What they never tell you (along with the fact that women are not pregnant 9 months -- but really 10) is that life after 40, okay 45, offers one humbling self-realization after another. And most of them are about your body...and how it is not acting the way it once had.
First, there's the fact that you can't just diet for a couple days and drop the 5 pounds you need to to be able to it into that hot, new dress. In fact, to lose 5 pounds, you will have to diet, do miles on the treadmill every morning, and not even look at a piece of bread for months. Then, there are all the insulting effects of the dwindling away of hormones, otherwise known as menopause. These include hot flashes, oddball hairs growing out of the chin, inexplicable aches and pains, regularly waking up at 4AM, more hot flashes, the inability to handle anyone else's driving (especially your spouse or partner's), dry skin, turkey neck skin on YOUR neck, poochy tummy development, more hot flashes, and a chronic and complete inability to tolerate phone calls any longer than 3 minutes.
And, of course, there's the inevitable one...more...thing.
For me, the latest humbling revelation is that I am losing my hair. This is just so unfair. It would be okay if I were going out for Buddhist monk, but I'm not. In fact, I have never had that much hair to begin with, having been endowed with the typical brown hair of most of my West Irish clan -- the mousy, flat, and thin variety. When I was a kid, I hoped that I would somehow begin to grow my grandmother's hair, a thick, wavy auburn. My mother even encouraged this hope, probably because she felt bad for me and also because there WERE tiny, thin streaks of some color approaching a watery, burnt orange amongst my tresses. But, alas, my hair just grew browner and more dowdy by the year. Finally, in college, I downed a tray of margaritas, went to the local barber, and swore I wouldn't get out of his chair until he had given me a "just quit ROTC" cut. Fortunately, the androgenous thing was in then -- what with Bowie, Grace Jones, and Jagger running around -- so I wasn't so far off in the hair department.
But now, not even a white hair lie from my mother could stem my sure knowledge that I might soon be called Ol' Patchy Pate. I'm just hoping that, what with the collective thinning of my fellow baby boomers' hair, the industry will catch up to me with some wunderkur.
In the meantime, I may as well just head back to the barber's -- or the nearsest ashram -- for a good shave.