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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confident (07/05/07)

TITLE: Forty


I went shopping for shorts. I am 40. This was not a good idea. My 40-year-old body does not look nearly as good in shorts as the 25-year-old body I remember so well. Not only that, but the cute shorts will no longer fit my anatomy, my price range or my 40 year old persona.

I pity you poor twenty-somethings who read this. You are confident (as was I) that your genetic code and active lifestyle will save you from the misery I now experience on a daily basis as I wrestle with both my present reality and the buttoning of my jeans. However, I have news for you. You too shall hit the wall with jarring force.

You are only drinking from the well of denial. Some of you will only sip a while at this fount. Those, whose metabolisms begin to slow as you hit the third decade, will ease into the knowledge that things are going to be different from here on in. I can assure you that even if you still eat as you please with only the exercise that you enjoying doing at present, there will come a time when you will notice that your figure is morphing. You may try to assure yourself you that are blessed with the recessive gene of some unknown willowy ancestor in the foliage of your family tree. You are not.

Here it is. Eventually (and closer to 38 than 48), things will slow down dramatically, and one of those things will be your metabolism. Your hourglass figure will begin to resemble a pear shaped vase. The shorts you will be trying on will be shorts in name only. The ones that do not make you look like you are clinging to your youth, will reach for your knees and there will seldom be a need to zip up or button because they all sport drawstrings, elastic or both.

I am not saying this to make you lose hope for the future. It is just the way of things. In fact, I hasten to add that there are bonuses to reaching what is only the cusp of middle age. While we forty-somethings frequently bemoan the various ways that our bodies begin to betray us, there is a distinct upside as well.

Let me elaborate. When I turned forty, I felt I had finally arrived. It was similar to when I turned twenty-one and knew I was truly an adult. However, this time I feel like I really am turning into an adult. There are epiphanies that come with forty. For example, I know that I will never stop learning; I can stop taking myself so seriously, I can be myself.

People are past the point of expecting me to morph into something other than who I am. Furthermore, they are beginning to think I actually have something to offer. After forty years of living, they figure I must have something to draw on by now. Married 17 years, I proffer marriage advice and people rarely roll their eyes as if to say, “Just you wait.” I know something about raising kids, living with responsibilities and juggling more schedules than my own. I know how to get candle wax off fabric or carpet, how to get permanent marker off my counter tops and that ice on gum in hair does not really work, so you might as well get out the scissors.

There is more! I have seen God work and keep His promises. He has made changes in me that took a miracle. I have not morphed; rather, I am being transformed into who I was meant to be! I have learned to hope, persevere and trust.

I have also realized that, through diet and exercise, I can become more hourglass than pear again. I just need to keep at it. So, when you see me in the dressing room with shorts that go down to my knees, know it is not all bad. I know who I am. I continue to grow. Moreover, the distinguished intellectual with the salt and pepper hair waiting outside the dressing room is all mine. Forty is not bad all.

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This article has been read 542 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/13/07
Ha! The most confident women in the world are the ones over forty who are still willing to wear a swimsuit. Hey, 50 is my magic year! At 40 I still said, "Huh?!", at 50 I simply shrug and smile...:) Loved your article! (Especially the advice to the 20's girls).
Lynda Schultz 07/14/07
Great message that those of us over forty can relate to very well. Good work.
Jan Ackerson 07/15/07
Super voice, fun to read and with subtle, wry humor.
Joanne Sher 07/15/07
Fun voice, and delightful (by the way, I turn 40 in a few weeks - thanks for the tips!) :D
Kristen Hester07/18/07
Thank goodness capris are in. I quit shorts a few year ago and I am only 38. What you say here is so true. I am so much more relaxed then I was 10 years ago. I hate the crowsfeet, but I like myself more. Thanks for sharing this. Great job.
Ed VanDeMark07/18/07
You just made me grateful I've celebrated 66 birthdays. My dad still thinks I'm a kid. My kids think I'm old and my grandchildren are positive I'm a geezer. Thank you for the reverse psychology lesson, it's a great boost to my self image. I hope you don't mind a little advice from an ancient person concerning this fine story. Contractions would make your story even more readable. Good job definately a fun read.