(I’m not sure why I chose that as my title. It’s true, I did go through a serious Jimmy Buffet phase, but that ended – thankfully – in my late twenties. Come Monday, I’ll probably regret using it. But for now, that title is here. I wish it were beautiful, but whatever. Some people claim that there’s a forty-year-old woman to blame, but I know it’s Tom Brady’s fault. Okay, I’m done now.)
Now that the dust has settled a bit and my Over the Hill balloons have deflated like a couple of body parts I won’t mention here, I’ve finally taken the time to reflect on my 40th birthday. In all honesty, it kind of snuck up on me. Last November we got an invitation for a high school friend’s 40th birthday bash, and Mike got a panicked look in his eyes. He realized my birthday was approaching quickly, and feared that he might already be months behind on planning some kind of epic event to celebrate.
That became the question of the moment – What are you going to do for your 40th? Vegas was brought up as an option, but that’s so not me. The Colts had a home playoff game, which was tempting, but not very social. Others suggested I needed a big and fancy gift, specifically of the jewelry kind. Nice, but for a girl who chooses a simple silver band over her wedding diamond every day, not necessary.
In the end I decided I just wanted to drink beer with some of my favorite people. And Mike made that happen for me. We met about 25 friends and family at the pub down the street. We had the back room all to ourselves. My dear neighbors helped Mike decorate, and it was perfect. The room was filled with blue and white. There was a Colts cake.
And how well do they know me? My birthday party had a hashtag, y’all.
The party moved from the pub to our house. I stayed up way too late, had one too many beers, and laughed so hard my cheeks still hurt the next day. In a nutshell, a perfect way to usher in a new decade.
Granted, I am only 40 and 11 days old, but it does not bother me in the least. It’s better than the alternative, after all. I’m not even close to the person my 20 and 30-year-old self imagined a 40-year-old Angie to be, but that’s okay.
I do not have the career (hell, I don’t even have a career!) I imagined. But (most) days I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to stay at home with my kids. Taking care of my home and family brings me great joy and satisfaction. Isn’t that what we all want to say about our chosen line of work?
I do not have the perfect marriage. But I have been married to the same person for almost 18 years, and that’s something to be proud of. We struggle, like so many others, to keep the spark alive, to treat each other with kindness, to readjust as we grow and change and age. And yet, Mike is still my favorite person to see, first thing in the morning (Theoretically. I’m still dead to the world when he leaves for work.) and last thing at night. He’s the first person I want to talk to, whether I have the greatest news in the world or need to vent. I’m incredibly thankful that I have someone worth fighting for.
I am not the mother I thought I would be. This parenting gig is so much harder than I ever could’ve imagined. I am constantly getting it wrong. My kids eat too much junk. Sometimes (okay, lots of times) I yell. I am impatient between the hours of 8 and 9 pm, when I should be doling out hugs and stories. I say no a lot. Still, my kids love me and give me ample opportunities to do better. If I accomplish nothing else in this life but love and mother these kids the best I can, that will be more than enough.
I could go on and on. I can’t pick paint colors or window treatments to save my life. I am far jigglier that I ever thought I would let myself get. I want to love these wrinkles and grey hairs, but my vanity gets in the way. I covet other people’s possessions and successes. I don’t floss regularly. I will never understand euchre, no matter how many times you explain it to me. I hold grudges and require gold stars to feel validated. In short, I am a hot mess.
But I am a satisfied hot mess. Because I am alive. Because I have family and friends that love me as I am, just as I love them. Because I made it here in one piece. Because it just means I have more and better stories to tell. That’s how this girl looks at forty.