The Big 40, Welcome to Middle Age

by Heligirl on October 7, 2011

in Beyond Mommyhood,Confessions,Daily Ramblings

In the midst of getting into my new job then having my lovely accident, I completely forgot to even reflect upon, let alone fully absorb the fact that last month I officially entered middle age. Forgive me. Here, let me make it up to you:

I remember a time when my dad turned 40 and I announced, “Wow, that’s old. You can retire soon right?” I think I was in something like fifth grade.

I remember thinking a 30-year-old man was way too old for me. (Lucky that sexy Daniel Radcliffe is still under 30, eh?)

I did announce that I’d not admit I was old until Mel Gibson died of old age. Have you seen Mel lately? I’m not liking the prospects of how much longer I can deny my aging.

So the blessed day of hitting the old 4-0 fell on a Friday. Perfect day for a bash, don’t you think?

Also, I didn’t have to work that day and it was the last day of my old daycare, so I had the day to myself.

What to do, what to do?

First, I had to take my precious pooch to the vet because he had a loose tooth and was in need of a dental checkup. He’s a 13-year-old Chihuahua after all. More on that in another post because while I thought he needed a tooth or two pulled, I was off by about 15. Luckily I didn’t need to pick him up until Saturday so I didn’t see the monetary damage until then.

It was a nice day, so I dropped Jack at the vet with a smooch and took myself to Starbucks for an extra huge and yummy Pumpkin Spice Latte (decaf because I’m still following my plan to stay off the caffeine) and some quiet time.

At first I got all philosophical. Should I be feeling sad, wearing black and thinking of my now long past youth?

Truth is, my biggest fear in my 20s and early 30s was I’d hit 40 and still be single without kids. I wanted to be a mom more than anything.

As I sipped my yummy goodness I was overcome with a sense of accomplishment and contentment. I’d become a helicopter pilot, I’d lived in Scotland for a bit, traveled, have had a successful career and I met a wonderful man and had my baby girl and boy I always wanted. I have everything I really, really wanted in life: a home, career I enjoy and my family. I don’t feel like time is running out to do anything important.

Time to come up with things to do the next 40 years.

Starting with shopping.

I then took myself to the mall to return some pants and poke around the sale racks to kill time, unencumbered by my offspring, until my lunch date.

As I wondered through the stores I started to feel a little guilty. I really should do something special on my 40th birthday. Granted, my Hubby had planned a birthday party that night with lots of friends at my favorite watering hole, but there had to be something I could do that was a fun/sinful/exciting thing, right? Something to mark the occasion.

Then I remembered something that I’ve been wanting to do for three years, but could neither build up the courage or find time to do when the kids weren’t with me.

I fell in love with the body style of the new Camaro when it was unveiled in the first Transformers movie. That is a sexy looking muscle car. I want to drive one. I’d do that. Yes. That will be my gift to me.

When I met my bestest pal in his work parking lot 30 minutes later he suggested he take me to a nice seafood restaurant down at the harbor.

“That sounds perfect. But first, are you feeling adventurous?”


“I want to test drive Bumblebee. Come with me and take pictures?”

“Why the hell not!” he said enthusiastically, which is a lot for my planner of a pal to do. Spontaneity is not his thing.

So off we went. I have to give the salesman credit. I walked up to him, handed him my license, said it was my 40th birthday and I wanted to drive my mid-life dream car.

He asked me what kind of engine (power), transmission, hard or soft top, and color I’d like. I told him a stick and whatever he had.

“We have a yellow one with black stripes in manual transmission.”

I must have looked like I was about to explode.

“PERFECT!” I said a little too excited.

“Bumblebee fan are you?” he smiled.

A few minutes later he pulled up in a barebones, bottom line model of the car, but it was the perfect color.

With my buddy sitting next to me taking pictures, I took the car for a spin. The salesman sat behind me and just went along for the ride. He didn’t try to sell it to me. Bless his heart.

It was a fun spin, and I got to open it up on the freeway, loving that throaty engine. It was way uncomfortable to drive (I’m too short for it) and impractical for a family, but none the less great fun to take out on my big day. We thanked the salesman and were off.

I had a lovely lunch with my friend, picked up the kids (and chattered animatedly with the daycare folks about my test drive), and went home to get ready for my party that night.

My birthday party was a bigger treat than I imagined.

Not only was it a lovely evening and we got the best corner of the place to ourselves, but the people who showed up represented so much of my life.

There was a boy I’d met my first day of sixth grade in September 1982, who left town in high school and I’d recently reconnected with while planning my 20-year high school reunion a few years back. There were my two closest friends from high school. There was one of my dear helicopter pilot pals and three of my very favorite mommy pals I’d met as a result of us all having kids. There were two of my closest pals from my old job and a close friend and his wife I’d met through my husband. My brother even came.

It was very special to see everyone, and so neat to see them talking to each other, all these people I love so much.

And of course, I showed them photos of me driving Bumblebee.

So it was a good day. And I didn’t feel 40.

Until 11 days later when I sprained my hip.

Now I feel 40.


Liz @M2M October 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

Awww 🙁 I love the Bumblebee story, though! I turn 25 in a month and I’m having trouble accepting *that*…I’m nowhere near ready for 40! Enjoy it (apart from the sprained him O_o;;)

Twitter: Heligirl
October 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Thanks my friend. It was going fine until I hurt myself. But, alas, even at 40 the body heals itself, or so I’m told…

Mimzy Wimzy
Twitter: MimzyWimzy
October 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Happy Birthday! I will be turning 40 in December & not sure how to feel about it. My oldest daughter turned 21 in July. My youngest son is going to be 18 in December. My 19 year old daughter is making me a grandmother in December. What am I supposed to do with al that at once??? Whew! My mother in law (who I genuinely love dearly) is a party person. If your age ends in “0” you are getting a party. Typically a surprise party. I don’t want a party. I especially don’t want a surprise party. Can you fly me away from here for a while?
Mimzy Wimzy recently posted: Karma can be a parents best friend

Twitter: Heligirl
October 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

OK, can I just say you get to party like its 1999. The kids are gown and you still have so much of your life ahead of you. I’d start planning a nice tropical getaway then explain to the MIL and hubby that you’d prefer all funds and energy be expended on this getaway. You’ve earned it my dear! Rock it.

Susan October 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm

What a cool day! I’m jealous. Great car! My 40th s*cked out loud. Everyone was busy freaking out about my older brother going off to war. My birthday that year was a non event (kind of like it was this year). Glad you’ll have good memories to look back on.
Susan recently posted: An Unexpected Opportunity for Growth

Twitter: Heligirl
October 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

LOL, I’m sorry. I’m getting a visual on “sucked out loud.” Might be the drugs. It’s hurting to laugh this hard… Oh Susan, I’m sorry it was a bummer but hope you’re doing well. I’d kind of hoped everyone would go out of their way to really celebrate my big day, but, alas, I had to ask my hubby if he was going to do anything (and he didn’t even try to get in touch with people that didn’t respond to his first e-mail invite to the party, some of which never got it), and I came up with the Bumblebee test drive. But, oh well. It could have been worse. 🙂

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