Sunday, March 6, 2011

40 Days and One Week

My first full week of 40 has come and gone. And I don't feel a bit different. In fact the only difference is that I can now officially say that I am 40. My life hasn't changed in the least. However, I believe the door has been opened and I am fully anticipating the coming to pass of many things that have been in the works for many years.

I am so grateful to all of you for walking through the 40 days leading up to my 40th birthday with me. It was fun and I am hoping that you will agree to stick with me through my 40th year! Weekly, I will update the blog over the next 51 weeks.

The only caveat is that I am moving you all back to my original blog for the next year. I want to preserve this space for that 40 days that we spent together. So ARE YOU READY? We're heading back to AS I SING IT, right here:

Venture over and take a look around. You will see the first blog there, welcoming you! And giving you a few of my favorite entries to get you started. Then, sometime this week, we'll meet again. You know, don't you, that I couldn't be 40 without you, don't you?

See you on the other side!

Monday, February 28, 2011

I AM 40

Time flies when you're turning forty and forty days have never passed so quickly. I started the journey to the big day with the intention of doing three things. One, I tried to prepare myself for this milestone birthday and enter my new decade gracefully. Two, I uncovered a little bit of my past, dealt with some of my present and looked ahead into the future. And three, I stretched myself beyond limits over the last month or so as a reminder that, quite frankly, I AM... every woman.

As my friend Diane said, I have been saying that I was "almost 40" for months. It was sort of a mental game I played so that when it came time to say "I'm 40," it would just roll off the tongue a little easier. I like how it sounds honestly. I am 40. It's the look of it that still frightens me and gets me a little choked up. And that proves one thing. Age really is just a number.

It's the number that gets my panties in a bunch. It's the number that worries me and scares me and tortures me when I am standing in the checkout line at Shop'n'Save perusing the magazines. The number 40 is big. While it's name is short, the number is wide and it takes up space on a page. But what does 40 really mean?

In the bible, 40 is a significant number. It is the product of 5 and 8, which according to some scholars "points to the action of grace (the number 5), leading to and ending with revival and renewal (the number 8)."  So 40 means grace, revival and renewal. Also, in the bible, when God decided he wanted to cleanse the earth and start over, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Goliath came for 40 days before David took him out. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert before entering the promised land. So 40  means starting over. It means victory over giant problems. 40 means no more wandering.

In math, 40 is a semi perfect number. The plant Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years but returns to it's original point every 40 years. In science, 40 is the number of zirconium which is known for it's resilience to corrosion. In football, the measure of the 40-yard dash is critical in scouting and the jersey number 40 has been retired by 10 teams in the NBA, Major League Baseball and the NFL.

40 is a big deal. And I am 40. I embrace all that it means, all that it stands for and all that it holds for me over the next year.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 39: Ride 'Em Cowboy

 Tonight, I sang the national anthem for the Professional Bullriders Association (PBR). The ins and out of the PBR are fascinating and they treated me well. My nephew shadowed me all evening and he loved every moment from checking out the bulls to walking through the dirt-filled arena. I love having my nephew with me when I sing more than anything. He understands the importance of what I do and he absorbs the details of each event and appreciates the experience. This gig might have been the highlight of the last year for me and ranks right up at the top with singing for NASCAR's 60,000 people a few years ago.

And the bonus for this almost 40-year-old? Cowboys. Everywhere. In chaps. Lord have mercy!

Day 38: My Advice for Men

Today, I left the house to go get Aleve and I ended up with a double bacon cheeseburger and a Snickers bar. That's just a sampling of how a woman's mind sometimes works. Let me reassure you, gentlemen, it is no secret to us that we are sometimes complicated and difficult to understand. That's rather obvious. So here are the top ten things, I want you to know.

10. It is not the position of the toilet seat that gets me riled. It is when I sit down in the dark bathroom in the middle of the night and my butt plunges into the water that makes me cranky.

