For my mother, turning 30 was the age she dreaded. For years after her 29th birthday she would claim to be 29 and holding. I remember shortly before my own 30th birthday I asked her, “Am I going to be older than you when I turn 30?” I wasn’t sure how she was going to pull that one off. She replied, “Only if you’re dumb enough to tell people you’re 30.” She might still be telling people she’s 29.
I, on the other hand, never dreaded turning 30; I didn’t mind it at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say I was eager for my 30s. I can’t complain about them. I looked younger than my age so I enjoyed the shock on people’s faces when I would mention being 30 or older. Even now, if asked, I would say that my 30s were probably my best decade so far. I don’t know why exactly; after all, I was married to CF. Alright, that’s harsh (harsh, but true, am I right?). The fact is I entered my 30s married (no more playing the dating game) and owning my own home. I had my babies when I was 31 and 33. Financially things were going pretty well. I turned 30 in Mississippi and had a great group of friends. I moved to Michigan right before I turned 32, and found another good group. I started going to church and I got involved there. I got involved at Rock Star’s school. I participated in MOPS. At 37 I moved to Utah where I again found a tribe to call my own and got heavily involved in the community.
Looking back I think that my 20s weren’t awful but that time of life was more about finding yourself. I was still finishing up college, and then looking for a job. I had been single since my sophomore year of college so I was still looking for a boyfriend. I found CF and got married, which, I suppose at the time was a good thing in my mind. In your 20s you’re still getting your feet wet, trying out this whole “adult life” thing. By your 30s, hopefully you have it a little more together. Plus, I was trying to have a baby in my 20s. Let me tell you, trying to get pregnant month after month only to get your period, and then turning around and miscarrying after you finally get pregnant after almost a year of trying, while everyone else around you seems to be able to pop babies out without a care in the world can make you crazy. I spent many, many days bawling and praying for a baby. I tried to cry in the shower so CF wouldn’t know I was upset but I remember him coming into the bathroom one time and asking me if I was ok. Apparently I wasn’t as quiet with my crying as I thought and he could hear me sobbing over the water all the way into the living room. This was all over getting my damn period. I remember another day sobbing and sinking down a wall, thinking to myself, “I can literally see my sanity slipping away.” I wanted a baby badly! And my 20s did not pay off!
No, my 30s were fine. They were welcomed and they were enjoyed. For me it was turning 40. There was just something about that birthday. I don’t know why. I had never been one of those people who fought aging. I turned 40 kicking and screaming. Holy crap! I remember thinking to myself, “You know, you’re going to look back when you turn 50 and you’re going to say, ‘Forty wasn’t that bad. I wish I were turning 40 again.’”
I don’t really think I’m going to say that. Mainly because for whatever reason turning 50 doesn’t really bother me all that much. Probably also because my 40s sucked. Maybe that’s why I was kicking and screaming so hard. I just knew instinctively what was coming. My 40s were just one long shit show basically.
Let’s review. First of all, nothing special was done for my 40th birthday. My best friend flew out to surprise me but that was all her doing and not CF doing it for me. I don’t want to hold a grudge, but I’m just saying… I did try a Shamrock shake for the first time in my life. Delicious. Plus, I had a wonderful time going to gymnastics meets out of state with Rock Star. Those are pretty much the only positives in my 40s.
In 2013 I was 44, so not quite halfway through my 40s. I found out my husband was screwing around on me with his cousin. His cousin of all people! And I basically spent from 2013 until 2017 just living out a nightmare. 2013 I found out he was texting the whore. Later on I found out he had lied about cutting it off and ending it. He was still texting her. I was sure I was headed for a divorce. Shortly thereafter I ended up having to move. I left my beloved Utah. I left my friends behind. I left everything- PTA, volunteering, Bunco. I left behind being a gym mom and being a hockey mom. I left all of those things. My whole life was there.
And then we moved to Virginia. I had all the material things I had ever wanted in my life. We had a game room going on downstairs- we had a foosball table, darts, pool table, air hockey table. We finally got a pool. But it was rough. I didn’t really have any friends. I had all these wonderful contraptions. I had this beautiful home. I had it decorated so nicely. And yet I didn’t have any friends for the most part. I didn’t have people to come over and hang out and socialize. I couldn’t offer to have anybody come over to my pool. Number one, it wasn’t finished until August and number two, because asshole was discovered 6 days after it was put in. So 2014 and part of 2015 was spent dealing with the move and that huge loss. And then 2015 was also spent dealing with CF acting crazy and winding up in a psych ward. If that wasn’t enough I got to deal with the fact my husband was having an affair and I was heading for divorce court. My kids and I had just made a huge cross country move and this was the end result. I was 46 years old. I hadn’t worked outside of the home since 1998. Then in 2016 he loses his job and I’m forced out of my house. I was 47 years old.
Really, that whole period of time from the moment I found out what he was up to until June was one hard knock after another. Oh hey, he cashed in the rest of his stock and put it into a joint checking account with the whore! Oh hey he’s taken out a loan on his 401k. Oh hey he’s bought her an engagement ring. Oh hey! Guess what? Now he’s moved out of the damn house AND he’s quit his job AND he’s moved back to Kentucky! Wow! It was knock upon knock upon knock. Then of course there was the final knock where he lets me know he’s lost his job and he won’t be sending anymore money. And the kids and I were forced to sell off what we could, leave behind the rest, and move in with my mom 600 miles away.
