I turn forty in exactly one week. How do I feel about it?
In a word: Depressed.
Now, don't try and cheer me up by telling me that "Life begins at 40", that "40's the new 20", or that at least I get to be a cougar now.
I'm not naive.
I know that life began at 00:01, that I didn't have these crow's feet when I was 20, and that since 40 year-old men go for 27 year-old women, so do the 27 year-old men! Duh.
No. What I get at forty is frequent heartburn, anti-aging face cream that makes me break out, to get hit on by solely the over-60 crowd (talk about an unwanted booby prize!) and nephews that are constantly asking me if I am a widow. (I think the evasive word they're reaching for is "spinster".)
I was recently reminded of an old blog post of mine on turning thirty. I was so excited to turn thirty, in small part, because I was still aging well enough to get carded at the movie theater and I wore that fact like a badge of pride.
The only time I get carded these days is when I'm buying cold medication. And, even then, it's only to check the database of known meth cookers. I'm never mistaken these days for looking 17, only for looking like a speed freak.
Well, I won't ramble on with further complaints on aging or gross you out with more facts on what happens to a woman's body at my age. I will simply conclude this post by offering the following advice.
If you happen to cross my path in the next seven days, take heed:
The wrong way to wish me a happy fortieth: If you think over-the-hill pranks are adorable, prepare to see some wrists slit. Don't worry, my life is not in danger. Yours is. If I'm handed anything with a picture of a gravestone on it, I will cut you. If you try to recite any "cute" poetry that begins with the opening line "Lordy, lordy...", I will cut you. If I receive any cards with that grumpy Shoebox lady on it, even if it's just an early Christmas card, I will paper cut you with the envelope in which it was wrapped. If a black balloon is inflated, next Tuesday, within a half-mile of my vicinity I will cut said person so fast and so deep that they'll risk death from drowning in their own pool of blood as much as from the loss of blood itself.
The right way to wish me a happy birthday this year: Nice cards that don't mention being over-the-hill or premature references to menopause. (And, I won't complain if there's cash stuffed inside of them.) Hugs. Kisses. Gentle pats on the behind. Balloons in any other color than black (see above) or pink (because I hate pink. In fact, I don't really want any balloons. I was just trying to leave the balloon option out there. In reality, what do you do with them once the day's over? Sit there and watch them deflate over the next week, as they slowly become the literal shape and texture of my 40-year old ass. Yeah. Definitely, no balloons!) Or, just a simple "Happy Birthday" with a smile will do. I will also understand a hurried mumble while averting the eyes after putting you through this post.
Or, you can just read the old blog post. It handled 37 alot better than I'm handling 40. And, then bring on the kittens!