Lordy, lordy looks who’s 40
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Forty. They say it’s just a number.
“They” are the people 40 and older, who know this age milestone isn’t really as bad as it’s made out to be. They say it’s an exciting time, having four decades of life experience under the belt. And I believe them.
I’m just three days away, and I already feel wiser.
Technically, our age is just an accumulation of seconds, hours, days, months and years that total one or two digits. Age really is just a number we use to gauge life expectancy and the rate at which our physical bodies advance toward expiration.
It is in our minds where we can stay forever young, or old, depending how one approaches life. Like my 86-year-old grandfather, who can still drive a bus and crack jokes, even when on his worst days. Or my dad who, at 60, is famous for his practical jokes and the way he loves to tease people.
Trust me, I have the best role models for staying forever young.
There is a lot to be said about the last decade of my life, my 30s. I moved to a state a thousand miles away from where I was raised. I became a stand-up comedian. I found my first love, then lost him again. I saw the Grand Canyon not once, but twice. I hiked up a mountain and skied down it by moonlight. I applied for, and received, my first passport. I ate a fried grasshopper.
They are tasty little fellers, believe it or not.
My 30s were filled with adventure and mistakes. Fear and success. I attempted feats like whitewater rafting in high water during spring run-off when I have a deep-seated fear of drowning after a mishap in a Florida pool when I was 6. I’ve told jokes in front of audiences that sometimes laugh and sometimes don’t.
Luckily they laugh more often than not.
For these reasons that have made me stronger, and other times weaker, I feel like I can go into my 40s with not much fear. I would never say I’m going into this new phase in life with no fear because I would be flat-out lying. There are many things I fear.
I am human, after all.
I fear aging just as much as the next girl. Wrinkles are as annoying as nails across a chalkboard, but they are a part of life. Unless I really want to inject my face with botulism, my wrinkles aren’t going anywhere. Sure, I might smooth them a little with the magic of age-defying make-up, but you won’t see me with an expressionless face. I will wear my wrinkles and laugh lines like war paint, heading into a battle I likely won’t win.
But at least I’ll look wise doing it.
Forty sounds weird coming off my tongue, but I think I’m already starting to get used to it. Maybe this number – because it is just a number, remember – is one of joy as people react to my age.
“You’re 40? Get out!” they will exclaim.
“You could pass for 30!” they will say.
“It’s only uphill from here,” I will reply.
I guess that depends on what I’m climbing. If it’s a mountain with my soulmate on top, then I’m up for the expedition. If there are a couple of smiling kids with freckles and a wit like Mel Brooks and Betty White, then sign me up for the ascent.
If everything I never imagined happened in my 30s, then I am probably in for a wild ride in my 40s.
Just as long as I look wise doing it.
April E. Clark is celebrating her 40th birthday in Aspen this weekend with her best friends in the world. Life couldn’t get much better. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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