Happy Birthday: An Oxymoron

I handled turning 40 worse than anyone in the history of mankind. I cried. For six months. Before and after. Mainly because I was single. Single and tired.


I freaked out at 29 too. Marilyn Monroe nailed 29 like it was a Kennedy when she resolved to “make (a) strong effort to work on current problems and phobias….” and “try to enjoy myself when I can — I’ll be miserable enough as it is.”


But 40, now that's a special kind of torture, especially when you are single.


There I was, in the best physical shape of my life; I weighed less than in high school. I got my face chemically peeled and my lower lids surgically tightened. I looked MAH-VELOUS. I pre-emptively made abstinence from alcohol my resolution that year because my mother spent her 40th birthday in rehab.


I would not survive such a fate. I needed to be as far away from rehab as Amy Winehouse


But God Said HA! On my 40th birthday, while I was away weeping in Washington, DC, my rich, handsome lawyer beau of 16 months got arrested for possession. Of crack. 




He told me he cashed out the asteroid (diamond ring) fund and hung out where his red convertible stuck out-- to the steely eyes of the law.  


So he went to rehab and we broke up.


And my landlord gave me notice he was selling my house.


And my six figure client gave notice he was leaving his company and the continent.


Happy Birthday.


 I’m still not over turning 40 even though 50 has come and gone. You might think I’m crazy, and you might be right, but not about this: your 40s suck.


Studies show that, along with the elevated pressure to be married, anxiety levels start skyrocketing at 40 and don’t stop until 53. Researchers call it the U-Bend of happiness because that’s what worrying looks like on a graph. It seems like they should call it the You-Bend-Until-You-Nearly-Break of happiness.


If whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, pass the Prosecco and call me Charlotte Atlas. Like yet another cliché, I lived through my 40s and learned:


Be brave enough to know you get to choose, then make sure you choose.

Failing eyesight is a blessing. You don’t see wrinkles on your face or dust on the table.

We teach people how to treat us.

All M&Ms are not created equal but every sized bag is a still single serving. #pounder

Try means no.

Decisions made in fear stay scary.

When you are worried your life isn’t ok, it’s because you are worried, not because you are not ok.

Everyone has their shit.

A third of the people you meet will like you on sight, a third will hate you and a third will forget you.

That’s just how life goes sometimes.

Someone else is ashamed of the same thing you are. Neither of you should be.

Most of the time, good enough is good enough.

Want what you want but know you want it first.

Don’t base your life on what you think they think.

Always believing the worst will happen might be wishful thinking too.

There is no moment of closure.

Love is never better the second time around.

When you are crazy, you don’t think you are crazy, you just think you are right.

Things work out.

Some mistakes will never be forgiven. You have to get over it anyway.

No problem with a cat is ever solved by adding another cat. Relationships are like that too.

Broken hearts are not fatal.

Whoever has the most fun before she dies wins.

The goal is to be happy, not married.

You don’t have to be ok with being single. You have to be ok. So do married people.

Life waits for no man.


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