Confessions of an old woman

Last year I became a 40-year-old.

I had promised myself that I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. Not the birthday itself, I love love love birthdays, especially my own. I love celebrating my birthday and I love getting presents and making a big deal about it. Every birthday is a reason to celebrate. It gives me a reason to be childlike with permission.

I mean that I wouldn’t make a big deal out of the milestone: turning 40. I didn’t want to be one of those women that made a big deal about getting older. I was certain that turning 40 was going to big no big deal and that the birthday was going to pass without a meltdown.

As I pass the one-year mark of this milestone I can safely announce two things:

I was right.
I was wrong.

The birthday itself passed without incident. I celebrated with friends and family members over a period of weeks. Lunches, dinners, and coffee breaks were punctuated by gifts, cards, and well wishes. I rolled along in a sugar-induced state of birthday euphoria for weeks. And there wasn’t a meltdown second in the whole thing.

But, over the last year, the “I’m old” feeling has crept up on my with increasing frequency. Putting aside the fact that I am bigger than I’ve ever been in my life, and don’t look like any of my headshots, and hate every single picture I see of myself… I’m obsessing over the lack of definition in my chin, the fact that my breasts are not perky, the laugh lines around my eyes, and the deep crease between my eyebrows.

I look at my wardrobe and wonder who bought these clothes. When did I start dressing like an old woman? What happened to the colors, the flashy accessories, the hats and flirty shoes that once filled my closet? When did I stop buying red and orange and bight blue? When did black and brown become mandatory items? When did shoes become sensible? When did I become the embodiment of “frumpy?”

I could list the many many things I keep stumbling over in my face and my body. I could write paragraphs about the gray hair that finally made an appearance, a good ten years after both my sisters started to gray. Or I could focus on how seldom I remember to put on makeup when I]m not in work mode. Etc., etc., etc. But the real thing that’s been bothering me is the change in my personality.

Once upon a time I would have gotten up on a Saturday morning and decided to drive to San Antonio for lunch. Once upon a time I was the type of person who stopped on the side of the road to take photos of the wildflowers. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have cared about blowing my savings on a new “toy” or spending this week’s grocery money on a new purse. Once upon a time I didn’t have to schedule going out, and I didn’t prefer to hibernate in my “cave” as a preferred method of unwinding at the end of a bad day.

In my work life I am progressive. I flatter myself that I don’t have any of these problems with decision-making at work, that I keep up-to-date and incorporate the newest techniques in communications. But then I know that I am no longer one of the newbies. If I started looking for a job today I would have a harder time because of my age, my experience (salary-range), and my size. It would be assumed that I am not as good at social media and online communications as someone… younger.

And so I obsess about my age. It’s gotten worse the further into my 40s I get. And words like hysterectomy, diverticulosis, and arthritis only make things worse.

I have decided, though, that if I can’t feel better about this then I am going to fake it. Eventually I am going to get over it. Really.

***** Written on my ipad. I promise to proof and edit it later. ******

It takes a village to raise my sister’s children

I’ve been on sick leave for weeks. I had a surgery that’s been planned for month and am recuperating under my mother’s watchful eye. I was on heavy painkillers for weeks, unable to take care of myself.

Slowly, I’ve been feeling better. I’ve gotten stronger. The pain has gone away. I am no longer on painkillers. I can go out, and, more importantly, I can drive. Last week I had my first post-operation outing without a member of my family.

I know, however, that to my youngest sister this process has taken longer than she anticipated. From the second or third week she’s inquired to my mother how long she intends to stay with me. She was somewhat baffled at the response that my mother intended to stay at my place until I returned to work.

It’s not that my sister is uncaring about my health, it’s just that if my mother is living at my place taking care of me she’s not living at my sister’s house and taking care of her son.

I am getting better because I am finally well enough to be asked to be chauffeur to my nephew. I don’t go back to work for a few more weeks, but am well enough to get around. I am well enough, in other words, to pull my weight.



I don’t have children. But I have sat through countless band performances, soccer games, choir recitals, and swim meets. I have sat through girl scout meetings, helped sell boxes of cookies, taken the troop caroling, and ensured that forms and dues were turned in on time. I have provided years of morning school drop-off duty — including picking up the snack of the day, making sure the kids had money, and often feeding them breakfast before the trip to school even began. I have gone on shopping trips for back-to-school clothes and supplies. I have taken sick children to the doctor’s office, picked them up earl from school, and taken them to work with me when other childcare options have failed. I have gone through orientation and background checks to get on the list of people allowed to access the kiddo’s private school. I have watched more animated and kids’ movies than I ever thought was possible.

Some of this required that I change work and personal plans. Some of this required that I write a check, participate in activities that had me suppressing yawns and sighs, and keep going long after I wanted to drop.

I am an involved aunt.

I have heard from some friends that this is not what happens in most families. But, what I’ve seen with my friends is that we all provide child-rearing support of some sort to our siblings, whether we have children ourselves or not. What that means for me is that I provide backup for my sisters. And I write that as I watch over my youngest nephew at my place. Did I mention that I’m feeling better?

***** Written on my ipad. I promise to proof and edit it later. ******

Recipes and food posts to bookmark: August 3rd list

Gente Today, an online magazine in Spanish, has a great post with recommended foods to help with your mood. Specifically, the article discusses foods high in seratonin to help combat depression. Recommended are dairy and eggs, the reduction of white flour products, increase in dried fruits, and avoiding alcohol. 

Vida y Salud, another Spanish resource, has a good post in their healthy breakfast recipes series. The one I liked was the for a brie omelette with herbs. Sounds yummy. 

The AARP site has an article on grilling vegetables that’s a good primer for those just trying this out. It gives instructions on types of vegetables, how to cut them and how to grill them. A good place to start.