Featured Image: Little Lady Makeup: Elisabeth Lehoux, Assistante: Coralie Paquelier
I’m not talking beer or malt liquor. I’m saying Lordy, Lordy….here comes “40”…4. Yup…10-14-14 will be here before you know it.
I’m OK with my age. I just have a few moments where I freak out — OK maybe more than a few. We know our looks change as we get older. Skin loses elasticity, baby weight comes and goes (or hangs on). Our weight even fluctuates monthly. Some weeks I think it’s going great, other weeks not so great. It’s kind of hard to let go of that self-centered “self” sometimes. I was very focused with my fitness level and goals up until just a few years ago.
Damn, who knew 35 could look so lean? NYC
Always being very sporty and active, I loved to swim, do gymnastics, and dance. I was blessed with a super fast metabolism. As a kid, I remember being skinny, but muscular with a very *flat stomach; my mom also made sure we ate pretty healthy, and we seldom had junk food. *OK, you can’t have a flat stomach, because your stomach is an internal organ that aids digestion…it’s just a figure of speech.
1993…Here I am almost 23 with Sara, my first daughter.
I always loved to exercise, and as I entered my 20’s I found the local gym complete with weights, stair masters and hi-low aerobics classes. I was hooked. Even after my first daughter, I was able to sculpt my bod with diet and exercise, and see those incredible abs once again. Friends used to comment that my physique reminded them of Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. This was a new concept for the ‘everyday woman’ in the early 90’s… muscles!!!
My 20’s and 30’s were much of the same….a little narcissistic and really into the gym, and staying active. Exercise, fitness classes and really, strict eating were a way of life. I think my daughters thought I was obsessed. I might have been.
Once I turned 40 (and this was right after my third child) I completely saw a change in my body and metabolism. I took crazy-hard-boot-camp classes, exercised regularly, and tried so hard to get down to my lean, lean self again….but it just wasn’t happening. At least by my standards.
…at 39 my belly was huge with Henry…and I still had about a month to go!
Something else happened in my 40’s….
I wanted to let go of being so concerned about body fat. I wanted to go out into the world and not worry about eating plain tuna fish, or plain chicken, and veggies with no salad dressing. I wanted just “be” and eat whatever (in moderation). I wanted to enjoy life with my family, and I wanted to ‘give back’ even more. For example, anytime I can help Henry’s teachers — I do. Also — I am able to see situations from many perspectives, and my interests changed.
Then, as Henry got older, I actually wanted to share a hot dog with him….and I found the healthiest version I could. I highly recommend the Kobe beef hotdogs…at $8.00 for a small pack at McCalls here in Los Feliz — they’re about as good as you can get! I wanted to taste potato chips again…..and I swear Utz on the east coast is THE BEST! I wanted to just enjoy life…go out on day trips in California, travel, see new things, try new foods, and share new experiences. I wanted to be there for Henry and get him the most help and early intervention as possible for his ASD. That took a lot of work. The kind of work I used to do for myself when the focus was on my fitness level and body fat %.
This California mama wants to be on the phone for hours with my daughters, who are living in Buffalo, NY. …marathon talking session? Yes! I want to be there, not out at the gym and unaccessible.
…when I saw this picture — I knew my “shredded” days were over! Me at 43.
Do I still work out? Yes!!! I hike some badass trails here in LA. I walk, and walk, and walk. I still do my push ups, ab-work, and favorite Pilates exercises. I will go to Yoga, and Spin……Will I skip a work out? Yes! if it means I have a chance to go to Las Vegas and hang out with my family — for sure! I don’t get to see them that often so a huge beer (with my sister by the pool) is my arm workout for the day! If I am exhausted — because taking care of Henry is exhausting — yes!!!! I will skip that workout.
I don’t have chiseled abs any more. I curse out the clothes in the dressing room, and leave feeling depressed. I just split my shorts last week, and that wasn’t the first time. Sometimes size 4 really just isn’t my size anymore (and that’s OK)! ….something’s gotta give, and sometimes it’s the seat of my pants as well as my lifestyle! I simply cannot go back to eating “so strict” that my stomach feels empty and my soul feels deprived. And that is what it takes for most women to have what society deems “a perfect figure”.
Thank goodness I am in my 40s — because my perspective has shifted. It is important to have your health, but keep evolving and embrace who you are.
Travel, hike, go some place you’ve never gone before. Do a wine tasting excursion (near or far)….visit your family, see a concert, go to a live sports game, visit the ocean, and when you get there– jump in and take a swim. I have to say that eating delicious pizza with my nineteen year old, enjoying ice-cream sandwiches on a HOT, HOT day with my four-year-old, and drinking sangria with my 24-year-old are much more meaningful. And if I want that killer body? Hey, this is L.A….there’s no shortage of plastic surgery here. I am totally joking. Sort of.
What does 40-ish look like?
It’s pretty special, and there is something very special about all of my friends. Here are just a few — faces of the 40’s — women who embrace life, have fun and make incredible contributions to the world. They are teachers, they are entrepreneurs, they are nurses, artists, care-givers, and performers. Some are moms, some not… Some are married, some single. They are all thoughtful of the world we live in, and truly know how to help others, and make a difference.
We don’t have perfect skin, or perfect bodies –by media standards anyway –but we do have beautiful skin and beautiful bodies. Most importantly we have beautiful minds, hearts, and souls. We are real, we are hard-working, we are compassionate, and we have all lost at least one (maybe more) close loved-ones by now. We’ve cried, we have laughed, some of us have divorced, some not; we have lost pets, and cried some more; we have had people betray us, and our hearts broken, and then picked ourselves up and moved on. We know how hard life can be, but we continue to embrace it, sometimes challenge it, and make a difference. It seems like society wants you to be afraid of your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and so on — like they are scary. But if you ask me — 40’s are totally refreshing!!!
Special thanks: Sandrine (feature image) and from top left: Betsy, Bryna, Laura, Barb, Jana, Mia & Theresa, Michelle Q., Michele T., Annie, Mimi, Alex, Robin, Kelli, Tricia, Chrissy, and Stacie