I saw that movie for the first time as a teenager but I still got the joke. Forty has long been a demonized age. It is celebrated with black balloons and cards that indicate you are now “over the hill”. (Which I'm totally guilty of perpetuating... with reckless abandon.) It is the tip over point into oldness which is, of course, the ultimate enemy. (Well, except for fatness. But, she and I are old buddies.)
ASIDE: I almost didn’t become a nurse because of my fear of what my fellow humans might ooze on me. After being in it for a little while now, though, bodily fluids aren’t even close to the worst thing that can happen to you on a shift. You throw on some OR scrubs and go about your day. The worst part of your shift is when you or someone near you either yells or calmly commands, “Get the cart.” As in Code Cart. As in someone is having a very bad day. Being part of that is way worse than a little blood, sweat, tears, vomit, urine, stool, mucus, etc. being sprayed on the pajamas and/or shoes we wear to work.
Although, people do seem to be catching on because the black balloons again come out for 50th birthdays. If you aren’t dead yet, you get a whole ‘nother black ballooned birthday celebration to remind you that you’re going to be one day.
I certainly don’t want to wish away my 40s (or the remaining months of my 30s) but I can’t say that I’m dreading the prospect of cruising downhill. Things like having all of my children out of the house, weddings, grandchildren, having my mortgage paid off, being able to take nicer, childless vacations, driving a convertible — these are all part of being over that hill. Where’s the bad part?
And, of course I’m going to die. We all are. As Ray Charles sang, “Ain’t none of us gonna get out of this alive.” My biggest fear of death isn't so much the death part as it is leaving my children before they are fully grown. And, if I’m being honest, I’ll be irritated if my time is up before I get to see Hawaii or Italy. (Or the Redwoods... Or Portland... Or Montana…) But, I’m otherwise okay with my inevitable departure. Dead is where my mom is and I miss her so terribly.
My age is not a secret and it’s not something I feel ashamed of. Though, yes, I dye my hair. I’m also good friends with my tweezers — hey, I never said I was all that into looking old. But, being old? Bring it. Please.