In honor of my birth month I’ve thought about all the things I’ve learned over the last 45 years. I suspect that most are probably pretty relatable to other mothers around my age so here ya go…let me know which ones make your Top 10 List too!
10. What Metabolism?
Until the age of 40 I could eat whatever, drink whatever, sleep through whatever, and never EVER workout. The year I turned 40 my metabolism who had been with me since birth consider us tied at the hip so to speak, got up one day, packed a bag and decided to walk out on me. RUDE!
It was like it said F*U and hit the road. Weight was gained, 2 drink max developed, bladder requires a 4am break, and working-out 5 days a week is now a necessity.
A huge sadness came over me when I realized my metabolism left me high-and-dry, I thought we had a really good thing going. smh
9. Music Memories
Those of us who grew up in the 70s-80s developed a love of music, dancing, and maybe even parachute pants or the occasional big hair bow. Music platforms changed often, we started with records, then 8-tracks, to CDs, to mp3s, now streaming music (I’m looking at you Spotify which is different than Napster but we had that too).
We went to concerts gained backstage access and sometimes after party dances. Music was our world and now my kids (who have only had CDs and digital music) listen to our music and still love it or musicians copy or mix it in with new hits (Robin Thicke you knew not to mess with Marvin but still you were temped).
When we hear these songs or snippets it takes us back, right back to a school dance say 7th grade dance, first ever slow dance with an actual boy, cue Journey’s “faithfully”, awk!
But those sounds take us back, in living color, and we forget that we’re now 45 and have kids old enough for college. These are cherished memories but sometimes those top 40 songs we played over, and over, and over in the 80s are so burned in our heads that we just can’t hear them one more time. Hence why my saved XM stations in my car do NOT include 70s or 80s stations.
Back in our day…..hate that saying it makes me sound old but sometimes it just fits, education wasn’t such a priority as it is now. Most of my friends went off to college, some stayed and finished in 4 years, but others like me dropped out and began working full-time, got married, signed a mortgage, and had babies.
You could easily get a career job without an undergraduate degree and move up to middle management with lots of dedication and hard work. But as a young mother options on type of jobs were limited and so was the annual salary.
As we got older, as did our babies, we wised up and decided to go back to college, finish that degree, maybe even keep going for an MBA. We now know the value of what we missed out in those early years without a college degree, we still hold no regrets but life could have been a little easier with that damn piece of paper.
Today things have changed and a degree is almost required for all career positions or intercompany promotions. We have spent years supporting our kids to ensure they attend the right schools, take the right classes, sign-up for volunteer activities, join clubs, and get evolved in a sport. All so our kids can be prepared for college. Guess what they may not be prepared at all. I’ve learned that each child is different and no matter how much we do to protect them or prepare them, it’s their path to walk much as we did.
Until we get married and have kids friends are the second most important thing to us behind family. We can’t wait to see them, we confer with them on hair styles, fashion, boys, food, and make plans with them. Every waking moment is centered around hanging with our friends. Once we get into a serious relationship or married a husband comes on the scene friends feel left out and grow resentment towards us. But we are in wedding bliss and want to spend every waking moment with our man instead of our friends. Then its get even worse – a baby will make your priorities change again. Our children become the center of our lives and place hubbys 2nd, family 3rd, and friends are a distant ghost. What friends? I can’t even get a daily shower in or eat my dinner without a crying baby with a dirty diaper interrupting.
When our kids head off to school we tend to stumble upon new friends, other mothers of kids from the same classes attending. They are great supporters and understand what we are going through. Some may even be neighbors and we share the same babysitters. But once the kids grow up and begin hanging with their friends, we realize that we don’t really have anything in common with these other mothers except our kids. We begin to reach out to our old friends and some are receptive but others have moved on as well.
I’ve learned that a small circle of friends is all that is really needed. These are the tried and true friends that are their through thick and thin. There are commonalities, an abundance of mutual respect, and at the end of the day the ones you have the most fun with. Cause lets face it we all want to have fun with our girlfriends. #gno
6. Piss & Vinegar
Crude title, yes I agree. I’ve been told that I exhibit this quality and unfortunately it really did fit. Piss and vinegar means you have spunk or a desire to debate. In my 20-30s I think I enjoyed debating, liked a good fiery discussion, covering current events or political topics with energetic deviancy. As we grew up there were many serious issues our generations have had to deal with, all very important issues such as the Cold War, space shuttle Challenger explosion, abundance of drugs, AIDS, the creation of the Internet just to name a few. These were times of major changes and we had much to debate.
