By next week at this time, I will have celebrated another birthday.
You know, as I make my way firmly into my 40s, I can't help but ponder the pros and cons of being middle-aged.
You see, at least for women, at a certain age, we come to a realization about a great many things in life.
For one thing, we old chicks have long since bid sad adieu to a number of the joys of youth, including the delight one takes in consuming a dinner consisting solely of a double-order of McDonald's large French fries and a chocolate milkshake - at midnight - without ever having to worry about gaining an ounce of weight.
I mean, today, just looking at a chocolate chip cookie tacks 4.3 pounds onto the frame of the average 42-year-old woman.
Seriously, cheesecake hasn't passed these lips since the Renaissance.
Another thing time steals from us mature girls? Bravado. Consider the bold outspokenness of the typical teen. Can you imagine talking to peers and elders today the way you did when you were 16?
Uh, didn't think so.
Only with age does the common sense communication filter materialize because, by 40-whatever, we ought to know better than (for instance) to ask a woman, any woman: a) how old she is, b) when she's going to get married, c) how much she weighs, and/or d) when she's going to have another baby.
And, another plus to being older is life experience. Not only have we been there and done that for just about every imaginable scenario, but we 40-something gals have also had enough life experience to flesh out a resume and whip up a gourmet dinner on a shoestring budget and in about an hour with no prior notice. Plus:
l We can calm 15 screaming children in about as many minutes with little more than a stick of butter, a bag of mini-marshmallows, some puffed rice cereal - and the wave of our hand.
l We no longer hate other girls; especially because we have mastered the delicate art of determining which friends we should invite over for dinner parties, which ones will interact harmoniously with our co-workers and which ones we should meet out for coffee - solo.
And just when I was thinking being a mature woman was all harmony and balance, I remembered some of the other aspects of aging that make us want to run screaming straight into retirement.
Consider these, which are just a few of my un-favorite things: bladder incontinence, short-term memory loss, sagging arm flab, middle-age onset acne, inexplicable overnight weight gain and, oh yes, waking up drenched in a cold, cold sweat.
The best thing about being older? It's a toss up between watching your children grow, understanding that you're never too old to need a hug from your mom and dad, or realizing that, even if we live to be a 100, we'll never know how blessed our lives have truly been - and trying to appreciate it every day.
That, plus knowing how to keep our cool, even during hot flashes.
So, happy birthday to us, 40-somethings! We are going to totally rock middle age.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.