Today, I am 40.
It’s kind of fabulous.
Frightening, too, because… promise not to tell anyone under 40? OK. Frightening, because… well, I thought that by 40, at 40, I’d have things more figured out. You know? I’d be… all grown up.
Oh, don’t press me; don’t make me be specific. I know I’ve done a bunch of all the things… children, marriage, career (sort of). I have no complaints and no regrets, very, very few “I wish I had” U-turns…
I just thought—when I was 10, 20, and even 30—that by the time I reached this particular number, four decades on this earth, I would be more… enlightened. More “done” this whole growing up thing.
Instead… here I am. So very, very flawed. And unfinished. And uncertain. And not sure what next, where next, how next…
And you draw me into yourself and hold me and ask me… do I know anyone who’s “done”? All grown-up, you mean? I ask… Yes, you say. Do I know anyone who’s… got it all figured out—or at least says/presents as if they do?
(Always, you and I, with the qualifiers.)
Yes. Yes, I do.
And what do you think of them, you ask…
And there is only one thing to say, isn’t there? They are either boring or insufferable, these rare people who’ve got it all figured out, who are “done.” More often: both.
There, you whisper into my self. And you’re neither. So. What next, where next, how next—that’s what’s so very exciting, yes?
Today, I am 40 and I am feeling very reflective, pensive and utterly, utterly self-absorbed. Perhaps even more so than in adolescence when SELF was emerging from CHILD. And now, SELF is emerging from/fighting with/playing with/contradicting/stretching/breaking/building SELF, and wow. What next, where next, how next?
I think… let’s go this way. This way—yeah, there, that-a way. For a while, anyway…
And, because, 40 is so very, very self-absorbed—criminally so, ridiculously so, in a most frustrating “needs a hard slap upside the head and yo-princess-you-are-utterly-insignificant-in-the-grand-plan-of-the-universe-so-why-all-the-angst” kind of way—here is what my 40 looks like, is. In pictures and words. Because. Writer with an iPhone.* Lethal combination for the self-absorbed year. And, go:
PS “Jane, so… self-absorbed?”
“Utterly. Pretty sure, my love, temporarily. But here, in my play-space, where I can do whatever I want.”
PS2 This, here? Naked? Not so much. It’s always, always a performance. Even when it’s an utterly self-absorbed one…
*Most of the “self” images are from the #365feministselfie project. Because. Power.