Dianne McDonald: A feminist turns 40

Dianne McDonald

Guess who’s turning 40? Me. I can’t believe it. I am entering another age-defined decade that – God willing – I will be part of for the next 10 years.

Some say 40 is the new 30. Baloney! It marks the onset of middle age. Argh!

Yes, I know you are only as old as you feel and age is just a number. Blah, blah, blah. That’s just some inner peace thing made up to help you deal with the fact that your body has lasted 40 years and is in a slow, yet steady, decline.

I am ready for 40. Bring it on!

We women experience our own version of midlife crisis. It’s more like a midlife reflection.

Are we living the life we want to live? Are we happy with our partners, friends, family, career and self-image?

Many 40-year-old women are often seen driving minivans or SUVs, or driving themselves crazy wondering what a 40-year-old woman “should be” driving. Perhaps an ecofeministically friendly hybrid or a liberating Porsche?

My 40- and 50-year-old friends are in the best physical shapes of their lives. When we were 20, we could eat anything we wanted. At 40, we still eat what we want, but know we have to run three miles and do 100 sit ups to make sure it won’t stick to our butts.

Part of my “40 reflection” includes recognizing the good and bad of my past, appreciating the countless blessings in my life now, and looking forward to maximizing happiness for myself, my family and my communities.

The older you get, you may find you want to “pay it forward” and make a positive contribution in the world. So, I have decided to support 40 feminist-friendly causes. That’s not unrealistic when you consider how many “causes” you support, such as sports fundraisers, school groups and the bottomless pits of teenagers’ pockets.

Some of my favorite things start with the letter “f,” including family, friends, feminist, fun, and now f-f-f-forty!

Happy birthday to me, and to all our sistahs facing those funky numbers this year. Face it with fun!

Dianne McDonald is a Patriot Ledger contributor and working mother who lives in Marshfield, Mass., with her husband and five kids.