Like most people who are my age and older, I would say that my mind feels as young as it did twenty years ago (only smarter and with a rapidly deteriorating memory). I still enjoy the same music, still talk too much and too fast, and I still have the same sick sense of humor. In those ways, I guess I haven't matured much. Being a parent of young children helps keep me mentally young, too, regardless of the fact that my teenage daughter thinks I’m old enough to be a crypt keeper.
While my mind's still back in the 1980s listening to Whitesnake and Madonna, my body has begun telling off on itself. The changes can be subtle, but they are taking place. For one thing, I can't indulge in the sweets like I used to. When I was younger, I didn't give so much thought to eating a nice hunk of cheesecake. My metabolism and I got along okay back then. Now I can skip the whole chewing and swallowing process and just affix the cheesecake to my butt. Less effort, same result.
A friend of mine jokingly referred to me as a "cougar." Something inside of me died at the thought of being old enough for that title, so I Googled the term for a proper description. The urban definition of a cougar is "an older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man." Yeah, that's me, alright. The only club I frequent is Sam's Club, and the youngest men in my life still ride in booster seats and call me Mom. I score points with them when I buy ice cream and pudding cups.
At what age does a woman supposedly become a cougar, anyway? When does she go from being young and cute to chasing hotties who can't count to twenty without removing their shoes? Is it really at forty years old? I realize that, besides age, other factors come into play when determining one's cougar status. Beauty, sex appeal, and self-confidence each have a role. Even money matters if a mature woman wants to catch a much younger man. The cougars I've seen on television tend to have cash to burn. I dug seventeen cents out of the sofa this morning. I'm flush, boys. Single file, please.
Today is my fortieth birthday. Forty. My brain and body continue struggling to process this milestone in my life that seemed so far away just ten short years ago. How did I get here so fast? When did thirty start looking so young? Several friends have teased me, saying that forty's not old and I shouldn't be whining. It's not that I think forty's old, it's just that fifty's getting closer than I would like it to be. Maybe I should be saving all the AARP magazines and those Scooter Store advertisements I'm not supposed to be receiving in the mail. I wonder if I could get all of that in large print.
All kidding aside, I am grateful for another year, my loved ones, and my overall health. I can still see, hear, think, feed myself, and I still have all my own teeth - a novelty in these parts. Happy birthday to me.