The other day I was at the coffee shop, chatting the with gal at the register and she mentioned that her mom’s name is also Kara. I said that is so interesting because I haven’t met many people from our mom’s generation named Kara. The poor gal looked at me like I’d just grown three heads and very gently (too gently, in hindsight) said her mom is 42. You guys, I totally thought I was the barista’s age and we were all, I don’t know, jiving about our crazy moms and their names, but turns out I AM THE MOM IN THIS SCENARIO.
Yes, in six months I’m going to be 40. I thought I was okay with it (“I’m not the sort of person who worries about things like age”), but a recent panic attack and some tearful evenings have led me to believe it’s bothering me a little bit more than I’d like to admit.
I feel really gross admitting it’s bugging me. I have kickin’ kids who make me laugh, an awesome husband, family and friends that I get to see a lot and fill me up, and I live in a city with some of the best cinnamon rolls ever. Yes, I occasionally jump when I see myself in the mirror and there are days when I want to go back and shake my younger self for wasting so much time moaning about instead of actually working on her career (wait a minute…), but I have it very, very good.
I’ve had a bunch of people tell me the big secret about aging is you keep get older on the outside, but inside you’re still a 26-year old hottie who wears turbans ironically. For me, that’s what it is. I’m not ready to be the person who is supposed to remember to bring snacks on the road trip! (To be fair, if you know me well enough to road trip with me, you would know better than to expect me to remember something like snacks. That’s what gas stations are for.). I’m still the gal who gets to show up to Thanksgiving dinner with a bag of frozen corn because she doesn’t know how to cook, not the lady who’s supposed to make the turkey! (Again, to be fair, you would know better than to show up to Thanksgiving at my house expecting me to cook anything. You would know Chris is in charge of the turkey and I’m in charge of some game where we all have to perform different characters from the first Thanksgiving with accents and top hats so I’m actually not sure at all where I’m going with this…)
Actually I do know. In my early 30s I finally figured out who I enjoyed being – someone who was fun and optimistic, liked to laugh, did the occasional crazy thing, took time out of her life for friends and community, rocked high heels, and always had an adventure on the horizon. I am still all those things, but now they’re layered under getting people ready for the day, feeling grumpy with the world instead of open because I’m tired, spending my free time cleaning out the garage instead of helping others, all the responsibilities I associate with “being an adult.” When I get panicked about turning 40 it’s because I’m worried that gal is so buried she can’t find her way out or I can’t find my way back to her, which is ridiculous. That’s like saying you can’t find the bacon in the Cobb Salad because the lettuce is in the way. LOOK HARDER, KARA.
She is there, she just needs a light shone on her occasionally. So, I’m going to do what many 39 year olds who are doing their best to avoid the temptations of convertibles they can’t afford and questionable plastic surgery, and lighten the hell up. I’m going to coax my favorite gal out of hiding by attempting 40 things that seem in line with who I want to be more regularly, and, honestly, make me laugh. No “lose 20 pounds finally!” and “spring clean the house from top to bottom!”; I’ll save those for my 50th.
40 Things To Do Before 40
1. Dye my hair pink.
2. Shower and get dressed (in normal clothes with make-up) for a full week , which sounds like a lot of work, but I feel like I owe it to my neighbors to get out of sweatpants.
3. Start handing out homeless packs again.
4. Run a 10k.
5. Finally learn how to do my make up.
6. Buy a hat that flatters my face.
7. Decide if we’re having another baby because I could really use the space in our garage if we’re not.
8. Tell 20 people in my life how much I love them and why.
9. Stay out late (like past midnight late) partying.
10. See a double feature.
11. Teach my kids the Up With People clap so we can all sing it together and impress my friends at the reunion next year.
12. Go on a family vacation.
13. Have a food fight.
14. Have a month of where I actually post 2-3 times a week here on the blog.
15. Buy a service person a coffee.
16. Spend an afternoon reading a book, guilt-free.
17. Do a backbend.
18. Sing karaoke.
19. Catch up on thank you notes (finally).
20. Go on a segway tour.
21. Relearn all the words to “Rent” so when I meet up with my friend Susie I am prepared.
22. See a movie in the middle of the day.
23. Say something so funny Alice can’t stop laughing.
24. Say something so funny Chris can’t stop laughing, which is going to take a lot more work.
25. Donate a large sum of money to a non-profit.
26. Dress up and wander around the city for an afternoon.
27. Go dancing with Chris (or the whole family).
28. Go to a bouncy castle place or trampoline place and jump the stress out.
29. Eat a huge Ghiradelli sundae all by myself.
30. Decide where we’re living for the next several years.
31. Do something that I know I “shouldn’t.”
32. Catch up on Alice and Bennett’s books.
33. Whiten my teeth.
34. Find a place to volunteer.
35. Get dressed up and cheer on a sporting event.
36. Run up the hill by my house without stopping.
37. Have someone write a love song about me (I have someone specific in mind, but am open to offers).
38. Do one thing that really scares me.
39. Have a slumber party.
40. Give a gift to someone unexpected (I’m not sure who but imagine it will present itself).
What do you think? If you have a big birthday coming up are you with me?