My life in my 40's
What I’ve learned from being in my 40’s is that it’s been a pretty amazing journey. I never would have thought that -prior to this stage in my life- but it’s taken me over forty years to truly be comfortable with myself (body, mind and spirit…well, mind and spirit at least!) and the biggest life lesson I’ve learned is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’ve learned that I am my mother and in my case, that’s not such a bad thing after all.
My mom wasn’t the typical mom and was very much a free spirit. We always had a volatile relationship but it was filled with love. My mom died 10 years ago while I was in my 30’s and although we were close (as close as two battling, opinionated females can be) we had so many differences in opinions which kept us constantly bickering about the most mundane issues. She drove me crazy and I did my best to return the favor and I remember many times when I swore to myself that I would never be like her. She was extravagant and lived her life like an old Hollywood starlet. I was basically a wall flower and kept to myself a lot. She wore way too much makeup (she would wear two false eyelashes per eye!) while I favored the natural look w/little to no make up which drove her mad. She would often times tell me to put some lipstick on because I was "no natural beauty." She had long, manicured nails (she would say, so she didn’t have to do housework) and I would bite my nails. She wore diamond rings and gold necklaces while I only wore and cherished my wedding band.
There were so many times I was embarrassed by her gaudiness and outspoken nature. Eating out with her was always a challenge and I’m sure the wait staff made certain that she (and anyone at her table) often ate more than what was ordered (anyone seen the movie, “Waiting”?) If she needed a refill of coffee, instead of waiting (no pun intended) for the waitstaff to come to our table, she would pick up her glass or cup and bang it loudly with a fork or spoon which could be heard all over the restaurant! Oh the horror, as everyone in the restaurant would stop what they were doing and stare towards our direction! Often times during situations like that, I would tell her how rude she was and she would say she wasn’t being rude, she was simply being honest and people don’t like honesty. She told me I would understand one day.
Now that she’s no longer here, I long for her honesty, her gaudiness, just seeing her and wondering what she’s going to say or do next. I understand now that she was just being herself - a strong, outspoken, beautiful woman- which many people (including myself at the time) found intimidating. As I have gotten older, I hear myself making comments that sound eerily like my mom. I’m a mother of a teenage daughter who constantly bickers with me and tells me that I’m too opinionated and judgemental and my response is (with a chuckle) that I’m just being honest and she’ll understand one day. I’ll get the usual eyes rolling which reminds me of me at her age. It’s so wild to think that I have become my mom, minus the flash and rudeness. It gives me a sense of calmness and I feel that part of her soul is always within me.
I’ve also learned that getting older is not a punishment, but a reward. The reward is learning who you really are. I’m no longer afraid to “rock the boat” and speak up for myself as I was when I was younger. I don’t go to the extreme of banging a glass or cup with a utensil for attention, but if I feel I’m being ignored, I’ve learned to speak up and not settle for less. I do have opinions and speak freely of them and don’t care what others think of me anymore which has freed me from so many self made insecurities. As each year goes by, I feel more confident in myself and know that I'm a great person, mother, wife and friend. The jury may still be out with my husband, but I know he has a great wife! My 40’s have been life changing and I feel that I have evolved and continue to evolve into the woman I was meant to be and for that I am thankful to my momma who helped me understand. I hope I do the same for my daughters one day.
Happy Mothers Day, momma! I miss you desperately.