Forty, Please.


“I think I’m going to turn forty this summer.”

“No, you’re not,” says my mom, who – of all people – can call my bluff. And also she seems startled by my declaration. “I was there when you were born. It wasn’t forty years ago.”

“Almost. Close enough.”

“Tricia, you’re turning thirty-nine.”

“But how can that be? How can I not be forty?”

“These conversations are weird.”

“I don’t like thirty-nine. I don’t like odd numbers.”

“I know.”

“Plus, everyone will think I’m kidding when I say I’m thirty-nine. It’s kind of cliché, like people who don’t want to be older just say they’re perpetually thirty-nine. I, on the other hand, want to be forty.”

“It doesn’t work that way.”

“It could, though. Who really cares how old I am?”

“I do. As your mother, I care very much how old you are.”

“I’ll just be forty twice. This year and next year.”

“I am not playing this game for the next year.”

“You can say, ‘This is Tricia. She’s pretending to be forty.'”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“My thirties have been really, really long. I definitely feel like someone who has lived a decade like this one should be forty by now.”

“But you’re not.”

“I might be. Twice.”

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. My mother once introduced me to someone as “This is my daughter. She’s almost 40.”

    To which I replied, “Mother, I don’t mind being 40, but can’t I hit 38 and 39 first?”

    We both had a good chuckle over that one.

    But she was notorious for lying about her age. She used to tell her first grade students that she was “99” and lied about her age. It all started with being ‘plenty nine’ around the time she was 49.

    On her 66th birthday, I told her, “Mom, if you turn your age upside down, you really are 99!

    She passed away on 9/9/2000. So even in death she was trying to be 99. 🙂

  2. YES YES YES. I turned 40 last month. And I realized that I was actually excited about it bc YES! 30s are loooong and somehow 39 seems more old and washed-up and 40 feels full of potential.

  3. You are too stinking cute!

  4. I spent two years being 36. Sometime during the first year, I realized I was only 35. I literally lost track.

  5. I’m 49 and NOT looking to be 50 a day sooner than I have to! I will tolerate this odd number as long as possible 🙂

  6. I want to be forty, too, Tricia. Ever since I turned 41, over three decades ago.

  7. Don’t wish away a year of your life, Tricia. It goes by much too quickly.

  8. Bwahaha!!!!

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