I stood too close to the mirror once again this morning. Still finding it hard to believe that I am 40 years old. My eyes have aged quite a bit in the last few years. Doesn't help that I have a cold to truly bring out the redness where white used to me and the dark circles where brightness used to be. I'm not sure when I started having to "tame" my eyebrows, rather than just pluck them. Or when my eyelashes started falling out leaving me to coax what's there to reveal itself through an eyelash curler and globs of mascara. 20 years ago, when I went without make-up, I looked like a 10 year old boy. Now, without make-up, I look like the "before" picture in a make-over feature for middle-age women in Redbook.
Don't be deceived by my comments. At least 80% of the time I'm okay with how I've aged on the outside. The body needs to have a major overhaul, but I think I'm still somewhat hip looking (without doing that "oh dear someone needs to tell her no one over 18 should be wearing that hat" thing). I think my moments in front of the mirror are more about my life. I can see the age, but beyond the laugh lines and sprigs of gray hair along my part, I can't help but think that I reached 40 and don't really know what I have to show for it.
I remember being a teenager and sitting in the car listening to a mix tape someone had made for me (or maybe it was my brother's cassette) and playing Jimmy Buffet's "A Pirate Looks at 40." Something about that song, even as a 17 year old, made my heart ache. I remember thinking, how sad it must be to go through life (at least, to 40) never really getting to your purpose. I've heard that song several times over the last 20+ years and it still gets to me. Click here if you want to give the tune a listen.
I'm not sure if females are pirates, so I prefer to use Sea Hag for myself. So I'm looking closely at myself in the mirror this morning, seeing a 40 year old Sea Hag still searching for where I am supposed to land. I've certainly plundered. I've had way too much ale and offended many. I'm raising a handful of skallywags. Part of me dreams of just pulling up all of my people, loading them on my ship and setting sail to nowhere in particular. But instead I'm here on land, a 40 year old pirate who has to find that purpose, that whole point of it all, so I'm not spending the next 40 years wondering what's right, fighting what feels wrong, and never just relaxing into the sea air. It's definitely a cliche to say that we spend so much of our life searching that we never really see what's right in front of us (so I jazzed up the cliche by adding in all of the pirate talk). The 40 year Sea Hag in the mirror is definitely starting to understand this more and more. Maybe that's what 40 is all about, realizing that maybe you missed something and going back to find it. I gave myself one last close-up look in the mirror, as if I would see something I'd never seen before.
And then, in a moment of complete non-piratey clarity, I remembered that I'm actually 41. Guess I need to go find a new song.