Let me get one thing straight: I will be 40 in one year and one week. I'm fine with it. Sort of. (insert the "What's the alternative?" jokes here.) It's good to be almost 39. Though I've had to laugh with the past few purchases that I've made, saying, "Well, it's almost my birthday."
When I started this list I felt like I was ye olde lady, with my linen choices, tea, and posture shirts. It is funny and different to get older. I hope that gold nail polish and statement bags remain on my list when I'm 49 and 59.
Here we go. At 39, one needs:
1. Better Sheets
Because when you turn 39 you want to sleep, and the sheets you got when you moved into your grown up house don't feel soft enough anymore. Your bed is your friend, and where you do all the things Oprah tells you not to do in bed, including work, look at devices when you can't sleep, and sometimes eat. Do it in better sheets. After all, when you fall asleep before your nine-year-old does, you want nothing but the softest to cradle your tired-ass body.
2. Posture Shirt
They make these shirts that pull your shoulders back. Your physical therapist has been telling you about this for two years, since an intern rammed her car into yours and your neck just hasn't worked the same. With 38 came carpal tunnel, and though you didn't heed the therapist's advice when you were 36, you go to Amazon and order the shirt that will help you sit up better at work, even if it's ugly as hell. Go on and reach out to that personal trainer while you're at it.
You're cutting back on caffeine now, and you've become hooked on the iced green tea at Starbucks. So when you take your son to the mall you are lured in by the free samples at Teavana and walk about $50 poorer, with four ounces of coffee, rock sugar (lower on the glycemic index!), and a tea making contraption so you can brew your own overpriced loose leaf tea. Who are you?
4. A Better Bag
You're not that old. Mom got you a statement bag for your 35th birthday, and it's time to get a new one. So when your best friend sends you a snapshot of a gold Jonathan Adler bag with octagon handles (that's on a great sale), you get it. It is fabulous, and it has a shoulder strap, which, as you have learned with age, really is important. There's a compartment for glasses, which you don't need -- yet.
5. A Bad Ass Necklace
You have always wanted a tattoo with Elvis' TCB but probably won't ever do it. You design a necklace from Tatty Devine with your name in gold sparkles with Elvis' lightning bolts. You leave it in the cart, and take a look at it in between meetings.
6. Jason Isbell Tickets
Your father gives you these. You are excited to see one of your favorite performers, and his new album is awesome. You are equally excited that his show will be in in a venue where you can sit down and that you will be home in bed, with aforementioned sheets, by 11 p.m.
7. What You Don't Buy
Because you have started saving for your 40th birthday to Spain. There will be a beach house and friends who have known you for 20 years and still like you. So you put down the Trina Turk coverup, even if it's on sale.
8. A Day At The Pool
Where you will wear your mom suit, sans Trina Turk coverup. Your body does not look the same way it did when you were 29. It doesn't look the same way it did than when you were somewhere in your 30s. You were on a plane somewhere eating carbs, and now you are closer to home. You will book a room at a hotel with a pool where you will wear your sensible black bathing suit and gigantic sunglasses. You will fall asleep reading and not give a damn how you look. But you will get on a treadmill the following day because you care how you feel.
9. A Gold Manicure
When you get a manicure and a pedicure, your pedicure doesn't look right. Your finger tips are painted bright pink and your toes look red. The manicurist apologizes -- something wrong with the polish. He offers to redo your toes and you say OK and pick gold. "But it doesn't match," he says. "Gold matches with everything," you say with a smile. You are 39 with neon pink fingertips and gold toes.
10. A Jump Drive
A week before you turn 39 you lay in bed, which are not covered in sheets -- the sheets are in the laundry. You've done laundry all weekend, little boy clothes, and your clothes, and husband clothes. Your husband walks into the bedroom while you scroll through essays you have written -- sometimes half-written -- in your thirties. You are sitting on the mattress pad and say, "I've been reading my essays from the past seven years. I have to get them all out."
"What format are they in? Save them," your husband says.
"I think I will. I want to print them all out and tape them to the wall to see what's there," you say.