9. Sharing blankets should not be a requirement in a relationship. Sharing warm hugs should be. And a girl cannot ever have enough hugs. In fact, a hug can be your get out of jail free card when you have no idea what to say.

8. There are times, however, when a hug is not going to work. You will know when that is when you hear these four words: we need to talk. Hugs are not getting you out of that one.

7. Proactivity is your friend. Doing anything before a woman asks you to, gives us the shivers. It's pure joy. In fact, it's practically foreplay.

6. My 8 year old nephew said it best when he suggested that men should never ask other men for advice about women. Ask a woman. Not a woman you are attracted to, of course, but a sister or an ugly neighbor or something.

5. Eventually, she will stop waiting for you. Waiting for you to get your act together... Waiting for you to settle down... Waiting for you to do what you say you are going to do... So, if you like it, you probably should put a ring on it. Beyonce is right.

4. And sometimes, you gotta do what's best for you. Period. Don't be a whipping boy.

3. Stop believing that nonsense that you've been hearing about how women don't really mean what they say. When I say, "I'm fine," I mean it. When I say, "I don't know" or "I don't care," it's because I sure as heck don't know and I really don't care.

2. All women are crazy. At times. We all have our moments.

1. We aren't all as complicated as you think. Sometimes you gotta take us at face value. And it might be best for you to stop trying to figure women out. (Maybe we should do the same.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 37: You Don't LOOK 40

"You don't look like you're 40."

I hear that all the time. Then I get up as close as possible to the bathroom mirror and stare at the bumps on my skin and the wrinkles in my forehead and the gaping pores on my cheeks and I see a forty year old woman. It's amazing how the body forsakes you as you grow old. The skin doesn't bounce back like it used to and the joints take a while to warm up some days. On those days I feel like a forty year old woman.

But then I look around the world and wonder. What does a forty year old woman look like? Does she look like Mary J. Blige or Sandra Oh? Does she look like Christina Applegate or Jada Pinkett Smith? Yes, yes, she does. And she looks fabulous.

I return to my mirror. I examine the scars and dark circles under my eyes and that one white eyebrow hair. Wait! Is that REALLY a white hair in my left eyebrow? Yes, it is. I suppose it's providing a balance for the dusting of white that has appeared along my hairline above my right eye. What does a 40 year old woman look like? What is she supposed to be? Does she look like me? Yes, yes she does. And she looks fabulous.

Day 36: Too Old For Homework

A couple of years ago, I decided to return to college to earn my Master of Arts degree. I had sworn for years that I would never go back to school. I wasn't good at it the first time, mostly because I was bored. Things have to make sense to me... They have to resonate within me... They have to feel like a part of my natural or common sense or I eventually lose interest. The only exception is if I am entertained. But the second time around has been the greatest gift I could have given myself.

Continuing my education has obvious benefits but the experience that I didn't think would change my life or affect my future was the interaction with fellow students. This semester has been so enjoyable. I have learned so much from the people around me and I've enjoyed them so much that I wonder how I will learn without them in future classes. They have all been so willing to open up and share their experiences, their opinions and their feelings and so willing to hear mine.

There are days when I feel like I am too old for homework and too old to go racing around town from work to school to home and back again. But then I get to class and I feel young again. I feel like it's never too late to do what you want to do. And I know, once again, that you should never say never.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 35: Letters Between Today & Me

Dear Michele,

I hope you enjoyed the fifth last day before you turn the big 4-0. I did my best to make sure that, after you woke up late, the traffic was stacked up on the highway from your entrance to your exit. I know you have a fondness for other drivers on busy roadways. And don't mind thanking me for concealing that dvd of INCEPTION between your car seats that was actually due back at Blockbuster two weeks ago. I thought you might enjoy a little hide and seek. Because I thought it would balance out your day, I was happy to put enough road blocks in your way to cause your commute home to last an hour and make you late for dinner out with your parents. And as the icing on the cake, I am welcoming you home with a water main break that will likely not be fixed by morning.


Dear Today,

Eat it.