I’m 43. I’m *totally* fine with that.
No, really…I am. I am one of those women who just doesn’t think much about aging. I didn’t bat an eye when I turned 30 or have a existential crisis at 35. I didn’t even feel like I’d passed a particular milestone when I turned 40. It didn’t phase me a bit. I’m just one of those lucky people who is just not hung up on aging. That’s what I thought until:
Robert, Lucy, and I were driving to Bobby’s football game. Robert asked me if my ankle hurt because he wanted to know if it was going to rain. (Okay, I guess I should interject here that I KNOW that it’s supposed to be only the very old who can tell the weather by their various aches and pains. I always envision a granny rocking on the front porch doing this. But….I broke my ankle a few years back, and I can do it too, despite the fact that I’m only 43. My ankle is actually more accurate at predicting rain than the Acuvue Radar of the local TV station). I told him we were in the clear the next 12-24 hours.
Here’s where it turned dicey for me. I added, “You’re lucky you have a wife who can predict weather for you even though she’s only 43. Most husbands have to wait until their wives are really old for that!”
Robert: Yes, it’s really helpful…but you’re 44.
Me (confidently): No, honey. I’m only 43. I’m not going to be 44 until April.
Robert (wearing a confused expression which indicated he wasn’t sure if I was serious or not—a look I’ve seen many times in our 18 year marriage): Lisa, you’re 44. You’ll be 45 on your next birthday.
Okay…what the hell was going on here? I DO NOT have a thing about age, but this was starting to really tick me off. Plus, by this time he was wearing a stupid bemused grin and looking like he was about to laugh. I’d had enough. I began ticking off the decades on my fingers.
Me: Okay, I was born in 1968 so…’78…’88…’98…2008 (that’s 40 so I began ticking off single years)….2009, 2010, 2011, OH MY GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING?????
At this point, I was starting to feel distressed. Robert had a point that the math was working out to make it *seem* like I was 44, but I wasn’t falling for that. I mean, you can use statistics to prove any point you want and THAT is math. So, I turned to Lucy in the back seat. She had her headphones on listening to JB (that’s Justin Bieber for the uninitiated) and hadn’t heard a word we’d been saying.
Me: Lucy, how old am I?
Lucy: Um…you’re 44.
This was getting serious. I was 43, and I KNEW it. Robert probably caught her eye in the rear view mirror and mouthed that answer to her. Lucy loves a good joke. So I did the most logical thing I could think of next. I pulled out my phone and called Ashley. She’d never try to trick me into believing I was a year older than I was. She had my back. I was 100% certain of this.
Ashley: Aren’t you supposed to be at the football game?
Me: We’re almost there. I have a quick question. How old am I?
Ashley (without a moment of hesitation): You’re 44.
Me: OMG…WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THIS BEFORE?
Ashley: Oh, um….because I thought you knew?
Well, that did it. I was definitely 44. FORTY FOUR. Now I have nothing against 44. It’s not a bad age at all. It’s just that I was 43 only a few minutes ago, and now I’m suddenly a whole year older, and it isn’t even my birthday. That’s just HARSH.
As I sat in the bleachers I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Just a few hours ago I was 43 which is practically the same thing as being 40. You’re just barely scratching the surface of your 40s, after all. But now suddenly I was going to be 45 on my next birthday which is practically like being 50. That’s almost old enough to get yourself on the AARP mailing list. So, despite the fact that age doesn’t mean a thing to me, I thought about it all the way home, too. I could hardly even concentrate on my reality TV shows that evening after the kids went to bed. Was I was one of those people who got upset about aging now?
I was still feeling a little out of sorts about the whole thing when I got on the elliptical machine the next morning. I dutifully pressed the start button and waited for the prompts. (You know, the elliptical asks you questions so it can calculate your perfect heart rate and keep you working out in the aerobic zone).
THEN THE BEST THING HAPPENED!!
My elliptical asked me for my age…just like it always does.
Suddenly, I felt my spirits lift. YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS, DON’T YOU? All this time I’d been entering 43 for my age and my elliptical had been dutifully calculating and keeping me working out so my heart rate would be in the right range for a 43 year old. BUT I AM 44!!!! A 44 year old heart shouldn’t be working out to the exhausting standards of a 43 year old heart! You guys, I’ve been totally overworking myself!!! I need to be taking it down a notch! SCORE! This was just the incentive boost I needed to embrace my non-birthday related advancing age.
I’m 44. It turns out I’m *totally* fine with that after all!