It felt like it happened over night. I stood there staring into the mirror and there they were staring back at me. Wrinkles. Oh, they are small and some might call them “character lines” but no matter what flowery language you use they are still wrinkles and they are on MY forehead. I’m 39 and 40 is the next block over. Things are different as I look down the barrel of this milestone and not in the ways I expected.
From the moment David and I met I have always taken great pride in the fact that I’m not a jealous person. I have entertained and fed more than one of David’s ex-girlfriends. I have watched him attend bachelor parties, happy hours, and other events without me and have never thought twice about it. He has spent days at photo shoots with professional models, and his office is frequently filled with beautiful single women. It has never once bothered me. Why? Well, I’m pretty secure with myself and in my relationship. I figure if David was really bent on straying nothing I could ever say or do would stop him. And yet, without warning, things are starting to change.
Before you think that somehow my marriage has hit rocky ground it has not. David and I are as solid and in love as ever. What has changed, is me, and it has a great deal more to do with those suspicious wrinkles on my forehead than I’d like to admit. It all fell into place when I read this recent article by Mommy Track’d. I am more jealous of the women my husband works with and the time he spends away from the house. Why? Because I’m no longer the young, 20-something, career minded, sexy, independent super girl I was when we met. No, my body now wears the scars of two children and four pregnancies. I have stretch marks, and cellulite, and wrinkles. The circles around my eyes, that used to be easily gotten rid of with some ice cubes and good eye cream, no longer vanish over night – or sometimes at all. That high-power, high-paying career that I had forged for myself is now a victim on the sidelines of my life. I can no longer compete with the women that my husband interacts with on a daily basis and at 39 I’m all too aware of it.
David assures me that those things are no longer important to him. He laughs and scowls when I bring it up telling me that in place of those things I have provided him with a home, children, a foundation for him to build his life. That we always have been and always will be soul-mates fatefully locked together. I know he is telling me the truth. I know he means all the words coming from his mouth. But I can’t help but miss that 20-something young super girl and wonder if sometimes he misses her too? I’m not mourning the loss of my younger body (because lets face it, it was never GREAT), but I miss the confidence that the younger me had. I miss the seemingly bottomless pit of belief and passion I felt within myself.
Perhaps that is what getting older and wiser is all about. You lose your unshakable confidence because you more honestly recognize your faults and misgivings. You no longer need the shield of false bravado to get through life but instead gain the greater strength of seeing yourself more nakedly than you ever have before. And this honesty, this unfiltered vision, brings with it fear of who you REALLY are not who you were trying to pretend to be the first 30 years. And just perhaps that is true wisdom.