Looking Forward to Myself at Forty

Holly Jahangiri

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I've been looking forward to turning forty since I was twelve, and here's why. Years ago, I picked up one of the magazines that my mother or my grandmother had tossed aside, and started to flip through the pages. One article caught my eye. Its theme was beauty at all ages, and it featured women of ages ranging from eighteen to sixty-something. Perusing the photos, I decided then and there that forty would be my year.

The eighteen-year-old was gorgeous. Of course she was gorgeous. She looked like your typical supermodel, a dime a dozen. Every magazine features scads of gorgeous eighteen-year-olds. Big deal. Let's see if they stand the test of time. I flipped the page.

The twenty-year-old looked about the same. Drop-dead gorgeous, natch. Perhaps there was a more knowing look in her eye, a little spark of something that comes with experience. It might as easily have been a trick of lighting and makeup.

The thirty-year-old was attractive, but her eyes reflected that “deer caught in the headlights" uncertainty. Every hair was in place; the tiny lines on her face just enough to add a bit of “character. " Her makeup was flawless, her dress was lovely. But there was something missing. Even at twelve, I knew what that elusive, missing quality was. It was confidence.

And that's where the forty-year-old shone. I turned the page, and there she was. That was the look I hoped to see in the mirror by the age of forty, and that was the look I knew instinctively could take a lifetime to earn. Confident, and serene. Eyes that sparkled with warm humor and the ability to laugh at herself. Her eyes spoke volumes, but this was the gist of it: “I know who I am, I know what I want out of life, and I have arrived. . . "

We'll see in a few years if I've earned it, or if I'll have to wait another decade to see that face in the mirror. It's been a long time since I saw that photograph, but I'm still looking forward to meeting myself at forty.

Holly Jahangiri is a professional writer who claims, tongue-in-cheek, to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, Erma Bombeck, and O'Henry. Holly is an author on Writing.Com (http://www.Writing.Com/ ), and you can buy her books at Lulu (http://www.lulu.com/hjahangiri ).


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