Hell yes, raise your glasses, y’all: today is my birthday and I’m celebrating turning a juicy, chocolatey, delicious, badass 45. Yup, that’s right: the four and the five, yo.
I suppose that in some circles, on this day I should consider myself middle aged. Which is a kind of nice way of calling somebody “old.” Why just a few days ago, a popular brand seeking bloggers to help promote its products emphasized it was looking for moms between ages 24 and 40, making it clear that anybody above age 40 is too old/stale/boring/out-of-touch/washed-up/dead wrong to say anything useful about its company, much less be associated with it. Of course, I lodged my thoughts about such folly—the ridiculousness of it. I’d be really interested, too, in whether that company would turn down the services of, say, Janet Jackson (47), Halle Berry (47), Gabrielle Union (41), Nia Long (43), Sanaa Lathan (42), Jada Pinkett (42), or Jennifer Lopez (44). Right.
Look, I do accept that I am no longer young. This is a truth. But my truth is this: I’ve never felt stronger, wiser, more confident, beautiful, sexy or smarter than on this day. Chalk that up to learning. And experience. Living. A smidge of “I really don’t give a damn” righteousness. And my trainer, Cliff “Hollywood” Boyce, who has built up not just my muscle and metabolism, but my strength—physically and mentally (more on this in a blog post soon to come!).
Each of these things have picked up steam over the years, for sure: I am smarter than the 17-year-old that won a full-tuition college scholarship, a more cunning writer than the 25-year-old who got recruited to be the youngest and only African American political reporter for the New York Daily News, and a better author than the 28-year-old who got her first book deal based off of a features story she hardly thought important. I am a better wife (at least I hope I am) than the clueless 28-year-old who thought love was enough to sustain a marriage and a better mother, too, than the scared 31-year-old first-time mom who pushed out her first, beautiful baby girl and prayed to God, Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah, Ma’at and Rastafari that she wouldn’t break her. And I am more solidified now than ever in my heart’s desires—what it is that makes me happy, and the things that do not and what I will and will not do and what I will and will not say “yes” to and who I do and don’t want to be around and, well, being 100 percent in Denene’s corner.
I am not perfect. I know I have plenty more work to do.
I know, too, that I also have a lot more living to do.
And at 45, I’m just getting warmed up.
Stand back—watch me work.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.