Confessions of An Aging Woman in the Millennium

Since you asked in your mind, I’m 47. I just typed 46 and had to change it to 47. I don’t know why I got that number down wrong. Except I usually have to pause and try to remember what year it is, what day it is or how old I am. It can take me awhile to check in places, like the doctor’s office or an auto service center, because to me it still feels like 1994, even though I know it’s not. I have to look up and ask someone, “What year is it?”

I’m not particularly proud of anything I did in 1994. It was a pretty basic year. Another nice, round year that often comes to my mind is 2004. Perhaps those years represent the potential of doing Something Important before the hump years of 1995 and 2005 and the subsequent downhill racing toward a new decade.

My favorite decade was actually the 2000s. I got married, bought a house and had a baby. I built a solid career in hospitality sales. At 35, I got to leave the workforce and stay at home with my son. All good stuff.

Lordy, lordy. Look who’s 40

Then I turned 40.

Now I’m not a big believer in making over-the-hill jokes when someone turns 40. Everyone knows 40 is the new 30. Back in ancient times, when my mother turned 40, we had a big birthday party for her and invited all my parent’s friends. Our house was decorated with black balloons and banners with bons mots like “Happy 40th Birthday! RIP Youth.” We had a cake with black icing and all the adults drank too much pink wine, and rum and cokes, and flirted with each other. My sister and I were in charge of the music. We played disco and new wave and everyone danced in the living room because we moved the coffee table to the garage.

Back then, turning 40 was the end of an era.

I’m like approaching 50 and, dammit, I still don’t feel middle-aged. But peering at 20-something strangers over the tops of my glasses while I fill out a form in cursive, or doing something truly crazy and old like writing a check, and asking what year it is does not help my case.

So, here I am, stuck between the heydays of my 30s and the looming of my 50s, in my current state of being, my 40s. My 40s are fine. Thanks for asking. I’m still married. My husband still loves me, God bless him. We’ve made a cross-country move and the baby is growing into tweenage-hood.

But recently, I attempted to revive my old sales career. I turned to the Internet Experts for advice (sigh) on how to re-enter the workforce after SAHP (stay at home parenting).

I’ll just “forget” my blouse and then no one will care when I graduated.

Arguably, the most useful tip? Remove all the years from your resume.

Do not list graduation dates. Delete dates of previous employment. Arrange your CV (What the hell is a CV? I have a rez-oo-mey.) so no one can guess your advanced age. Arrange it by skill. Avoid chronological order like the plague. The plague, you see, is a medieval time, 100-percent fatal disease, which explains why it should be avoided. I’m trying to be inclusive of all ages here, which is more than I can say for all the potential hirers that saw and discarded my RESUME because of all the years listed on it that were prior to the millennium.

I have mixed emotions about removing my years. Wisdom and experience are good things. But, I’m not crying ageism here at all. If anything, I FEEL SORRY for the managers who have to train these youngsters on everything from typing on a desktop keyboard to talking to people on a telephone. I suppose young people work cheaper too. They also bring fresh ideas and energy, but whatever.

As for my 50s, I’m kind of looking forward to them. Anything has to be better than floating through the 40s, where according to the Internet Experts, you can only wear matte makeup and clothes that draw attention away from the neck.

If you haven’t turned 45 yet, just wait. You will hate your neck. Forget your thighs. Necks will be the new thighs.

So bring it, 50s. You’re the next big decade. I’m ready for menopause and having people tell me I look great and to stop telling me I look tired. Something about being in your 40s means you look tired all the time and people feel like they should tell you this. I KNOW I look tired. We had basketball practice until 9:00 p.m. last night, okay?

But no one tells 50 plus-year-old women they look tired. They always “look great.” And you can stop right there. No need for the qualifier of “for your age,” unless you like having a lunchtime martini flung at your face. I’ll do it too. I’m fifty years old. Soon. What year is it?

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