I hit 30 and thought nothing of it at all. I had just had my first child and was busy caring for this new human I had brought into the world. 35 was also a bit of a haze. By then I had two little girls and had just moved into a new home; suburbia and all its trappings lulled me into a slumber of complacency. Soon there were preschools to check into, dance classes to go to, bake sales to provide for, soccer games to cheer. I did what the rest of my tribe did, but always felt this sense that something was missing. That I was not living up to my potential. There was something MORE out there. I just could not put my finger on it. I realize now, I was starting to become invisible. I cut off the long blonde hair that had always been my calling card (hello hair flip, the siren song that got me many, many free drinks and more than one lover) and settled in. Ugh.
40 crept up on me; stealthy and quiet. Suddenly, I was the same age my mom was when she became a grandmother. That was jarring. Granted, she had been a very young mom herself and my sister was also a young mom at the time. So here I was… 40, two kids, one husband, one cat, a solid career in client service, circles of friends that I enjoyed spending time with. But I felt bitter. I was startled to wake up one day and realize that I was the same age my mom had been the day I got married. But in my heart of hearts, I was still 23.
Had I missed something? Social media did not help. I remind myself daily that social media is nothing more than another person’s highlight reel. My Facebook was full of check-ins and pics of fun things, but it felt a bit like a sham; something I was just doing to impress other people. Step one, get off the book of the faces so much. What was fun to join in 2007 as a way to connect with old college and high school friends (and one or two former flames) quickly became a monkey on my back. I’m only still present there as a way to organize events like class reunions.
Years ago, when interviewing to be a resident assistant in college, the interviewer asked what one word I would use to describe myself. It was a group interview and the other two people used trite responses like “caring” and “dedicated.” I went balls out and said the first thing that came to mind. LOUD. Apparently that was not a CLM (career limiting move) because I got the job and had one of my best years ever in college.
As I started to slide down the other side of the mountain of life, I realized that LOUD is and always was a huge part of my personality and I will not apologize for it. I will laugh at the jokes. I will tell the jokes. I will be the center of attention. I will speak my mind. I will be passionate. I will be sexy. I will choose how I want to live and love and do both things without apology.
I see and hear from many peers who think their lot in life after 40 is to become invisible. I say fuck that shit. Hell, a recent CBS News graphic left Generation X off entirely. I cannot speak to the plight of Gen-X males (though I am working on a blog post about them after a few conversations have led me to believe that some of them feel the same way), but we Gen-X women need to fight this urge and remind the planet that we are still here, spending money, raising hell and will not be silenced. Well, at least not this over-40 hottie.
Yeah, I said it, hottie. In my quest to resist becoming invisible, I gained another piece of me back. Sure, I’m a mom. I’m not anywhere near my goal weight. I have a few more laugh lines. I may not be the prettiest or the thinnest woman in the room, but I will be the woman who gets noticed. By both sexes. Because I will not be contained. I will laugh. I will tell a joke or ten. I will be confident. I will be sexy. I will be fun. I will be LOUD.
I do see the tide turning a bit; this morning I saw an ad for lingerie geared to women over 50. So hooray; there may be hope after all! We are not all invisible! But the number of ads directed to my ladies that have to deal with vaginal dryness, lines and wrinkles, sun damage, getting spotless dishes, and “supporting” undergarments (AKA Spanx) far outweigh the former marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my Spanx. In the immortal words of Truvy Jones, “I haven’t left the house without Lycra on these thighs since I was fourteen.” In other words, I was raised RIGHT. If you don’t know who Truvy Jones is, you’re dead to me.
Kidding. Just Google it.
This is the launch of something brand new. No topic is off limits. There will be no clutching of pearls. You can judge me all you like, but do not expect me to respond to your judgements. There will be humor and plenty of sarcasm.
Above all, there will be FUN. So buckle up bitches. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.