In your 40s you begin to mello-out. This isn’t to say that you don’t care about any current social issues, we still feel their importance and have our passionate opinions, but we are smooth about how we display our opinion. We’ve learned how to deal with confrontation and can agree to disagree with others and yet speak from experience rather than just how we feel. We can put together a solid rationale to support our opinion regardless if its one of popular belief or not. Experience gives us a calming effect, we just need to relish in our new-found confidence.
You might have attended your 5 year high school reunion or waited for the 10th. One thing I know is that reunions were a BIG deal! We haven’t seen or spoken to our old friends in years (see #7) cause life began to swirl and we all moved away from home. There was no Facebook heck even Mark Zuckerberg was a new-born baby in the 80s with no thoughts of creating a way to rate the women at Harvard or for us to have constant interaction with our high school friends. It was exciting to attend reunions, try to squeeze into a new dress, get our hair and nails done, grab a few pictures of our beautiful kids to show off, and look through old yearbooks to remember those faces so we could even recognize each other.
Now between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat for those parents who really want to keep up with their kids, we have a voyeuristic platform all day, everyday to check-in with old friends. It kinda makes reunions not such a big deal. Hey I’m not saying don’t invite me to the 30th guys but just that it seem like a let down since we get to see your cat play with a ball of yarn while falling off the back of the couch all the time. *hugs see ya soon*
4. Death & Taxes
Yep I just went there, somewhere in your 40s you will most likely experience the death of a loved one or even a parent. It’s one of the hardest experiences we have to go through all the while being strong for our family. The loss strikes you down and I can only describe it as a black pit in your stomach. The pit never goes away but the pain tends to lighten up a bit each year. Death can be a right of passage, not to say its enjoyable, but to explain that it is partly what contributes to our growth and maturity. Those who have lost a parent have the same look in their eyes, it’s very identifiable to others in the club.
Taxes feel like a death especially if you have to process the estate of a parent and then complete your taxes for that year with a new experience of inheritance tax. Boy these are fun times! But with these experience comes another level of maturity and responsibility. Our priority shifts again and quality of life becomes more and more vital.
Yes this is a thing, just ask the barbacks at Johnny’s Hideaway and their “Got Cougars” T-shirts. Now this doesn’t mean I’m trading in my wonderful hubby, I’m happily married but things are different when it comes to sexappeal in your 40s, just ask my friend Sharon Stone. When we were in our 20s-30s vs our 40s, we were all over the place, experimenting not knowing what we like and don’t like. In our 40s things are much different we are in-tune with our bodies, have a deeper connection with our lovers, and definitely know what we want. Theres that confidence and quality of life I keep talking about. Who wants to waste time or a solid marriage on a hot mess that doesn’t know what they are doing. Now it’s not to say we don’t recognize a good muscular body walk by, it’s just that we know that it can’t satisfy us the way our husbands can. Nice to look at but keep on walking buddy, my man has this wrapped up!
The new center of our world has now become our own family; hubby, children, soon their own partners and future grandchildren will be joining us. We work hard to be able to provide for our family and now see the importance of taking off time from work for our family. We plan events with our family including vacations, excursions, and hosting holiday family gatherings at our own home versus our parents homes. The tables have turned and our homes are the gathering place of the family. We enjoy these moments, soak them up and want to bathe in the moments where family is around. Laughter is more frequent, hugs are often, stories are told, and new memories are made and cherished.
1. My Mother Was Right
You know it, you can fully admit it now. Somewhere in your 20s there may be a one time acknowledgement to your mom that she was in fact correct on that instance. In your heart you know it was just a fluke but then another one crops up and another. You begin to think that maybe you don’t know it all, nah. By the time you are in your 40s you have full and total recognition that she was in fact right about EVERYTHING. She went through it all before, experienced several decades of experiences herself before having you.
My grandmother is turning 90 this month and we are having a big throw down to celebrate. I wonder what I will have learned by the time I’m 90, guess that post might read a lot different!