This has me thinking. When I was 20, I went out in cold weather without a hat, because “I didn’t look good in hats.” I’ve always (almost always) worn my hair short. I couldn’t put on a cute knitted cap with my hair flowing underneath. I remember thinking I looked like I was bald when I wore a hat. Now, with my hair still short, I don’t give this nonsense another thought. It’s cold outside, and today, March 2, we are in the middle of snowpocalypse #3 here in Missouri. It’s a balmy 9 degrees outside. Today, I leave the house, and living in a college town, shake my head at the young women walking in the wind wearing a light denim jacket and NO HAT. My 17 year old daughter leaves the house this way, in a t-shirt under a light jacket, her ankles exposed under skinny jeans, wearing ankle socks inside her Sperry’s. I actually look in awe at the bravery it takes to endure the elements in so little covering.
At 40, I wear a hat. At 40, I also wear bright red lipstick every chance I get, realizing now it really does look better with my dark hair and eyes, and if there’s no lining on my eyes, or foundation over my wrinkles, there are at least bright red lips. At 40, I don’t think about what people may think of me when I walk into a room where everyone is half my age. I don’t know about the latest music or expressions (my daughter keeps saying “low key” before certain phrases). I haven’t picked up a fashion or People magazine in years, and I look forward to listening to NPR on my morning commute.
The other thing I can do at 40 is this…I can say what I’m good at and work to be better, and I can accept what are my weaknesses. I can write a book, and publish it, and feel confident that I have a story to tell. The 20 year old me had few stories to tell, and if I did, I had not an ounce of confidence to share it. I hope my daughter is as 40 as possible in her teens and twenties. I hope she doesn’t wait until she’s 40 to record an album, or play her music for strangers. Who knows? 20 could be the new 40.