The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Something happens when you get to your 40's and you're a woman. Suddenly, you realise that nearly half of your productive years are behind you and that the dream of being a movie star or a rich heiress to some secret monarchy just isn't going to happen. You decide that you need to live in the "real" world and had better start saving more for retirement. Somehow, the eternal optimism of youth is now tempered with common sense and a stronger sense of your own mortality.

Besides changes to your mental outlook, your physical body starts to change as well. The .7 waist to hip ratio suddenly increases. Your boobs get larger and your energy level starts to taper off. Sure, you can still wear that size 6, but it just doesn't look the same on you any more. You begin to understand why old people obsess about their bowel movements. There isn't a beauty cream on the market that will erase those fine lines and wrinkles. The once-flat stomach is now a bit softer and rounder than you ever remember seeing it, and no amount of sit-ups will make it go away. You do discover, however, that sit-ups are a great aid in releasing flatulence.

But, hitting middle age isn't all bad. In fact, some of it is pretty darn good.

I get better service now in restaurants and in department stores. I carry myself with more confidence. I'm not afraid of appearing bitchy or making a "scene" if I need to. I've become the master of the cutting remark, especially when I see people cutting into a queue that I've been waiting in for more than 20 minutes.

I can wear things that I like, as opposed to what's "trendy." I also won't be bothered with nasty, disrespectful people, and I'm not afraid of confrontation or fighting a battle I think is worth fighting.

I am more pleased about myself and how I've "turned out" than at any other time in my life. I can manage my money and make investments with confidence. I can tell the guy across the street to knock it off when he's having a nasty row with his girlfriend in the driveway or I'll call the cops. And I sound like I mean it. I DO mean it. I've gained some authority with seniority.

I'm an equal in relationships. I don't feel like I have to stifle parts of myself in order to be with someone. When I was in my 20's, I used to feel like I HAD to make a relationship work - like it was all up to me whether or not the relationship was going to be successful. I often gave 100% while the other person gave next to nothing. I sacrificed everything while the other person couldn't have cared less. It was the emotional equivalent of trying to dig to China with a spoon, and being timed.

I look damned good for someone in her 40's. Sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but now that I realise I am never going to be 1) a model, 2) a movie star, or 3) a famous singer, I don't care as much. I'm me. This is who I am. And I like myself. Even if I don't like how I look in a bathing suit. My husband adores me. I wouldn't trade that for a fewer pounds, believe me. And I feel pretty certain that in another couple of decades, I'm not going to care how I look in a bathing suit, either.
posted by Melanie O. at 3:49 PM -
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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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