What I wouldn’t give to be able to wear a pair of mom jeans once in a while. Even though my son is no longer a toddler, the days of having to squat in public are not entirely behind me. But alas, no one sells high-waisted jeans anymore, not even to us moms, because we can’t look “hot” in them and, apparently, this is our goal.
I heard someone on television say that 60 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 20. Not to sound like George W. Bush, but that’s some fuzzy math. For one, being the new 20 doesn’t give us an extra 20 years. I’d be all for it if it did. Secondly, why are we aspiring to be 20 again? Sure, we’d all like to get back our tight skin and faster metabolisms, but I thought growing up meant learning something about life. We 40-somethings seem to have gotten so caught up in America’s obsession with youth that instead of influencing the younger generation, we’re taking our cues from them.
The last year or two I’ve seen other moms giddily anticipating each "Twilight" movie that was coming out. Those who have teenage daughters at least had a cover, but I wondered why any of them were that eager to re-experience whiny teenage angst. Now it’s "The Hunger Games", another young adult series they’re excited to see on film. I’m beginning to wonder if I should buy my friends subscriptions to Teen Beat.
Maybe it’s a natural hazard of being a mom. We try to stay in touch with what our children are into, especially teenagers, so we can be aware of what’s going on in their lives. So maybe we listen to their music and watch their TV shows. But it’s a bit of a leap from that to wearing PINK sweats and boasting about your -tini consumption. (You know, whichever flavor martini is the trendiest at the time: appletini, chocolatini, etc.).
I suppose I’m lucky living in a college town. I could emulate the co-eds and walk around in public wearing slippers without it being by accident. I could wear UGGS when it’s 75 degrees out and flip-flops when it’s 45. But I’m not sure I want to be the new 20, because I recall what the old 20 was like. Besides having to dress in the latest trends, it meant caring more about what others thought of me than what I thought of myself. It meant not always being myself so I’d fit in. It meant pretending to know more than I did. It meant hoping I could do what I loved but having no clue how to make it happen.
I’m not saying my twenties were bad. It was fine because I was ignorant about my own ignorance. What would my excuse be in my forties? There’s a real freedom in our forties of knowing who we are, at least more than we did then. We make friendships by finding each other, rather than fitting in. We understand that life is more fluid rather than now or never. And, frankly, I don’t think I had more energy back then, I think I just got to sleep in a lot.
So let’s hitch up our low-rise jeans and hop off the younger is better bus. I have a husband, a son, a home, a fledgling writing career, and an inevitable mid-life crisis to attend to. I’ve got too much to do to be 20 again.