Yes, you read that right – I said “vaginal atrophy.” Say it with me! VAGINAL ATROPHY.
This is, apparently, one more thing I have to look forward to as I become an ever-older woman. You see, according to an ad I happened to come across in People magazine a couple of days ago, women of a certain age – that is, menopausal, or post-menopausal, anyway – can either sit by and helplessly watch their hoohas wither and shrivel, or they can unload unspecified amounts of money to buy miraculous products that will relieve them of such heinous inflictions by Mother Nature.
I’m kind of hoping that pushing seven children through the ol’ baby chute has kept it in tip-top shape – kind of like body building, you know?
Enough about my vagina, though.
It’s just that I had a birthday yesterday, and suddenly I’m 45 years old. Forty-five. I don’t know how this happened. I thought maybe I could trick myself into, well, just not turning 45, but it didn’t work. I don’t like the sound of it. It’s not that I suddenly feel any differently than I did the day before, or even the week before, or, hell, even the year before, but forty-five just has a certain ominous ring to it. Forty-five says, “Hey! It’s time to get serious! Stop being such a goofball. Belching loudly to make your sons laugh just isn’t dignified anymore. And hey, keep an eye on that vag!”
The deeper into my forties I get, the less I like the fact that I’m in my forties. Yeah, yeah, life is good, I have a million things to be thankful for, blah blah blah, but you know what? Listen up, ladies: your forties is when your youth truly leaves you. In a way, it’s sort of like that awkward adolescent stage – you know, when you weren’t really a kid anymore, but you weren’t quite an adult, either, and half the time you didn’t know if you were coming or going. I am finding that the forties are very much like that: I’m not old yet, but I ain’t young anymore, either. The forties are when you have to start worrying about things like, “Do these pants make me look like someone who is desperate to be younger than she actually is (and, by the way, they’re not fooling anyone)?” instead of just, “Do these pants make my ass look big?” Or, “Will one more tattoo that is a form of self-expression make me look ridiculous? And to which as-yet unwrinkled portion of my body should I have it applied?”
I look at girls – yes, girls – in their twenties and thirties and think to myself, “Ha! Enjoy it while you can, girlfriend! Because eventually, it’ll be like you blinked and suddenly you’ll be forty-five!” I know I didn’t appreciate it when I had it – youth, that is. You just don’t think about it. You’re completely oblivious to the fact that you have firm, perky breasts that won’t always look like that, or that one day you’ll develop a bunion on your right foot, or that, gasp! you might find yourself knocked up in your mid-forties and then you’ll have to cut your infant’s nails while wearing reading glasses!
Okay, it’s not all bad, being at this stage of life, I suppose. It’s true that in many, many ways, I probably feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have before. That’s not to say that certain insecurities I’ve carried around for years don’t persist, or that middle age hasn’t foisted some new ones on me, but inside, I know who I am and what I believe in. I know what’s important, and I know that life is full of lessons, and wisdom means you never stop learning.
And hell, at least I’m not 46! Yet.