If everything everyone ever said after that phrase came true, we’d all be overweight, sick, miserable, or dead. I think about this all the time, and it came to light the other day at another work gathering, when a coworker announced she was expecting her first baby. She embodied the familiar emotions of joy and fear; however, by the time she left our so-called party, the latter mentioned f-word had her headed for the hills. Some sound bytes:
“Wow, great news! You look great – just wait till you’re near the end.”
“Congratulations! A girl?! Oooh, wait till she’s able to talk.” This one was followed by an exchange of knowing looks and eye rolls. (Don’t even get me started on people’s reactions when you tell them you’re having a girl. It’s an outrage.)
“How are you feeling? Just wait till she makes you sick to your stomach.”
“Are you tired now? Just WAIT till she’s born.”
“Oh, yes, just you wait. Life will never be the same.”
No shit, I thought, staring down the sustainable straw of my cocktail. Isn’t that a good thing??
The poor pregnant woman finally threw up her hands. “You guys are scaring me!”
No shit, I thought again. That’s almost all I could manage that afternoon.
I thought about all the times in my life people had uttered some form of the phrase, “wait till you’re blank.” Any of these sound familiar?
Wait till you go out into the real world.
Wait till you get a real job.
Wait till you get married.
Wait till you turn 30.
Wait till you have kids.
Wait till you turn 40.
Well, guess what, people? I’ve hit all of the above, and I’m still standing. I’d love to banish this sentence starter, or at least change the tone of how we say it. Imagine if someone jumped for joy and told my coworker, “WAIT till you have your baby – it’s LIFE CHANGING!” Or when you announce your engagement, people said, “OH, just you WAIT. Life is going to be even more wonderful now that you found someone to share it with!”
Call me Pollyanna – whatever – I’m okay with it.
There’s no doubt we’ve all been through hard days, weeks – years even – but why does that have to be the focus, especially when we talk to someone who hasn’t even lived through one of these events? A job is a job, and it’s real to anyone who has to wake up and do it. My students are only 12 and 13 years old, but their world is real to them. Vera Wang designed her first dress when she was 40, and Julia Child was 51 when she got her own cooking show. So there.
As for me – my thirties were better than my twenties, my husband makes my life sweeter, and there are no words for the love and gratitude I have for my children. Getting older and the 40s f-word still scare me, but every day I discover another really cool thing about this decade.
Just you wait.