Grey Hair and Stiff Arms

by

That is what 40 means to me.

I looked in the mirror today and saw another little grey hair sprouting from the temple.

Out damn spot!

It is, of course, only noticeable to me.

It is also, number three of the grey hairs.

Truly, only three grey hairs and I am 40.

Not bad.

The stiff hands though, are starting to get me a little concerned.  My mom has had arthritis for a long while now.  Although I do not quite understand how it has manifested for her, she has had a number of other health issues and I am not really up on all of them.

I actually think the stiff hands are a by-product of the amount of typing and writing that I have been doing since I came to Paris.  I write constantly.

When I am not baby sitting.

And then I write when I am babysitting, should the timing allow, as it is tonight.

I am out in the suburbs, not once, but twice today.  When I look at my commute time for the day it factors in around three and a half hours door to door to door to door.

I left the house this morning at 8 a.m. came back at 2:15 p.m. had a late lunch, did some photo editing, posted up the photography blog here, did some research around agents, sent a query, then packed the computer, the book, and the dinner in my messenger bag and headed off again to the Metro at 6 p.m.

I will get home around midnight, maybe later.

I brought the computer with me.

I have some commitments tomorrow I have to make and the thought of coming back to the house after having spent that much time on the Metro to sit down and write a blog, made me think twice about getting on the trains during commuter rush hour with my computer; I decided it was well worth the hassle of having my laptop on me.

Grateful I did.

I am zonked out.

I do not feel like I have much to write about.

I have also been thinking about what to write about for a friends blog.

She asked me to contribute to a forum about turning 40.

What does that mean to me?

Aside from the slight annoyance that at this stage in the game I still get acne and I have three grey hairs.

I don’t feel 40.

I don’t particularly act like I am 40.

I do not believe I think like I am 40 either.

Then again I do not believe that I do a lot of things in general like the masses.

I was taken with something a friend said to me yesterday.

First, was that I was a talented writer, his words were amazing, so I’ll just use those, and he said that my chances of making it were better than most.  Simply because I decided to leap.  That most people do not.  They don’t try, they don’t go, they don’t buy tickets half way around the world with no clear idea how to proceed.

I feel like I am constantly walking into this darkness.

I know there is light, but I tend to feel like it is emanating from me.

Not that I am headed towards it.

I am the source.

Does that make me a typical 40-year-old?

I do not believe so.

I have been grappling with the idea and find that I don’t often care what people think of my age, except that I still find it endearing when someone thinks I am younger than I am.

The father of my charge from Courbevoie was taken aback to find that I was older than he was.  What is a 40-year-old American woman doing picking up part-time baby sitting gigs in the Paris suburbs?

Living the dream.

Maybe that is what makes me 40.

Not necessarily that I am doing something 40 year olds do, I am sure there are other 40-year-old baby sitters, of course there are.  However, what the age thing has to do is not so much the number of years on the tree, but rather just the accumulation of time which has garnered me a faint bit of wisdom.

I have the experience behind me which clearly dictates that I am not a product of my age, but of my journey.  I am not my job, but what I do.

I am a writer.

I am not a babysitter.  I no longer, for the most part, correlate who I am with what job I do.

The job is a job.

Who I am is a brave woman.

Scared, yes.

But brave as well with a perspective on myself that I would not have except for having aged into it.

Does that qualify as 40?

Or 50?

Or 60?

When will I feel like an adult?

When will I not have a slight fetishistic fascination with Hello Kitty?

Or the color pink in my wardrobe?

Or sparkles for that matter.

Ah, I know what makes me 40.

It is my, I don’t care what you “thinkness”.  Because if I did maybe I would take the glitter out of my clothing choices.  Maybe I would not flirt with the 25 year olds.

Then again, as I was told recently, “you would rock a 23 year olds world.”

I dare say I might.

Not that I have any presenting at the moment.

40.

I still have not quite grasped it.

Perhaps by the time my friend needs her blog I will have come to some sort of conclusion.

I am a 40-year-old in name only, with my fixed gear bike, my tattoos of stars, butterflies, dragons, and one small pink jack-a-lope, with my school girl dreams, and yes crushes, with the insouciant  nature I still count myself fortunate to have, and the picture of me in my own minds eye scuffling through the fall leaves that first week in November when I landed in Paris.

Skipping through the leaves, kicking them up, doing a pirouette or four, and listening to music way too loud for any adult on my headphones as I walked along Quai D’Orsay in the twilight hours of a Saturday evening.

40 is looking pretty damn good if you ask me.

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