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I chatted with a sweet gal recently who complained she was getting “old”.

She’s in her early 30’s.

While deep down inside I wanted to slap her, I knew it wasn’t her fault.

It’s not her fault if she doesn’t know what it’s like to be what my honest-to-goodness grandmother describes as “middle-aged” (upon seeing photos of me at 41).

It’s not her fault she doesn’t have back fat.

Or arm dangle.

Or a water-retention-pooch that looks like you’ve lodged a bag of marshmallows under spanx after skipping exercise two days in a row.

Man oh man how I wish I had the metabolism I used to have in my 20’s and 30’s. I had a strong core back then, before I even KNEW what the heck core was!

This recent encounter with a 30-something along with a few doses of over-the-counter cold medication (because I’ve been in bed with a bad head cold and haven’t worked out in two days) has forced me to realize the following mid-life-isms:

In your 20’s, you have the energy to do anything you want, but you can’t afford it.

In your 30’s, you have the energy to do just about anything, but you’re too busy working and building  up your career and starting a family to even bother.

When you turn 40, you find yourself. You have a Sally-Field-size-epiphany and realize you really like yourself. You really, really like yourself. And anyone who doesn’t can go take a hike.

After celebrating the big 4-0, you finally start philosophizing about doing some of the things you wanted to do when you were a youngin’. (Oh, I said it.)

Then somewhere between 41 and 45, the proverbial poop hits the fan.

Kids who were in diapers when Rachel and Ross kissed on Friends are constantly calling you “Ma’am”.

And it no longer bothers you.

Body parts start breaking down.

Hormones start going haywire.

Your neck strains too far after doing Downward Dog in the comfort of your own home.

You find yourself wanting the made-for-tv miracle age-defying products advertised at 2 a.m. (Because you’re up in the middle of the night anyway thanks to mid-life mommy insomnia.)

One more year of insomnia and you fear you may start looking just like Mrs. Havisham!

You do NOT want to look like Mrs. Havisham by 45 (although this was probably the least-wrinkly depiction of the Dickens’ Great Expectations character played by the always-gorgeous Anne Bancroft). Photo from ic.pics.livejournal.com

You’ve finally saved up enough money to do all the things you wished you’d done in your 30’s, but you barely have the time because you have kids. And work. And body parts that aren’t working the way they used to unless you exercise every 12 hours and consume enough raw juice to cause a variety of TMI- plumbing-related explosions.

Oh you have some good days.

But most of the time, you’re sucking in your marshmallows and trying your best not to come across as a middle-aged person who still dances like it’s 1999.

Then again, when I glance in the mirror (after letting out a “meh” because I still don’t recognize my own back side), I realize, “Maybe it’s not that bad.”

Believe it or not, I do appreciate being 44.

To think my dear friends in their 50’s and 60’s want to slap me. Because they think I’m young!

No, I do appreciate being 44.

And every little thing that comes along with it.

Every little thing.

From the lack of estrogen and eyebrow hair to the upturn in hormones and hot flashes.

I know that I often vent about the changes that come with being 44. And I may look a little older on Facebook this time next year. I can’t help it. I still feel like I’m that girl in her early 30’s on the inside.

But then again, I feel GLAD I don’t have to go back!

I guess it just goes to show that as we age, life somehow gets a little sweeter.

We grow. In many ways.

Yes, our hair may get a little whiter. Our hips may get a little wider.

But as my grandmother says, it also means we get a whole lot wiser. 😉