Trendy Notes: My Turning 40 Survival Kit: A Mammogram and Self-Realization

 

So I just turned 40 in May and it was just as exasperating and mind numbing as I had imagined it would be. I just attended the wedding of my 38-year-old childhood friend in LA right before the dreaded milestone and I was still reeling from the fact that she finally DID IT.

 

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She relocated to LA from London in 2011 and literally met her now husband a month later, he was her neighbor and one the day they met; he had knocked on her door to ask if she had any sugar. As cliché as it sounds, she swears it’s a true story and he basically fell over heels the moment she swung the door open. I believe it. She is stunningly beautiful and looks at least a decade younger, by the way her husband who is brilliant musician to boot, is 11 years younger.

I was a bridesmaid; actually I was the oldest one in the wedding party, which should be expected when you are approaching 40.

I have been always told that I looked younger than my actual age and to be honest when I was in my thirties, I loved hearing that but now that I am officially middle-aged, it really doesn’t do much for my ego. Nothing can change the fact that my youthful days are far behind me and all I have to look forward to are my older years.

I met a hot young stud at the wedding, he was one of the groomsmen and most likely in his late twenties. I was paired with him so of course it seemed like destiny had brought us together. What were the odds that out of eight guys, I would end up with the cutest one in the bunch. He was instantly smitten but what did I do? I allowed my impending D-Day to ruin my disposition and I retreated into my shell of disconcertment.  Alas, my Napoleon Dynamite ended up in the arms of a Spanish seductress. I am still haunted by visions of our unrequited one nightstand.

So the birthday finally arrived and I chose to reward myself by starting a new job that very same day, which turned out to be a complete disaster. I went into a cosmic shock and had a complete mental breakdown. I couldn’t focus, my nightly panic attacks became more frequent and I developed an intense obsession with mirrors. My youth and beauty had always been intertwined, a packaged deal.  When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I never took longer than 5 minutes to get ready for a night out. My skin blended effortlessly with my features and there was always a level of reassurance every time I stared at myself. I had depended on this formula for all of my life…until now. Now, I could see the aging process dominating my template and it was a scary realization, especially when you are single and still hoping for a partner and maybe a kid or two.

I have become interestingly enthusiastic about makeup; the foundation, concealer, and the right shade of lipstick are now items that I can’t live without.

I am starting to experience pain in my joints in reaction to my workouts and most importantly, my periods are no longer regular. This is a clear sign that time is no longer on my side, and no matter how great I look on the outside my insides are packing up.

My mental capacity eventually buckled and I indulged my hysteria, by becoming fixated on the idea that your 40’s ushers in a roster of health problems. The easiest ailment to cling to was cancer, and I was convinced that this would be my next venture. The death of any celebrity drew my attention and they almost always died of some form of cancer and whenever they were in their 40’s I would freak out. This could happen to me!

I had joined an age group that signifies the inauguration of the wear and tear process and demanded particular attention to my general well being.

No more delayed reactions to changes in my body temperature or mandatory check-ups.

This must be what growing up is all about. I remember declaring to my mom that I couldn’t wait to be an ADULT. Because I could do whatever I wanted without any prior approvals; I also remember the look on her face, she knew what I have finally discovered, 24 years later. Being a full-fledged adult isn’t very much fun. In fact it’s downright nerve-wracking.

So during my disturbing course in all things cancer, I managed to declare a major – breast cancer.

I was convinced that this was an ailment that was waiting to devour me whole, and I was pretty much preparing for my fate. This explained why I was unable to find a mate and create a family. God knew I was going to die and didn’t want to put me through the agony of leaving behind my young family. Geez! What the mind can do to you when you let it go wild.

In all sincerity, I knew the only way to get back to some sense of normalcy would be to tackle my demons head on.

So I scheduled my very first mammogram and I was absolutely terrified. I just couldn’t fathom the idea that I was of age to get it done. I didn’t even need a prescription because I was 40! I wished I could go back to when I tried to get one years ago and I was bluntly told that I was simply too young. There was no escaping this, it was time to be BIG GIRL and take care of business.

So I made the appointment and kept it and I haven’t been the same since. It was a quick and painless procedure, and afterwards I was given some reassurance that I was OKAY. I am still waiting for the official results but at least I know that for the moment there is nothing to be worried about.

I walked out of the facility feeling the way I had hoped to feel at 40. I felt strong, empowered, fulfilled and hopeful. The fact that I had passed that test with flying colors opened up the door to exciting possibilities. I had been in prison and now I was free to live my life on my own terms without any inhibitions or self-doubt. There are plenty of people who don’t make it to 40; Princess Diana is on that list. Instead of bemoaning my newly minted status, I need to celebrate it and keep that youthful vigor intact.  I have reinstated my adventurous spirit and it feels good to tap into those senses again because I think it has given me a total facelift.

The other day for the first time this year; I was called Miss twice in day!

I am even planning on taking a trip to Italy for my late birthday present, all by myself!

The story continues…

 

 

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