I just turned 35 in April.
Yet the only thing I can think about is turning 42.
I don’t know why 42 and not, 41. 43 or a nice round 40. It’s just that, out of all the ages 42 seems like the most crackin-ess.
I, like most folks, looked at age differently when I was young but now, for me?
That 40 yr age range appears to be the sweet spot, that space & time where you use all the tools accumulated while simultaneously releasing all the fucks gained– just one by one, each day flingin’em like newspapers until you’re 90.
Thank you cool people, living your best life in your 40’s. Particularly cool black people because “Sis you look 20! And the way you do that line dance on that wedding reception floor…aspirable!” I look at women online like decor goddess @neffiwalker and I’m like, “Yep. just like that!” Pinning her, Nicole Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross and a few of my momma’s sassy friends from the 90’s to my mental Pinterest board.
Still. I can’t help but to look back at my 20’s and feel like I blew it. Like no one informed me about the emotional breakdowns and incalculable overdraft fees. I wonder why people spent so much time warning of the probable Freshman 15 and not the for-certain Quarter-Life Crisis. I should have been ready for that era, now it’s all a blur — a series of incoherent events all strung together by one expectation, the weekend.
But that’s ok.
I won’t let it happen again.
Because I’ve spent the last 365 days not deconstructing 2009 but con-structing the year 2025. I see life clearly at 42. I know who I want to be and how I want to live. All I have to do now is live as it is so.
At 42. I know what my silk pajamas look like and what book my husband and I are reading before we tug the string on the bed-stand lamp and “turn in for the night.” I see the art studio in the basement of my home. I tiptoe down there every morning wearing one of 5 pairs of the same paint-speckled overalls. We host dinner parties once a month, live near water and spend summers taking budget-friendly trips abroad as a family. I haven’t been able to see any speck of my life this clearly before.
And that’s what wanting to be 42 has done for me. The idea that I don’t have to be great tomorrow, I can be great at 42 is as childish as it is comforting. I have fallen in love with the soft voice of assurance that says, “You can start now, designing the next 7 years” And if the last decade is any indication, it’ll be here before I know it. In the meantime I’ll be present; making deliberate decisions about my future, not waiting to see what life hands me at that age. (Stares crossly at a photo of 25 yr old me dancing in a cage).
So think about that – people under 31 that are not Cardi B writing “living my best life in the caption”. We all know the truth. You are not living your best life. You’re likely, bumbling around like fools; rushing things. But chill yo, cuz ain’t no party like a 40 yr old party cuz a 40 yr old party… “technically” hasn’t started for me yet. But, oh, when it does. You’ll know where to find me. I literally just told you.