Before you roll your eyes any harder, know that I’ve taken careful notes since our last Mother-Daughter Talk, when your father left the house for half an hour to buy a whole suckling piglet. This year’s Talk, though, is special. Because you’re turning thirty-something soon, I figured it was high time we had it. You’ll remember our first Talk, which took place on the sidewalk outside a Home Depot while your father was buying a lathe. I told you about periods, and you kept asking me about cooties, and I threw up my arms and screamed, “I give up! Go ask your father.”
But back to this year’s Talk. There’s a reason I called my 30s “Thuberty” or “Puber-two.” Your body’s going through many, many changes, and I want to be able to say “I told you so!” when it all happens to you. So put down that cup of Strawberry Activia Yogurt and give a listen…
Remember acne? Remember how it wasn’t a thing, and then, suddenly, it was, on your forehead and nose and cheeks and chin? Well, that’s wrinkles. You’ll notice them in the throes of strong emotion, when you’re laughing or crying or glaring at somebody the way you are right now. My advice: don’t emote. Also, wear sunscreen when you’re out, and don’t drop a hundred dollars on an anti-wrinkle cream. I did, and look what it did for me (according to your father: nothing)! Wrinkles are acne for adults. Only, they’re not going away. Ever.
Hey, don’t mope. You’ll wrinkle. Think of it this way: every moment’s a bit more wrinkle-free than the next, and the next, and the next.
I’m telling you all this because I love you.
Honey, remember when you subsisted on pints of Cherry Garcia for two weeks in college with no consequence? Well, don’t forget. If genetics do their duty (between the two of us: just look at your father!), you’ll eat a French fry a few years from now and swear that it regenerated itself in your thighs. It’s your body’s way of saying, “That was the fried potato-straw that broke your metabolism’s back, so it’s all downhill from here, jerkface.” Accountability, darling. Get used it.
And remember hormones? They made you feel a certain way. Turning forty will make you feel a certain way, too. If my own experience is any indication, you’ll suddenly decide to decorate your kitchen à la farmhouse and your bathroom à la beach. You’ll buy Skinny Girl cocktails and read books because Oprah told you to.
… “What about menopause” you ask? Whoa, that’s diving deep. Let’s not be overeager. That deserves its own “Talk” entirely. Next year, maybe? We can make it a Facebook event.
Anyway. Take it from me, sweetheart, half the battle will be in your head. When Ben Franklin hit 70, he started subtracting a year from his age at each birthday, and by the time he died he thought he was 56. Now, I’m not telling you to do that — heck, if you start too early, you might age yourself backwards into actual puberty, shudder — but I am telling you to keep the you in youth. So, when people jokingly ask you what the youths are up to nowadays, you can say, “They’re listening to Fresh Air with Terry Gross and filing their income tax returns on time, thank you very much.” Bask in their stunned silence — they’ll wish they were still card-carrying members of The Youth.
I think I just heard your father in the kitchen, so I’ll wrap up the Talk with this last remark: what’s said during the Talk stays in the Talk. Bring your father into the loop, and we’ll wind up with Mother-Father-Daughter Talk, which kind of sounds like an abomination.