I’m turning forty in less than forty hours. Preparation has begun in earnest. I’ve purchased night cream. I’ve begun to learn the art of tying scarves. I’ve made a list of disastrous-for-my-health foods that I can no longer eat. I’ve done a thorough examination of my scalp in search of the first gray hair. I’ve started reading faster so I can get though every last book I want to read in my life.
I’ve actually begun to feel wise. Not in a Gandalf sort of way, but in a worldly-urban-woman-hitting-my-stride sort of way. And then it hit me: I am not wiser because I’m (almost) forty. I’m wiser because my three-year-old daughter—for whom middle age is not even an abstract concept much less something she can spell—has taught me a lot of stuff.