Friday, May 28, 2010

Club Forty

One of my earliest childhood memories is talking with my girlfriends about The Kindergarten Shot. It was the topic of discussion that summer of '75. Will it hurt? Will you cry? Band-Aid: yes or no? Eyes open or closed?

No one wanted to get the dreaded needle, of course. But without it, you couldn't get on that glorious yellow schoolbus. And, for Pete's sake, what WAS the point of living if you didn't go to school? So, one by one, whether we went to the doctor's office or the county health clinic, whether we bravely rolled up our sleeve or went down kicking and screaming, whether we brought home a yellow balloon or a red lollipop, we got immunized. Shots happen.

Other benchmark moments included losing baby teeth (proud to be one of the first), riding a two-wheeler (definitely one of the last) and jumping off the high-dive (ten bucks from Mom and the loudest belly flop the Canyon Racquet Club had ever seen).

As a tween and young teen, the girltalk turned to training bras, leg-shaving and what the school nurse called Maturation. Oh, how we giggled at those embarassing TV commercials with the butterflies and the girls in white shorts! It was horrible and fascinating.

But, one by one, whether we were ready or not, Old Lady Puberty started in on us. By the end of ninth grade, we all emerged from her clutches, humbled by acne and bad perms. Embarassed-slash-proud that we were starting to look like grown ups.

High school female chatter was all about the driver's license and the junior prom. (Don't ask.) In our twenties, we discussed getting a degree, an apartment, a job, a husband. By my early thirties, I had been to so many baby showers, I could recite hundreds of pregnancy, labor and delivery stories without ever having set foot in a maternity ward.

And when I did finally get my babies, I had all kinds of mommy mentors to guide me. Because girlfriends talk and share and warn and advise.


So, girlfriends. What's next?

In six weeks, I will be 40 years old and I'm not sure what that means. If 5 year olds go to kindergarten and 16 year olds learn to drive, what do 40 year olds do?

If you are a member of Club Forty, I would love to hear from you. I know you have some good advice for me, girlfriends always do. What do you love about this decade? Any books, workouts, products you think a newbie should know about? Any regrets? Any secrets?

I don't know if I want to kick and scream all the way or just take a deep breath and roll up my sleeve. But, I guess, like that dreaded kindergarten needle, forty is inevitable.

Red lollipop, anyone?

17 comments:

Tristan said...

40 is the new 20 didn't you know that? ;-) Look at all the awesome people who are in their forties and we all love them.

You will be 40 and fabulous, and I can only hope to be the same when I get there.

Diane L said...

As a former member of Club Forty, I can say: It was great!

A little more independence because kids are older. Kids are more companionable. You have time to do more for yourself.

My biggest recommendation? Stay fit. Exercise, eat well. My forties is when it all caught up to me, and now I'm paying. Learn from my mistakes! Fifties are fab when you are healthy. Use your forties to get you there.

Holly said...

I tried forty and now I'm trying forty-one and I must say, it's really not that bad at all.

A good bra is your best friend and so is Spanx (but this was true in my thirties too).

Forty-one is when I rekindled a love affair with MAC makeup and more bold accessories. It's been fun.

You will LOVE the forty club!

Lindsey said...

So Glad you are going there before me! That way, I can watch, learn, and listen. I will only be a couple years behind.

Rochelleht said...

Ah, I wish I could guide you. A couple more years for me, sweetie. Then, you can give me advice!

Greg's is in a couple weeks. I can ask him for you. :-)

Amy said...

Like always, big sis, you are a pioneer. You'll go before me on this adventure and clear the path for your sisters. In Vegas your philosophy on turning 40 was inspiring. It's the "who cares?" phase of life. You are who you are and there's no apologizing for it anymore. "Take me as I am," right? I have to say that my 30s has been my favorite decade so far in my life. I look forward to my 40s as the age of reinvention. It's the age of "what's next" and "bring it".

When my good friend turned 30, she celebrated for the 30 days leading up to her birthday. I think you should try celebrating 40 days of 40. You'll come out the other side ready to go.

Marci said...

I am a pretty new member to Club Forty (52 days now)and I am excited to see what advice Gab Blog followers have for me as well. ON my birthday I thought 40 was great! And after, not so much. Maybe it is all in the attitude . . . and I need to improve mine a bit.

P.S. GREAT post!!!

diane said...

Forty is fabulous. I feel like I know myself better than ever and am more comfortable in my own skin. My secret is to stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen daily. Plus there is always botox.

Welcome to the 40 club. I'll only be a member for a little over a year.

diane said...

40 is also when you learn to say no without guilt. So liberating.

Jenibelle said...

I'm in the Fifty is Nifty club, but Club 40? I remember it well. I looked the best I have ever looked, my babies were all home, my husband was healthy and successful, I was learning new things and to have some confidence in myself. Ahh...I want those days back.

For you? Enjoy the changes, savor every minute with your young, sweet children. Branch out and learn something you never thought of, appreciate how wonderful we all know you are. You are going to be 40 and fabulous!!! Celebrate YOU.

Susan said...

I have 3 weeks until I join club forty. I'm not sure what to expect but hopefully it will be fun.

Christie said...

This was such a cute, well-written post. You are so awesome.

I am looking forward to 40. I think turning 30 was the hardest birthday. They really only get better from here on out.

Lauren in GA said...

On June 11th I join the Forty Club. I should subscribe to these comments.

I love what Diane said about 40 meaning you learn to say, "no". It really is true.

As always, Gabi. I loved this perfectly written post...your writing comes to life for me and I remember things I had forgotten.

...and I have a stomach ache thinking of that belly flop. Oy....

Jeanelle said...

As a three years and counting member of Club 40, I should probably have lots to offer. But really, the one thing I've noticed that I like about this time in my life is that I've finally decided it's high time I do what I want and with whomever I want. Life is too short to not spend your precious time with the people you love the most, the ones you learn the most from and the people who help you to be your best self. You are going to be a fabulous 40 clubber -- I just know it.

Travelin'Oma said...

Forty is the start of an incredible decade. You're more confident, understanding, tolerant, and patient than you could be in the turbulent thirties, because you've had tons of experience.

People legitimately respect you because they see the results of your choices. You'll start seeing rewards for your hard work, and all of this increases as you head toward fifty.

There are a few surprises as your body rounds the bend, but they're a small price to pay for the joyful surprises that will pop up regularly.

And YOU have never been prettier. The fun starts now. Prepare to party!

Annemarie said...

...just joined this club yeaterday. So far, so good.
Keep the gray covered and the bum tight (LOVE the spanx comment!)
That's all I've got so far. I need to make a color appointment...

Ilene said...

Other than my epidurals, I haven't had a shot since that dreaded kindergarten experience.

I have been so traumatized that I haven't returned.

I don't even know how I will handle 40...

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