I was on a weekend getaway with my family recently in New Hampshire, when I bumped into an acquaintance who lives in the town next to mine. We knew each other well enough to say hello and chat a bit. We talked about skiing and North Conway and how great it is.
She asked me if I skied and I told her I hadn’t put them on since before children. Since my oldest is 14, that makes it about 15 years since the last time I had skied. I was bursting with pride because I didn’t fall down once!!
I told her how excited I was that this 45 year old body could still behave like a 20 something’s. She looked at me like she was a bit confused. She then said, “Wow! You do NOT look 45.”
I didn’t know what to say.
Is this a compliment?
What does 45 look like?
Do I look older or younger?
Then I went back to, what does 45 look like?
I thought about it for a few days and this is what I have come up with.
1. 45 looks tired. I can’t remember the last time I slept in my own bed without a kid waking up in the middle of the night needing a hug for a bad dream or an arm or leg in my face. I have 4 kids who are active and require me to drive a lot, cook, do laundry and a lot of cleaning. We also do lots of homework, lots of arguing and an awful lot of laughing.
2. 45 looks bigger. For me, anyway. I have been fighting weight gain since the sperm hit the egg 15 years ago and the numbers keep going up, unfortunately. I am having fun working out, trying to get the numbers back down, though.
3. 45 looks lighter. I no longer care so much about what others think. Obviously, there are a select few people in my life that I truly love and respect and I care what they think but, overall, people can and do talk crap about me and I simply don’t care. As women, we spend so much time worrying about what others think and say about us when it really only matters what we think of ourselves. I don’t think I understood that truly until I hit my 40’s.
4. 45 looks ballsy. Yep, ballsy! I do things now that I never would have done in my 20’s. I speak publicly about being a business owner and try to help as many people as possible. I get up in front of strangers and judges and do taekwondo at tournaments. I recently got on skis for the first time in 15 years (I was terrified). I am on the radio. I write. I put myself out there and allow myself to be vulnerable.
5. 45 looks (or feels) like a kid who is still learning how to be an adult. I hugged my oldest the other night, he was upset. I caught our reflection in the mirror while hugging and thought to myself, how on earth did I get the honor and privilege of parenting this kid? I am still a kid myself trying to find my way through this life, and here I am making the rules.
6. 45 looks grateful. I am grateful to have a husband who loves me and four children who teach me why I was put here on this earth. I am grateful for a roof over my head and food in my belly. I am grateful that my parents had me young and I have them both in my life still. I am grateful for REALLY good friends and I am super grateful for such a tight knit extended family.
7. 45 looks happy. I am happy. I truly appreciate what I have. I love my husband, my children and my businesses. I understand now, more than ever, that money really can’t buy happiness.
I am grateful that this woman made me really think long and hard about what 45 looks like. I don’t know if I look my age. Hopefully, when people look at me, they see a mom, wife, friend who tries to be a good person, because every day I try to be a little bit better than I was yesterday.
Jennifer Ormond is a Boston-based entrepreneur, author, radio personality, blogger, mom to 4 amazing kids, and wife. Lover of business, coffee, writing, children and parenting. Queen of sarcasm and eternal optimist!