Monday, November 20, 2006

Have you ever found a perfect pair of jeans? They don't gap at the waist or drag at the ankles. They hug your butt without being tight enough to bring back memories of your Calvin Kleins from the '80s. They're even reasonably priced. There's only one problem. They're a size bigger than your regular size, and you swore you'd never wear that size.

What do you do? Do you really want to admit that you wear this size? Yet, the jeans fit just right. So you buy the jeans, cut out the size tag and wear them happily. Denial is a powerful thing.

I turned 40 this year. I feel great. I'm at a great place in my life. My body could look better, but it could look a lot worse. I don't look 25, but I don't look 50 either. Occasionally my joints will hurt, but I can still exercise, play volleyball and beat my children in a race. I just don't like to acknowledge that I'm 40.

I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for feeling this way. Most women in my generation tend to equate 40 with their 40-year-old mothers, who wore polyester pants and Grandma hairstyles. We do the math and realize that yes, 40 is about halfway between our expected life span, and the dreaded term "middle age" applies to us. How did this happen? When did I get to be 40?

So I've decided to tear off the 40 tag, so to speak. I'm now 37. If someone asks me my age, I'll be honest and tell them I'm 40. But in my mind, I'm 37. In a strange way, it works.

Denial is a powerful thing.