44 Going on 16

I turned 44 two days ago.  I have been on this planet 528 months.  The average life expectancy for a woman is 80 years.  If I live to be 80, I have 432 months left on this planet.  This means, I am possibly more than half-way through my life.  Of course, I’m banking on the fact that all goes well, no unforeseen accidents or illnesses.  If I was born in the 18th century however, I would probably be dead since the life expectancy back then was 35.  Considering this fact, I am grateful.

I threw a birthday bash for myself with all my 40 something friends and their kids over the weekend.  We danced, chatted, drank, ate, laughed, and jumped on the trampoline until some of us peed our pants.  You know who you are.  It was so much fun.  I noticed that the teens were doing the same, minus the drinking and peeing in their pants part.  In some ways, 40 something year olds are really not that different from teenagers.  We just have a lot more experiences and responsibilities.  I like to believe we are more mature as well but sometimes I’m not sure.  It seems that many of us hit a mid-life transition, an identity-crisis or go through a “she’s gone mad” phase at this stage in life, not too different from the rebellious stage our teenagers go through. 

I heard a disturbing story the other day when I was listening to a morning talk show.  A 16 year old girl was given a DUI after being stopped at a checkpoint over the weekend.  A couple hours later, her 46 year old mother was stopped at the same check point and arrested for driving under the influence.  A little later in the evening, her 45 year old father was stopped at the same checkpoint and arrested for drinking and driving.   I was overcome with mixed emotions.  It was so ridiculous, so hideous, so hilarious and so sad I wasn’t sure if I should laugh at them or cry for them.  The DJ’s laughed. 

There is a great quote in “The Breaking Point”, a book about a woman’s mid-life crisis as she tries to make sense of her ordeal while raising teenagers.  The author, Sue Shellenbarger writes, “My mid-life crisis gave me more common ground with my two teenager’s hormone drenched moods than I would have liked. It also led us to many adventures together.”  I don’t think jail time, fines and community service is the type of adventure she was referring to.      

Did this family just hit some bad luck?  Was it merely a little too much fun gone awry?  Was the 16 year old being rebellious or did she simply want to feel grown up?  Did the parents want to feel younger, let loose and have some fun, or escape from the everyday hum drum of life?  Or, does alcoholism run in the family?  Is it a mid-life crisis or just plain stupidity; whatever the reason, this family has been hit hard. 

I do not know many people in their 40’s, myself included, that have not been hit by something quite difficult during this stage of life.  Things like job loss, health issues, death of a parent, alcoholism, drugs, affairs, rebellious teenagers, DUI’s or divorce.  I admit that it has been a hard, tricky and complicated time for me and my family these last few years.  During a conversation I had with my mom once, she told me, “hang in there sweetie, the years from 40 to 50 can be really hard”.  Ten years?  Really?  120 months?  Hang in there for an entire decade?  Damn, only six more years to go.  I should have some really strong biceps by then. 

My husband put a “16” candle on my birthday cake.  It was very cute.  But the reality is that many of us do things that make us feel like we are 44 going on 16 that get us into trouble.  This is probably our way of avoiding feeling like 44 going on 80.  Maybe the real trick is to be 44 going on 45.

9 Responses to “44 Going on 16”

  1. Cyndi Says:

    It was fun to see your mind working on this yesterday. It came out very well! Go, Deanne! Btw, Thanks, too. <3

  2. Raundi Says:

    I love the last line. I think you’ve stumbled onto the real trick Deanne…being yourself no matter what your age is. You had a house full of people from age 8 to 80 who love and adore you.

  3. John Alvarado Says:

    I heard the same story on the radio about the DUI family. I couldn’t help imagining the scene at the jail when mom was put in the same cell as the daughter:
    Daughter: “Mom!”
    Mom: “Sweetie!?”
    BOTH: “Why are YOU here?!”
    BOTH: “DUI”
    BOTH: “Oh” (sheepish grins)
    Mom: “Don’t worry, sweetie. I called your dad, and he’s on his way over”.

    :-)

  4. Colleen Amman Says:

    Y ou have hit the nail on the head with this one! Many of my friends are loving their fabulous forties, but mine are far from fabulous. They simply suck and I don’t know if I have five more years to hang in there to make them better….I want them better NOW! Thanks for writing this…I love it!

  5. Raundi Says:

    Ha! John, that is funny.

  6. clare Says:

    My best friend died two weeks before her 40th birthday and I swore I would be grateful for every year I got to live past 40. She couldn’t have kids because of the chemo and I got to have my 4th baby when I was 40.
    I’ve only got 2 more years to the end of my decade and then the world is supposed to end anyway, isn’t it!! On my 21st wedding anniversary (12/21/12) to boot!! That’s going to be one big party!
    I wish we could have been there to celebrate your birthday with you Deanne. If we could all look as gorgeous and young as you xx

  7. Mom Says:

    I hope I not only told you that the 40’s were difficult but wonderful also. It was lonely because all of my children left home, and came back, and left home and came back, etc., etc. I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do! But then my first grandchild was born in my 40’s and that was (well, I don’t have words to describe it) Hang in there baby you have what it takes to make anything happen and I have no doubt that you will. xoxoxoxoxo

  8. Deanne Says:

    Clare, you will go out with a bang!!!

    John, too too funny.

    Thanks Mom!

    Cyndi and Raundi, as always, thanks for your constant support. Love all of you.

    As hard as it can be sometimes, it has its fabulous moments thanks to all of you.

  9. Suriname Says:

    I have found a lot of people check out during this time period. Perhaps they feel they can’t change or that they fear it so much they destroy whats around them in order to make themselves right. If everyone could understand it as just another phase in our evolution to break the molds that bind, happiness would prevail. Your mother’s words are very wise. Instead of hanging by a thread, choose the bungy cord.

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