Then I spent several months trying to find a job; of course no one wants to hire me because, “Hey, you haven’t worked in 15 years!” I finally get a job and I’m going into work at 4 in the morning and I’m making $11/hour and it’s not a full-time job so I’m still looking for one of those. Then it gets closer to Christmas and I’m going in at 2 in the morning, 3 in the morning. Then I have another part time job and I’m working all the time. 16 hour days. Getting up at 1:30 or 2:30 in the morning. Going into work, working until almost noon, and then turning around and working until 6 or 8 depending upon what time I had to go back into Target. Then I finally get a full time job and I start that in January and I’m working both jobs because I can’t afford to quit. Working that second job, getting up at 3:30 in the morning, meant my kids didn’t have to choose between eating or wiping their ass. I couldn’t buy new shoes for them if they were to outgrow their shoes; I couldn’t buy my daughter new clothes for no reason. But I could buy toilet paper and milk. So that was nice.
My 48th birthday was one of the most depressing days of my life. I cried and cried and didn’t want to celebrate it all. I still remember thinking as I climbed in my car at 3:45 in the morning, “I can’t believe this is my life. It sucks so hard. I can hardly wait until I die.”
It wasn’t until later on that things started to get a little easier. Eventually I got my back support. That definitely helped because I could breathe a little easier. Plus, I was able to give up my second job.
And then my 40s ended up being a wonderful time for me because I met the mobster. I was given the most wonderful gift in the world. I was 48 years old when I met him so I was almost at the end of my 40s. Side note: God bless that man; he told me the first time we talked he thought I was around 35. I love him so much! I’ve had 2 good years out of my 40s. Okay, I guess we could say the first 3-4 years of my 40s weren’t so bad, and these last 2 weren’t bad. But what I went through from 2013 through most of 2017 really colored it all. So I’m not dreading 50.
I had a great-grandmother who lived to be 103, a great grandfather who lived to be 98 and a grandmother who lived to be 92 or 93. I’m banking on 105 for myself, so it’s not like I go, “Over half my life’s gone,” because I think I’ve got easily another 50 years. I’m hoping to God that this 50 is a hell of a lot better than the first 50. There’s been a lot of crappy stuff. A lot of good stuff but a lot of crappy stuff. I’m not dreading 50. I think, too, there’s this certain, “I’m old and this is kind of liberating and freeing. I don’t have to worry about what people think. I don’t have to put up with a lot of bullshit. I can always go back to ‘I’m old’” state of mind. But I don’t feel old.
I remember watching an episode of Hot In Cleveland. I think one of the main characters was talking about growing older; they asked Betty White’s character, Elka, how it felt to be her age. Elka replied that she still felt like the same person. She didn’t feel old; she felt the way she always had.
That describes me perfectly. I know I’m almost 50. I know that’s considered <gasp> middle-aged. Nonetheless, I still feel like I’m in my 20s (or maybe my 30s). I don’t think anyone who saw me would say, “Oh yes, she definitely looks 50!” There are a few more creaks in my joints. There are a few more wrinkles on my face. Plus, I’ve got that farting thing going on (which seems to be clearing up, btw). Aside from that, I sometimes have to remind myself how old I really am.
Sadly, the final thing that makes me not dread my 50s, and rather embrace them is my class has lost more than a few classmates. We recently lost someone in December. It wasn’t someone I hung around with but I knew who she was. I am speculating but from what I’ve read it appears she took her own life. Not too long ago someone posted a picture of her and another classmate. It was from sometime in high school. They were young, probably 18, had the world by the tail. Life was full of possibilities. The caption read, “… We lost M 10 years ago today and K merely weeks ago. Both way too soon, but they left us a full lifetime of beautiful memories. Thank you both for all of the unbelievably fun times!” It was jarring seeing those two, so young and full of potential, happy and carefree, and realizing that both of them were gone before they had reached 50.
Another classmate commented, “… As the class of ’87 turns 50 it’s easy to complain about aging, but it’s always better than the alternative. This post reminded me that not everyone has the privilege of growing old so we should be thankful for every day we have.”
I threw the mobster a surprise 50th birthday party. I intentionally picked a positive theme. I didn’t buy him gifts to pick on his age. Instead I gave him 50 gifts to celebrate his 50 years. Some of those things were a little silly, like the bowl of noodles I gave him. The Chinese eat noodles on their birthday and they believe that the long noodles represent a long life. I gave him a little set of rocks with inspirational words on them, like “Peace”, “Love, “Hope” and so forth. I put a little sign in it that said, “50 rocks!” I bought him a mug that said something to the effect of, “It’s taken me 50 years to look this good!” and a bottle of hot sauce with a note tied around the neck of it, declaring, “Still hot at 50!” I gave him a jar of Hershey kisses and put a label on it that said, “Kiss your 40s goodbye!”, and a jar of suckers with a sign that said, “I’m turning 50 and I don’t give a lick!” The original idea found suggested, “50 sucks!” or whatever older age the person may be celebrating, but I wanted positive. I wanted a celebration. His cups and plates all proclaimed him to be a “vintage dude”. There were no “Over the Hill” or Grim Reaper jokes.
As I was looking for ideas for him I saw party themes for women as well. I liked the ones that said, “I make 50 look good!” or “50 and Fabulous,” or even “Aged to Perfection.” I saw another one that said, “50 & Young AF,” which I appreciated, along with, “It should be against the law to look this good at 50!” But the one I loved the most was the one that said, “I’m 50, bitches!” That about sums it up for me. Next month I’m putting my 40s behind me. My kids are nearly grown. I have a fabulous new partner who loves me for me. I’m back in the workforce again. Let’s see what this new decade brings. Bring it on! I am ready!