The immortal words of my aunt.
Exchanged a series of texts with a close girlfriend this morning. She just turned 40 a few weeks ago...she's about a month younger than I am. Unfortunately, she's already starting to exhibit some signs of premenopause, and is in the middle of having some tests run to clarify whether this is in fact what's going on. We traded first-mammogram stories and agreed that 40 may not necessarily provoke a mindset difference (both of us went through it with no midlife-related emotional trauma) but that physically, it really is the beginning of some years of major change. 100 years ago we'd be at the end of our lifespans, so I'm glad for the wonders of modern medicine, but this has been kind of a reminder that the human body didn't last all that long until relatively recently in the grand scheme of things.
After I put my phone down, I started to think about the value of girlfriends. No offense to all the beloved men in our lives, but there are some conversations I don't want to have in detail with my husband, let alone any other guy. He just can't relate, and he (like many guys, I'd guess) feels at a loss with problems that he can't fix. There's a lot to be said for being able to laugh and commiserate with people who really understand how you're feeling: after all, if you can't find the humor in tough situations, you're just screwed. The older I get, the more I value my girlfriends for this.
It's been an interesting shift, actually. For most of my life, the majority of my best friends were guys. I couldn't handle large numbers of women together--the high pitched shrieks and giggles and cattiness. My college dorm (all female) made me absolutely bat-shit nuts and I avoided it assiduously. Somewhere along the line, though--probably right around the time I had kids--I began to understand the value that the camaraderie of women could add to my life, and that has only deepened in the years since.
The women in your life are the ones who exult with you in your good news. The ones who organize your sister's funeral reception for you when you are paralyzed with grief and can't make a decision to save your life. The ones who come to the doctor with you when you are terrified or talk you off a ledge when you've gotten scary test results. The ones who listen to you when you need to talk about your children or are upset about something at home and need to vent. The ones who will come over and feed your dog or check on the crockpot that you can't remember turning off or look to see if your house lights are back on after a power outage. And the ones who can make you smile when you really want to cry, or just give you a hug when there are no words.
Giving a shout-out to the girls tonight. However old they might be!!