The failing eyesight has proven to be the biggest problem so far. I'm having the hardest time shaving my legs, because I can no longer see the hair, and wind up missing big patches. I've resorted to the "feel as I go" method, which is depressing, because now I realize I should've been moisturizing my legs along with my neck all of these years. The good news is, if they ever need a stand-in for Godzilla's legs, I'm a shoo-in.
Trying to lose weight has been a lot of fun, too. I keep hearing my friend Helen in my head. "Wait until you turn 40," she always said to me, when I was merrily clueless in my 30s. "It's soooo hard to lose weight after 40." What Helen should have said was "you can eat all of the carrots, cucumbers, and green beans you want. Once you turn 40, even the thought of a Double Stuf Oreo will cause the scale to jump three pounds." The good news is, most of the over-40 clothes that I like at J.C. Penney are roomy throughout the waist and hip area. I'm sure these loose, sensible blouses make me look pregnant . . . though nobody's asked me lately when I'm due. I'm not sure if I should be thankful or depressed about that!
It's not just my body that's giving in to middle age. It's my mind, too. I guess it's okay that I can't read anything anymore unless I take my glasses off, because when I open People magazine, I don't know who anybody is in there that they're talking about. When I was at my optometrist's office recently, I was so excited to find a magazine with someone I recognized on the cover. There was Gloria Estefan, looking smoking' hot . . . on the cover of AARP magazine.
Ditto for today's music. I can't stand most of it (though I love Pink. She's good. I'll have to ask my 13-year-old nephew if she's "cool" or if she's singing "old people music.") I find myself tuning in to the 'lite' station, because they play 80s music all weekend. I am happy to report that Boy George, George Michael, and none of the members of Duran Duran qualify for AARP membership yet. I'm using that little fact to reassure myself that they are still young and hip, like me.
There are some perks to being over 40, however. Nobody makes fun of me when I wear a belly bag. (My sister and I go walking a lot, and I need something to carry my keys and phone in. It's a fashion statement, really.) I think they assume it's expected at my age. Also, I can play old arcade games like Pac-Man and Pitfall against my nephews and still beat them occasionally. That's right: we were the generation that test-drove those mindless games you young 'uns are playing on your iPods today! And I have no problem marching into a dressing room and trying on a bathing suit while wearing knee highs. Something like that would've mortified me ten years ago. Now, I'm just happy that the knee highs are hiding that huge swatch of hair that I missed on the back of my ankle while shaving.
Also, sometimes when I go to Shop Rite on Senior Citizen Tuesday, they give me the senior discount by accident. Normally, that would make me cry, but I'm big on saving money, so I don't complain. (Ten percent off! That's nothing to sneeze at.)
Probably the most reassuring thing about turning 40 is going on Facebook. There, I can see what all my high school friends are up to these days. It usually cheers me up, because every day I see all of them turning 40, too.