishers and web sites before a small publisher then in the United Kingdom took a chance on the book and published it in 2010 (The Cruiserweight continues to do well on Amazon almost two years later, and the publisher is now under new management. I’ve since moved on to another independent publishing house.).
I’ve written about half a dozen short story e-books in addition to the first novel, and, as of this article, am nearly finished with my second novel.
Moral of this story? As long as you don’t expect your parents to continue supporting you when you’re 40 and the kids are out of your house, I don’t see any laws where anyone has to stop enjoying what they love at a certain age.
Life’s too short to give a damn about what others think. I fell into that trap once, and all it did was make me miserable. Now that I’m living the life I want, I’m a much happier person and my health has improved to a certain degree.
The world is your sandbox – get out there and play in it, no matter how old you are.