Last night I had a dream that I was a super model. (I know, stop laughing). I was sitting in a chair being all made up and I was loving it. The reflection that starred back at me was not my own but a mixture of the images I have seen a thousand times, on the pages of magazines that I have glanced at over the years. She was beautiful, no crow’s feet or furrow marks or sun spots. Honey blonde hair that was perfectly tasseled (something that I can never manage even with some effort) and without a grey hair in sight. This image before me had the ability to change her expression; to be sexy or surprised or pouty in a flash. As I watched her rise from the chair, I saw a taught, flat stomach, legs that were longer than I am tall (without one ounce of cellulite) and her thighs did not come close to touching.
I lingered in my dream for a few moments, knowing it was coming to an end. My mind was telling me that it was time to snap out of this and get on with the making of breakfast and lunches and beds. There were children to be dressed (perhaps without an argument) and carpools to be driven.
In the quiet of the early morning, over my steaming cup of hazelnut coffee, I paused to think about the image that filled my dream that morning. She was beautiful and quite perfect in every way. The vain part of me was a bit jealous of this mirage, selfishly wishing that I could be a bit smoother, slightly leaner and don’t even get me started on the thighs…. But all in all, I had to say I was pretty happy with the way I was. Ten years ago I would have been horrified at my almost 40 self. At that time I was still a bit selfish (aka- I was pre-children) and was able to focus more on the physical attributes that I thought were so important.
Fast forward ten years, so much has changed. Three children put a lot in perspective. I don’t have time for worrying about my ever changing body because I am focused on their ever growing ones. My crow’s feet remind me of the laughter that they have brought into my life. My not-so-taught stomach reminds me of the amazing miracles that occurred inside my body. The grey hair, I have earned them and it gets dyed anyway so I have that covered. Then there’s the thighs but that is a whole different article.
So much happens in the ten years between thirty and forty. You know yourself much better and you find (at least I did) that it’s not about how people look and what they wear but what they do and who they are (yes, I have officially become my mother). In my late twenties and early thirties I was consumed about people’s perception of me, who I was, how I looked. Now, almost forty self is saying, “This is who I am. I am not changing to make you like me, you either do or you don’t and I can live with that.”
It was so freeing to get to this point in my life, to focus on what matters instead of how I am perceived. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT that “rage against the machine” type of person, telling the whole world they can go to (you know) if they don’t like me. It just is what it is. Not everyone is going to think I am fabulous and that’s ok.
The 40 milestone has forced me to take risks that I would have never taken ten years ago. My dream has always been to be a writer and now I am taking the steps to achieve that dream. I know that there will be critic’s (there always are) so I will listen (and in some cases not) and move on. Such a difference from my thirty something self.
So, as I celebrate this milestone in a few months, I will not dread the 4-0 but embrace it. I have worked extremely hard to get here and I am not going to let a number (or a wrinkle) define me. I look forward to what the next forty years will bring, especially if I can do something about these thighs.