Guest Post: Norinne Totten

Thanks to Facebook and the blogsphere, I’ve been able to keep in touch with Norinne Totten, a fellow writer from Susan Ito’s Literature of Parenthood workshop. It’s been five, maybe six?, years since Norinne and I took that wonderful workshop from Susan. In our online class I was always impressed by Norinne’s essays and fiction. Thank you, Norinne, for keeping the connection and for sharing your thoughts at Motherlogue!


I’ll admit it; I’m a little freaked out about turning 40. Mainly because I just can’t believe I’ve been alive that long. Yes, elementary school memories are a little fuzzier, but just yesterday I was rocking out to Motley Crüe in my car and for one moment I thought I was 15 again, dancing around my room with an air microphone.

I could swear it was just a few years ago that I picked out my prom dress. Wasn’t I just graduating from college? Didn’t I just get my first job and had all this hope and wonder for my future?

Uh…no. I’m 36 and skidding closer to the new 30, 40. Or, is 40 the new 50?  I can’t remember because my memory really isn’t what it used to be.

I have to admit, when I was a kid, 40 was ancient. And now, I’m happy to say I feel healthy, I don’t have many wrinkles and have no need or desire to color my hair. I don’t feel old but I do notice that fewer guys check me out when I walk down the street. I try to attribute that to my wedding ring and kids that are usually at my hip screaming about something or other. But the truth is I’m almost 40.

What I do truly love about being alive this long is how much I have learned about myself. As cliché as it sounds, I am comfortable being me.

I care less and less about what other people think. I don’t feel the need to explain why I would rather eat ice cream with my husband and watch stand up on Netflix then go out. I like not always being carded. I’m glad I’m finished with school, and have no desire to ever go back in a formal setting. I know I’m lying when I tell my son, “School is fun!” (And you have 12 more years of it!!) I’m so happy those days are done.

I have no problem wearing the same shoes everyday to pick up my son from preschool. I don’t care if my hair is up in a sloppy bun and I barely notice when my eyebrows have grown out of their desired shape. My mani/pedi consists of remembering to clip my nails when I’m trimming the kids’. (Maybe this is why the guys stopped looking?)

Maybe I’m just lazy, but, I think it’s because I’m older. It really is wonderful to move past all of those worries that I used to have and just focus on what is truly important, family and my health.

So maybe I’m not as freaked out as I thought I was…after writing this, I can say I’m actually looking forward to it. Saying I’m 36 is kind of boring…it will be cool to say…I’m 40.

I hope.

Happy Birthday Liz!

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3 Responses to Guest Post: Norinne Totten

  1. Jan Udlock says:

    Liz, what a terrific pick!

    Norinne, where were you when I was turning 40? Great advice for anyone about to turn the big 4 0 !

  2. I love this lighter look at 40 from Norinne, Liz. I, um, still rock out to 80s tunes and love that I can introduce my kids to old-school videos on YouTube. I’m not always cool with 40 but, then again, I wasn’t always cool with 20 or 30 either.

    And, by the way, Liz, I smell a book deal stemming from this blog! How about, “The Insiders’ Guide to Turning 40.”?

  3. Nice idea about the book! Norinne, your mani/pedi comment cracks me up – I’m looking at my ragged cuticles right now. And the eyebrows! I’ve noticed the only time I really care about these things is when I find myself out for a night sans kiddos and look around the bar/restaurant to see a bunch of fashionista 20-somethings surrounding me. But how often does that happen? I’m usually doing something with the kids, at a park or at home so why not wear the red slip-ons every day?

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