Ever since I discovered Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, when I was 16 years old, the number 42 has always been attached to Adams himself in my mind. I suppose that’s why, with my own 42nd birthday looming this week, all I can feel is wry silliness about it — with an equal amount of mortality awareness, especially since Adams died at age 49, never seeing his 50s.
It’s become almost cliche’ saying that a single, professional woman in her 40s these days is liberating, but — DAMN — I’m finding it pretty true. Unlike my 20s and early 30s, I actually look like a grown-up with decades of hard-earned experience behind me. I don’t get hit-on anymore, I don’t have to accommodate or compromise in messy relationships, and I can dress and say — within reason — whatever I want to dress and say in and outside of work.
However, my body has also garnered hard-earned experience, and no amount of crunches or killer ab work will ever get that pre-baby lower abs, barring Hollywood-style surgery. It takes longer for sore muscles and joints to recover, and these old myopic eyes are marching me towards a future date with Lasik, just so I can have a contact lens and eyeglass prescription that doesn’t cause sticker shock.
(On a related note: I gave myself tennis elbow last summer by hand-shredding old papers in my office, and it took nearly six months for that to heal — which is just SAD.)
Having a kid at 35 ensures that I’ll have a teenager well into my 50s, and so my 40s is that weird time when the parents of some of my kid’s classmates are young enough to be my own children, if I had procreated in my late teens or early 20s.
I find that pretty cool, actually — makes me feel both young and old at the same time.
Young enough to want to do new projects:
1. Complete that sequel to my 1st novel, now that I know what the story really is about, for a change.
2. Record myself reading that 1st novel and put it on YouTube — just for the hell of it (especially since no one is exactly clamoring for me to do public readings)
3. Do everything that I said I would do for my sabbatical (hello, my bosses!)
4. Get back a teeny bit of my martial arts mojo that I gave up when the kiddo was born (mostly punching and kicking the crap out of a heavy bag, while helping the kiddo with his tae kwon do)
5. Maybe even join the kiddo with his tae kwon do class when he moves out of the kiddie classes — because dignity, who needs it?
Old enough to complete long-term goals:
1. Be debt-free, for the sake of me and the kiddo
2. Raise a little boy to become a happy, confident, good man
3. Have enough of a catalog of published books to perhaps do expos and conventions
4. Have a legacy and inheritance, when I’m gone.
UGH. #4. C’mon, Lizardqueen, you’ll be 42 — not 82!
I’ll end with the always lovely (and NSFW) Louis C.K.