Dear Forties,

Hello. Hello. It’s me. I know things have been over between us for a few weeks, but I feel like there’s so much we left unsaid, and, I’ll just say it, I miss you. 

I know, I know, I know. You told me that I would. That as bad as things got towards the end, the next guy was going to be way worse. I didn’t listen. I’m stubborn, but you know that. You know me better than anyone at this point because the last ten years you helped me get to know myself. And I took you for granted, but in my defense, I was young. Oh, the irony!

But, let’s be honest you weren’t faultless in all of this. I had heard enough about you before we got together to know that you’d come after my vision, making menus impossible to read. I was warned that you would unapologetically strip my metabolism of its ability to burn calories efficiently. 

Oh, you were difficult to say the least. The way you attacked my gastrointestinal system for one thing. Name something delicious that I used to love to eat, and I’ll tell you a story of how you ruined that for me. Or what you did to my elbows. That was just mean.

Fine, I get it. I’m getting old, but what I find so unforgivable is all the mushy talk at the beginning, how you lured me in with false promises you didn’t keep. You told me that 40 wasn’t old anymore, when behind my back you were wrinkling my face little by little, so slowly that I didn’t notice until even Botox was shaking her head at me for missing the boat.

I feel foolish now for the way I welcomed you into my life, the way I trusted you. What choice did I have really? You can be incredibly charming, whispering sweet nothings about how you were going to magically make me give zero fucks about what people thought of me. There was even a vague promise of a sexual prime. Okay, well that one was true, but the rest? Lies. Sure, I give less fucks, but not zero, dammit!

I don’t know, Forties. I thought we had something special. I thought it would be different with me. That you’d spare me the wrinkles, sagging, and whatever the hell is happening to my neck. But, that’s not what happened. Why didn’t you do me like you did Sofia Vergara? You didn’t think I knew about her, did you? How she’s my age, yet somehow you spared her the aging ravaging. Oh, I knew!

Look, I’m not writing to you to rehash the past. We both knew what we were getting into together, and we both knew how it would end. And, we had some good times, right? Especially in the beginning. My body was holding up decently. My skin was maintaining a fair amount of elasticity. And compared to my unbearably exhausting relationship with Thirties, you did give me more disposable income and the blessing of school aged children who leave the house all day. 

God, when I think about it, my relationship with Thirties was downright dysfunctional. Babies, an oppressive mortgage, comparing myself to Pinterest moms. We both know the only reason I stayed was for the supple skin and perky boobs. When you came around, I welcomed your promise of sophistication that would make me more of a badass woman and less of an insecure girl. But somewhere along the way you changed.

Like on my 45th birthday when I woke up to your betrayal in the form of a sleep injury…first a crick in my neck, a cracked molar from grinding my teeth, a bum knee from doing nothing. One wrong kick at Body Combat landed me on my back for five days. Now, I watched Zombieland, so it wasn’t all bad, but what happened to us?

I’m sorry. I’m doing it again. Blaming you for everything. I know that maybe that scathing blog, 45 Isn’t the New Anything, describing you as a soul sucking decade that would leave me shriveled up and invisible, although true, probably crossed a line. I honestly don’t know anymore. Who was right, who was wrong?

What I do know is that I find myself a few weeks into my new relationship with Fifties, and I already miss you. With Fifties there’s no more sugarcoating it about how young and beautiful I am. No. It’s tough love. It’s, “Buckle up, buttercup. Shit is about to get real because aging is not playing anymore.”

I now wake up, and, forget about a sore shoulder, my feet forget how to walk. I’m not even kidding. I think I’m going to have to see a podiatrist. Up until now, I thought that was just a funny word in black and white movies. Who needed to see a podiatrist? What I’m learning about Fifties is that people need a podiatrist. I need a podiatrist. You never, ever hurt me like that. 

There’s no doubt I’m barreling toward knee surgery or, at the very least, prescription orthotics. Do you know my wrinkles now have little wrinkle neighbors, with an entire wrinkle community being built? And the other day I looked for my earring for a good five minutes and it was in my ear. The entire time I’m on a Facetime call, I’m looking for my phone. Yesterday, I couldn’t come up with the word “cabinet.” Cabinet!

Still, I’m going to really try to appreciate my Fifties for who they are. I will say that the one refreshing thing about being with them is I’ve finally reached a number that people associate with hags, so now I get a lot of, “Wow, you look fantastic for 50.” You know what? I’ll take it! 

I guess all that is left to say is, thank you. Thank you for teaching me so much about myself. Our time in therapy was truly life changing and I would never have gotten there if you didn’t play those cruel midlife crisis mind games with me. I’ll never forget you, Forties, or that black dress I wore to Nick and Jodi’s wedding, or my skinny arms. RIP. 

xo

M.

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