I’m HUGELY excited to welcome my US sister to the blog today – a big round of applause to the seriously gorgeous and absolutely funny Jen-Jen Tucker!!!! Jen has written two fabulous memoirs with just the best titles ever and I dare you to buy them and not fall in love with them.
Today Jen is talking about something we will ALL go through/are ALL going through – GROWING old. I love the message she brings, as it’s one I strongly believe in myself! Let’s all grow old gracefully!!! (well, as gracefully as those of us who struggle to be ladies can do)!
Without further ado… Jen Tucker!!!
Good morning! Thank you so, so much Rachel for graciously letting me bamboozle my way on to your blog. It’s been a wonderful week with the launch of my new memoir, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt, and ending it here is the icing on the gluten free cake! Rach, thank you for your encouragement, your friendship, our inside jokes, and tolerating the fact that I can’t help but tweet to you about my mundane days while you’re several time zones away sleeping. I love you to bits.
Old Lady Problems
When I look back at my eighteen-year-old self, I had the world on a string. I had everything I needed, and wanted, right at my fingertips. As a senior in high school, my list of “must-haves” to be a fulfilled young lady, consisted of electric blue mascara, a bottle of Sun In (always next to my hairdryer), a weekly pizza date at J&G’s in Sylvania, Ohio, and the latest Madonna cassette tape. Not too tall of an order to fill, to make a teenage gal happy, right? My busy social calendar, spring break, and spending all of my paychecks at the mall made finishing my last year of High School tolerable.
Once I turned twenty-one, I had evolved. Translation: I could drink legally and not end up in the pokey! That’s always a plus, right? During this new decade, I graduated from Purdue University, met and married my soul mate, Mike, gave birth to two gorgeous boys, all while the energy and stamina of my youth remained. It felt good to be me. I loved having busy days at the local zoo and museums with my sweet sons, and evenings out with Mike and our friends. I was always up for adventures with girlfriends, weekend getaways, and football tailgates. Bring it!
When I woke up the morning of my twenty-ninth birthday, I instantly knew that something about me had changed. My once perky boobs (even after two babies) seemed to wander towards my waistline. My rear end, lifted and looking good thanks to Spinning classes, had migrated towards the back of my knees. Laugh lines appeared, which were not at all laughable by the way. All of this transpired while I slumbered.
In one night’s time.
This was not the best way to wrap up a decade bookmarked by my frivolous youth on one end, and leaving this decade behind on the other. The nerve of Mother Nature…
I spent this entire year fretting about turning thirty. I felt like I was abandoning the best parts of my past. Leaving them behind. Gone forever. Leaving my twenties meant becoming a grownup, and who the heck wants to do that?!? “Not I,” said Jen-Jen.
Hellooooooo thirties! I adored you when you breezed into my life! Wow, was I wrong about you; my humblest apologies. What I loved most about you, was the opportunity you presented to start a new decade with a zero parked in the last digit of my age. It was like beginning life anew! Ahh—what a ride we had together. You were present when I began my writing career, as I welcomed my sweet daughter, and when we moved across the country with my family. However, something shifted in our relationship along the way. I noticed as the numbers of my age went up, so did the numbers on the scale. That was just cruel. Why did you betray me like that, my thirties?! How could you do that to our relationship; to me, when we started off so compatible?! I thought we had something special. Bygones…
I am proud to say that I’m presently a card carrying member of the forty club. What a gift it has been. Things that were once important to me, surface worries I put on myself as a woman, are no longer a weight around my neck. So what if my ugly bunions stick out of my flip flops; big whoop. I would rather stay home for pizza and movies with my kids, than get dolled up and paint the town red. I spend fewer mornings straightening my hair with irons, brushes, and endless bottles of gunk and embrace my God-given curls. Yoga isn’t making my cellulite budge like running once did, and I’m okay with that. I embrace my hail damaged-looking thighs. I might not even put on makeup today! How do you like that, electric blue mascara wearing teenager in my past? I bet you are so embarrassed to be a part of me right now, and that just makes me giggle with glee. Guess what else my teenage self? I’m forty, fabulous and I am NOT a grownup; so there! Ha!
Other interesting developments have occurred in this new decade. I now swallow half a bottle of antacids before I hit the sheets so my acid reflux doesn’t disturb my beauty rest. I also indulge in a bedtime snack of Halls cough drops to prevent hacking fits in the middle of the night. Sleep aids are in my repertoire as well. Without them, I would never get back to bed after I use the bathroom several times each night. Mike, my wonderful husband, calls our family room couch his second master suite on the nights I snore. He has ended his attempts to wake me up by tugging on the sheets, punching me in the arm, or telling me that I sound like an Amtrack train pulling into the station. He simply grabs his pillows, and moseys down the stairs. I love that man.
What interesting journeys we all embark on as women. We all take different paths, yet many of us are attempting to arrive at the same place. Sloughing off of our hearts, minds, and spirits what our young selves deemed as important, worthy, or beautiful. What’s beautiful is you, at any age, at any mile marker in life. Never forget that you hold the key to let all that “stuff” go, and love yourself just as you are.
May you always be blessed, and bless others as well.
Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like. A former teacher and educator, she worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings for many years. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries. Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, “The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out” which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children.
Thanks so much for coming Jen Jen… please do come again soon. x Rach!