I’m 40??!!

2014 started off with a bang…literally a big snowy one! At least it did for us in the Midwest. Therefore, myself and all my friends and neighbors have been on ‘lock-down’ or ‘snowed in’ due to the ridiculous amount of snow and ice blanketing our world outside. Being stuck in such a situation gives one too much time alone with your family and way too much time to think.

As I look around at these walls and the pictures hanging on them, I am utterly amazed. The visual tokens of years gone by, imagines of my children as babies, precious first steps, awkward grade schools photos with missing teeth or braces offering glittering smiles, and even graduations now litter every room. We even added photos of my son’s wedding this year. It seems impossible to me. How can I be forty? How can I be hold enough to have a child who’s already married, in the military and legally able to drink? I cannot be THAT old! I look over at my youngest daughter messing around on her laptop across the room from me and refuse to believe that she is now four inches taller than me and a junior in high school…not to mention her sister is graduating this year!

When did all this happen?

Yesterday I was scolding my son for playing demolition derby with his hot wheels in my garbage disposal while my girls helped a bottle of baby powder explode all over every possible surface in the bathroom. Those days were long, tiring and sadly are gone. Much like all of my friends, I have fallen into a new category in life and am trying to adjust.

My friends and I no longer get together for wild nights in the city, drinking heavily and dancing our cares away. Now we have lunches with occasional cocktails between appointments. We no longer discuss hot new bands or some guy we’d just met. Our conversations have turned to ‘Guess who just became a grandma?’ or the rare, ‘Guess who’s pregnant?’ or the all too frequent, ‘Guess who’s getting divorced’. It seemed in my twenties I spent every other weekend at a wedding for one of my friends, where everyone was happy, having babies, buying houses…building a life. We drank too much, stayed out too late and laughed it off the next day. I am so thankful today that no one had a cell phone camera back then to capture it all.

Today, we are no longer partying the night away or rushing the stage at a rock concert. We have traded in our stilettos and sport cars for stylish boots and SUV’s. It scares me to realize that we are not invincible like we all once thought. At twenty I thought; all the bad things in life won’t happen to me or my friends, but it has…I have lost several friends to cancer, close friends have lost parents, some have even suffered the agony of losing a child. I have learned that we are not immune to the ailments of life.

On my thirtieth birthday and my son, who was eleven at the time, told me I was old now. I smiled at him and said, “Really? You want to know the truth; I feel twelve years old most days, sixteen on a really good day.” He gave me the strangest look. Oh well, he’ll understand…one day not too far from now.

This last Christmas, my son and his wife talked about having kids and I was terrified. Yes, I think they are too young and immature to even think about having kids, but I didn’t say that. Instead, I told them they should focus on finishing college first and think about having children after my son returns from his deployment overseas. Then I playfully added that I’m not mature enough or responsible enough yet to be someone’s grandmother.

But the truth is I’m not. Grandmothers are old, they have wrinkles, and they knit for crying out loud. That’s not me…I partied backstage with Guns N Roses and Bon Jovi, I was in the front row at Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood tour…twice!, I shared a joint with Axl Rose…I’m NOT old! Then my daughter told me that Nikki Sixx turned fifty-five in December! WTH??!!

Now it’s my generation’s turn to step up to the plate and take over the game. We are running corporations, own successful businesses and inherited the PTA. We do car pools, business meetings, coach our children’s teams and spend our Saturday night’s catching up on laundry. We are no longer building our lives, we are living them. Our parents are retiring; some are moving south, others are moving in. The table has turned and now Generation X is up to bat, with Generation Y waiting impatiently on deck, hungry for their turn.

Personally, I have written six books, bought a house, raised three children, failed at one marriage and been extremely successful with the other. I have BS in psychology with a dual concentration in the psychobiology of addictions and clinical rehabilitation, coached both softball and basketball teams and I own my own business. I am proud of what I have accomplished and have worked hard for it. It hasn’t been easy and nothing has ever been handed to me.

Do I miss my twenties? Not really. Do I want to do it all again? Not so much. Yes, I do miss my children being young and hearing their voices echoing through the house. I miss the sound of their laughter, their giggles and tucking them in bed at night. But I love the ages they are now and couldn’t be prouder of the young adults they have grown into. Someday…hopefully another ten years from now, I will be a grandmother and I promise you I am going to spoil that baby rotten!

And for now I will continue living and loving the world I have created, both real and imaginary.