Biggest Misconceptions of Turning 40

40th bday with my greatest life long friends!

40th bday with my greatest life long friends!

Remember when you were a kid and thought about becoming a grown up? We believed certain things would be true: People will be nicer. Bullies will stop bullying. Money will be easily accessible. You will become totally confident and won’t care what people think. Now that we are all adults, we know that this is all bullshit.

People don’t become nicer. Jerks stay jerks. They might even grow up to be bigger jerks. At least in school, they could only ruin your day. Now, they can destroy career, become your boss or coach your kids tee ball team. Hereby, ruining any chance your kid had at liking sports. The mean girls of the suburban moms can stop you from meeting new friends or have too much of a say in who calls your kid for a play date. They ruled the school and now they rule the community. I think they still wear pink on Wednesdays.

Grown-up bullies are the worst. The mean girl in my office once told a co-worker that she wouldn’t hang out with them anymore if they stayed friends with me. True story. Can you imagine? What’s worse is the co-worker listened and stopped hanging out with me. They even thought it totally reasonable to explain the situation to me, as if by knowing the truth behind their sudden departure, I would somehow hurt less. Needless to say, that plan didn’t quite work. Sometimes, ignorance IS bliss. I know people like to say it’s jealousy, but I don’t believe that to be true. Some people are just assholes. They don’t need a reason. In fact, maybe as parents we need to change how we teach kids to handle bullies. Maybe, we just need to prepare them for the truth. “Some people are assholes, and you will have to deal with them every day for the rest of your life.” If anybody wants to help me start that campaign…call me.

And what about that misconception of financial stability. Did my parents struggle like this? If they did, I never knew. I assumed that if you worked hard, you then lived comfortably. When does that “comfortably” part kick in? Do we all worry so much? Maybe that’s the biggest shock of adulthood: so much worry.

Also, I’m still waiting for that grown-up confidence to kick in. You know, that confidence you read about in every woman’s mag, that states women over 40 stop caring what other people think? That is such crap. Of course, we still care about what other people think. It might be less extreme, I mean I’m not succumbing to peer pressure at 40, but I sure do hate being blatantly whispered about. Or left out of an office gathering. Or seeing that my friends are all hanging out without me. Or having someone sneer at my outfit. That all sucks! Who are we kidding….it hurt at 16 and it still hurts today.

The good news is we do gain a certain power as we grow up: the power to weed out the bullshit. Learn to spot the mean ones and do your best to ignore and avoid. They do still get under your skin, and even hurt your feelings, however, we can choose to be surrounded by love and true friendship,instead of the insecurities of fake people. That’s a powerful choice. The picture above shows my best friends from kindergarten and middle school. The great ones are out there and they are to be cherished. I love these fantastic ladies with all my heart and love that we have chosen each other as forever friends!

Would it have turning 40 easier to know that the cliques and mean girls never go away; that they just become co-workers and fellow soccer moms? I’m not sure. I do think my “people are just assholes” campaign is brilliant and might be the way to prepare our kids for the future!

In defense of turning 40 and finding a love for cats…

I know…I’m a total cliche. I’m a single 40 yr old woman and I have 2 cats. 2 adorable cats. Not your average mean, passive aggressive cats, but 2 sweet, cuddly cats. I can sense the look of disgust coming from my 30 yr old cousin as I write this. (hey Riss 🙂

The thing is, I never really loved pets. Other people’s pets always grossed me out. (I’m also not fan of other people’s kids…more on that another day.) I tried to bring a puppy home for my oldest son to love and bond with, but it never took. My son didn’t get attached and the puppy was kind of an a-hole, and I really didn’t have the time. Maybe, I was the a-hole. Bygones.

Not loving your pets made me feel like a really bad person. Clearly, I was the one with the problem. Everybody else seemed to LOVE pets. I wanted to feel that bond too, but I just couldn’t. So, I just shut down completely when they would get near me. The unconditional love and neediness that they exuded crippled me. Actually, this is still what I do when I date a guy longer than 3 months and he wants to get close emotionally. hmmmmm

Fast forward 10 years and my second son was ready for a pet. He LOVES them all…just like you all do. Full on love. Effortless and unconditional. He totally deserved that love back from a pet; however, no way in hell was another a-hole dog getting into my house. So, we started cat shopping. This is when I found Larry. A 10 yr old tuxedo cat with vampire-like yellow eyes. He looked very cool. Also; “Larry”. It took the agency 20 min to remember they had him solitary because he was eating all of the other cat’s food. ha! No-brainer. BOX that cat up!

We brought him home and he immediately took. He is a 20lb monster and really cuddly. Also; “Larry”.

larry buddha

I am not sure that I realized until this very moment how my fear of commitment to pets was so connected to my fear of commitment with men. Maybe now that I have overcome that fear of unconditional pet love, I can try to date somebody longer than 3 months…..stay tuned.

weekend in chicago

So, I spent the weekend celebrating my cousins 30th bday. I was the old lady (42) with a gaggle of 25-30 yr olds and oh boy, was it enlightening. These millennials spend a lot of time on self-reflection. I mean, A LOT OF TIME. At first, I as all “they are sooo ridiculous” but then I thought, “OMG, is this why my life is so stagnant?” I don’t self-reflect???!!! I mean EVER! I survive… I raise 2 kids all by myself, I go to a shitty job every day. I come home and help with homework, take care of my house and watch tv. Is this not what I should be doing?

At one point they all turned to me and asked what have I learned as a woman so far at 40. I wanted to curl up under my chair and die. I didn’t have an answer….

Today, begins my journey to find that answer. I welcome you to join me on my self-reflection ride.