Over the course of the past year, my dear mother has taken to repeating, "I can't believe I have a daughter who's almost forty."
Thanks for the reminder, Mom!
As it turns out, I will only be 39 next week, so really, the 40s death knell seems early, yes?
I myself don't mind getting older. By and large, age is but a number. That said, a few things clearly suck about approaching mid-life. A second wave of acne is definitely on my list (seriously, what the eff did any woman ever do to deserve zits again?) as is the fact that if I sit cross-legged on the floor for more than 8 minutes, my knees regret it for hours. But the most annoying might very well be the way aging bodies metabolize alcohol. In short, they suck at it.
Wine and the occasional cocktail are integral, happy, celebratory, relaxing aspects of my life. A superbly cooked filet is made even more sublime when enjoyed with a great Cabernet. A fresh crottin of goat cheese sings alongside a crisp Sancerre. A flute of champagne can make even the dullest of events feel festive. And when was the last time you sat outside on a beautiful summer night, enjoying a chilled Rosé, and felt anything but content?
So it's a cruel twist that as the years go on and you have a bit more time and your kids need a bit less and perhaps you're a bit more established, those sublime nectars start to mess with you. Your sleep is impaired, your stomach may feel like it's been grated, your cognitive abilities suffer, your head feels like it's packed with cotton. Unless you're in Italy and then you can even day-drink again!
I had two glasses of wine last night with my dinner. Two. Tom had a work function, and I cooked myself a lovely, lovely meal, got out my crossword puzzle, poured a vat of water to offset the damn dehydration elements in the wine, and spent a few delightful hours.
And I woke up this morning and felt like I was on Mars. Hmph. It's very nearly unacceptable. As it's cold and rainy here, I decided that after dropping the boys off at school, I'd come home and take a nap. Just curl up on the couch with Percy and call it a morning.
This sort of luxury is not something I usually afford myself, but what else could Mars head do? Percy was thrilled, and really, so was I. I awoke at 10:15 to the sound of the mailman delivering some letters and a few packages. Packages are always fun, so I ambled to the door by way of my Soda Stream (because: more water) and found an early birthday present from one of my dearest college friends.
An entire box of See's Nuts & Chews!! These are my faves. I do not, generally speaking, like boxed chocolates. There's too much going on, and that weird puffed, grainy filling that too many of them boast is the pits. Also, the chocolate tends to taste eerily like paraffin wax. No thank you.
But See's Nuts & Chews? Ohmygod. Chocolate, nuts and the minimal amount of caramel or marshmallow needed to hold it all together. I love and do not share these. Thank you, Ames.
In that moment, Mars head decided to stay on the couch with the bonbons and be that woman. I don't know that I've ever actually sat on the couch in the late morning eating candies. (Where did that ridiculous stereotype of stay-at-home mothers come from anyway?) It was delightful, and my friend's timing couldn't have been better.
You can see in the make-up free, un-Photoshopped pic that I do not wake up looking like Miranda Kerr does (if her Instagram feed is showing us regular people the truth). Then again, she is a supermodel, and I am not.
But that right there is an almost-39-year-old who took a nap and ate candy and feels damn happy about having done so.
Maybe the best part of getting older is feeling OK about doing just that. Even if it means suffering minimal-wine after-effects to get there.