The first time I realized I am getting middle-aged and probably carrying more flab in my midsection than I should is when on a trip to India a young street vendor said to me: “Auntie, can you buy some flowers?” and I was traumatized because the last time I visited they had addressed me as didi (older sister) and an older sister looks considerably younger than your aunt! So, back in America, where thankfully people do not make you their family members instantly, I joined a Zumba class.
Three weeks after doing Zumba diligently, the scale had not budged at all but I did look a bit toned up and had more energy. In my twenties and thirties, I could exercise for a couple of weeks and eat right and the results would show on the scale instantly but in my forties it takes considerably longer.
I have also become very forgetful. Earlier, in my youth, my brain was razor sharp.I could memorize phone numbers, create grocery lists in my mind and remember all my user ids and passwords.The other day I went to the bank and for some reason the lady wanted my social security number and I had forgotten it, I only remembered the last four digits! I looked like a deer trapped in headlights while the lady looked at me impatiently and condescendingly, probably thinking how dumb I was.
I have three kids, a teenage girl and two younger boys and my mommy brain is usually befuddled but I know that with careful planning, organizing and writing down notes on a calendar, I will be fine. So far, I have not forgotten to pick up or drop my kids from and at various different places, though, when the minivan I am driving gets really quiet, I do blurt out really scared, “hey Armaan’s (my youngest) in there right, hope we did not leave him behind at home!”
A slowing metabolism, a fading memory, greying hair, missing your youthful skin and figure, trying to balance work and home, raising kids, looking after aging parents who have turned into another set of kids, what is there to like in your forties? Plenty, I would say. With age, your courage and confidence multiply. In my twenties, I was 125 pounds but I did not feel I was pretty enough and if anybody gave me a compliment on my looks I would get tensed and worried. Now, thirty pounds later I really think I am all that and when people compliment me I am able to smile and say thank you and I know that they meant it and I deserve it. I hear slim women cribbing about not having a flat stomach and I am amazed and annoyed by their complaints. How much more skinny do you want to be? After reading and researching every diet out there I know that I love to eat, 1200 calories a day will keep me hungry and cranky and the best thing I can do for myself is to own my body and to rock it. Somebody has rightly said that confidence is your best accessory along with a positive attitude and a great hair day helps too!
According to me, forty really is the peak of your existence, you peak in every area of your life, practice makes perfect, you are sure of yourself, you do not have to fake it anymore, you learn how to say no, you are not worried about what anyone thinks of you and you do what feels right . (To the imaginative- feel free to read between the above lines!)It is a very fulfilling feeling when the pieces of the puzzle fit together and you have a deeper and better understanding of who you are physically, mentally and spiritually and what you want from life. It is a wake-up call that half your life is over and so you need to better hurry up on fulfilling your ambitions and striking things off your bucket list.
In my twenties, I was very serious, I had a poker face and the weight of the world upon my shoulders, I took things literally and I could not understand when people were joking. My husband has a crazy sense of humor and thanks to him I was able to shake off some of my seriousness and enjoy humor. Just last week, my husband and I were at the grocery store and I saw this really obese woman with a stud of a husband and by stud I mean tall and toned Greek god stud and I told my husband – “Moti kitni lucky hai na, uska husband kitna handsome hai” (that fat lady is so lucky, her husband is so handsome) and he told me with his best serious face – “To kya hua, apna bhi to wahi kahani hai!” (So what, ours is the same story!) And I laughed like crazy, my twenty year old self would have been offended at this joke but in my forties I know that my husband is just kidding. Before anybody is upset that I called that lady fat, let me add that she was big and beautiful and am pretty sure her husband loves her for who she is, he would not be married to her if he did not! And, my husband thinks I am getting prettier every day but he loves to tease me.
Mid-life crisis is real, it affects both men and women, a sense of restlessness and boredom pervades your soul and the desire to breakthrough can drive you insane. Men buy red sports cars and women have affairs or vice versa. For me, luckily, mid- life mayhem has not been bad and I am not going to pull an “Eat, Pray, Love” on my family anytime soon. I occupy my spare time with things I love to do like reading and gardening and that soothes me and calms me down.Some things coming up in the future scare me like my kids learning to drive and eventually leaving us behind in an empty house but I know that I have to be strong and I have to let go. I have learned that I have to love people for who they are and not who I want them to be. I have learned that I cannot change what people say but I can change how I react to them. I am trying to be more disciplined, motivated and productive and live my forties fabulously with fortitude.
Poised on the mountaintop
Waiting to fly
I feel like a beautiful butterfly
Rid of the protective cocoon
Took so long but feels so soon
Tenacious, fierce, indomitable
Images flash, myriad memories clash
Ecstasy, pain, love and loss
The roads I took, the paths I walked
The roles I played, the talks I talked
Led me to who I am and where I am at
And, it’s purely exquisite, almost sublime
The road, the passengers and the view
My wings trembling in anticipation of the adventure anew
My beating heart wishing I can see my journey through
For the BEST, is yet to come!