Loving My Forties

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Loving My Forties

My friend called me with the name of a man who prescribed estrogen patches and I called him immediately to set up an appointment and investigate. Could it be that there was a cure for my Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde monthly syndrome? I had been searching long and hard for something…anything, that I could take to keep me sane and normal through that one week of hell every month.

His office was located directly next to my yoga studio and so I stopped by after my class. I walked in soaked with sweat but ready to hear more about what he had to offer. “So, tell me why you are here”, he asked as he rocked back in his chair. “I know that you specialize mostly in injecting Botox, but I heard from a reliable source that you are doling out estrogen patches and I want in on it”, I said.

I listened in disbelief as he carelessly regurgitated his asinine philosophy: “Most women hit thirty five years of age and their hormones go downhill and eventually they dry up and fade away.” “Essentially, most mammals die after menopause”. Images flashed through my head of female elephants, baboons and lions dying mid leap.

I asked him if the estrogen patch would increase my chances of getting breast cancer and he smugly told me that as women get older, if they are not going to get breast cancer, or Osteoperosis than they are sure to get inflicted with some other disease to help their demise. “You see, your prime was at twenty five” “As you get older something has got to give”, he said. Was he telling me that I should just cash it in and take the risks?

Repressing the urge to load up and fire out my opinion, I endured his speech. One, of many, benefits of being my age is that I am able to keep my mouth shut when I know it is pointless to open it.

A half hour later I walked out of his office stunned. In my forties, I have found an inner peace and an entirely new view on life and love. My senses are deepened and my openness to the world much greater. I am learning Spanish, writing, reading novels, juggling three boys, relishing in the affections of my husband and deepening my bonds with my girlfriends. Who was this man who could not appreciate the beauty of women in their forties?

Admittedly, getting older has been a huge challenge physically. My friends and I all complain about the new tire around our waists. I have to eat less to stay trim but the food I am eating now is far healthier than ever before and makes me feel like a champion. Mentally, I never have had a good memory so I cannot blame age on my inability to remember things. I can blame my father though, who let me lay unconscious on the couch when I was about eight years old. After I fell down the stairs he presumably felt it would be okay to finish the paper before taking me to the hospital.

This is not to say that I don’t miss the attention I got when I was younger. I’ll never forget one summer day, when I was in my twenties, when I was crossing the street and a young man poked his head out of his car window and thanked me for looking so pretty in my summer dress on such a glorious day. But I was silly, self-conscious and shy and completely unable to handle the compliment.

A few months ago, a man approached me and said that he had spotted my smile from afar and he felt compelled to come over and tell me that it had lit up his day. This time I was much better equipped to absorb and process his compliment and left him marveling at how wonderful it was that my smile could brighten up a stranger’s day.

It is not easy watching the lines deepen around my eyes but if I had a chance to do it all over again, I would smile all the more. It is difficult to go out dancing with my friends without acknowledging that I am a good ten or even twenty years older than the sexy girl dancing next to me but I still bust a move on the dance floor and feel as if I’m in my twenties.

At the end of the session the man told me that he would give me a break and not charge me for his time. Walking out of his office I actually smiled thinking that this is what I love about being in my forties. I could listen to a man’s horrifying opinion on woman and not be taken down by it. I will not allow myself to get caught up in the emotions of an unwise, narrow minded, egotistical, pompous man who thinks he has all the answers to life.

Women are faced with enormous hormonal changes as we get older but this does not mean that we are fading away. Au contraire, our minds and wit are strengthening as well as our inner and outer beauty. I am in my prime right here right now, not when I was twenty five and my hormones were raging, in a different way. I was lost and confused.

I was so grateful to come home to my Wade and my children who see me for who I really am. An energetic, nurturing mother and loving wife who will always be there for them because they need me and I will, as long as I can help it, never fade away.

Enjoy these famous quotes on age:

Agatha Christie:

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find – at the age of fifty, say – that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about…It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.

Anais Nin:

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

Ashley Montagu:

I want to die young at a ripe old age.

Jeanne Moreau:

Age does not protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age.

Sir Arthur Pinero:

Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.

Colleen McCullough:

The lovely thing about being forty is that you can appreciate twenty-five- year old men more.

14 COMMENTS

  1. OMG! I hope that you find a new supplier for the estrogen patches after your prescription runs out. How crazy that he feels he was giving you a break by not charging you, when in reality your payment was to sit there and listen to the garbage he was spewing! Ah well, you were able to rise above it–I hope that if I am ever in a similar situation, that I can rise above as well. 🙂

  2. Jillian-I can’t believe it has been so long since i have been back here to your blog!! I loved your post- I am not quite to my forties yet, but almost, and I totally get what you are saying here. I so wish that Doctor could see this post too!! Although he probably still wouldn’t get it!! You rock! I love to go out and get my groove on even though I am 10-15 years older then the young babes on the dance floor! I love my life as a mom and wife and wouldn’t change it for the world.

    Come stop by and have the boys enter the art contest at Toddler Craft. There are some great prizes for kids and adults.

  3. Wow! What a fantastic post! I am glad you realize how remarkable you are! It is also remarkable that you are able to realize it in this culture that does not value aging. Congratulations to you and your family!

  4. So many pearls of wisdom in this blog I don’t know where to begin praising! If it weren’t you telling the story I wouldn’t believe such a clod still exists in this century. Hooray for the forties! Hooray for Jillian!

  5. Jillian, I love this! It’s just what I need to hea More…r and internalize as I approach 40 in September. I’m determined to enter my 40s gracefully, as my best self, knowing that that “best self” will only get better. I appreciate your perspective so very much! xo. [x]

  6. I just turned 44 and have some medical difficulties over the last ten years. One of my problems has been weight gain. Well in the past month and a half I have lost twenty pounds – only 25 to 30 to go. Once the weight is off I am getting a tattoo and I am going to start making corsets to wear! (I actually want to start restructing old and second hand clothes so my wardrobe will be unique) For my forty fifth birthday I might even get my belly button pierced. I have started a company to write promotional material for entertainers and I feel like I am just getting started. The best is yet to come no matter what some dim witted so called educated person may say!

  7. I cannot believe that Doctor said those things! How unbelievably insensitive.

    Jillian, I am touched by the genuineness of this post. I feel as if we are going through the same emotions, turbulence and ultimately acceptance of our changing bodies. I can accept getting older. My parents always said it was a blessing. In that vein I appreciate leaving behind some of the awkwardness of youth. And yes! I feel as if my heart can embrace so much more around me. Experiencing these changes took me by surprise because it was so unexpected, but I am determined to accept it as gracefully as you have.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post with me. It actually helped!

    • Hello Vivianne,

      I really meant it, I love being in my forties. Aside from the incredible irritation I feel cyclically, the fat tire and the wrinkles, it’s all good!

      My fear is that I will become a curmudgeon like my father was, if I don’t practice graciousness!

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