WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MEG?

January 30th, 2007

In light of the fact that this is the week I (gasp) turn forty, an age I complained in my last entry that many people seem to consider “over the hill,” a number of you wrote in to assure me that historically, there are many women who didn’t even reach their stride until they hit their forties (note: facts in the following entry have not been checked. But they are probably true enough):

Says Allie from Palm Beach Gardens Florida:

Madonna’s 7th album was released in the year 1998, when SHE turned 40. It was called Ray of Light, and it reached #2 on the US albums chart, and since then it has gone four times platinum. The following year, Madonna won 4 Grammy Awards for that album. Now if that’s not an accomplishment, then I don’t know what is!

You could not be more right, Allie. You are like a little ray of light yourself.

Jenna and Megan both pointed out that Rosa Parks was 42 when she refused to give up her seat on that bus. How awesome are both of you, Jenna and Megan?

Amanda wants us all to know that Joan Crawford won an Oscar for Best Actress in 1945 at age 40. Thank you, Amanda. (We will ignore Joan’s lack of mothering skills. No one is perfect, right?)

Another Amanda thinks Ellen DeGeneres is hilarious (so true) and points out that Ellen just turned 49.

And Ella (Ella Enchanted from the HarperTeenFanlit contest) wants us to know that forty is awesome. Demi Moore, who is not only above forty and fabulous, is married to a handsome younger man and has never looked better – she’s hotter than half the teen/tween/twentysomethings. Maybe even 3/4 of them!

Note from Meg: Also, GI JANE is one of my favorite movies.

Ella goes on to say that over-forty Helen Mirren just won Golden Globes and is Oscar-nominated for her role in The Queen. And Michelle Bachelet, well over forty, is the female President of Chile, while over-forty Annie Leibovitz is a photography mogul!

Thanks for that, Ella!

Meanwhile, Andrea reminds us that Oprah, while technically no longer in her forties, is still rocking at 52, pointing out that “I like her magazine; she always has cute shoes and great ideas, and she’s really nice–like starting a school in Africa. So I nominate Oprah for your list of women over 40 who do really cool stuff.”

I second that nomination, Andrea. Thank you!

Meanwhile, Katherine says: In 1860, when Susan B. Anthony was 40 years old, all that she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had worked for was secured by New York’s landmark Married Women’s Property Act except for one thing: the vote. Although she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton still had a long way to go, and wouldn’t in fact get the vote while living, I still think that this is a big achievement. Married women’s rights to wages, property, and the custody of their children in the event of a divorce was granted. Where would we be today if this hadn’t happened?

Thank you for reminding us of this, Katherine! Power to the ladies!

Kelly P would also like to point out that Elizabeth Blackwell did some good things in her forties. For one thing, she Organized U.S. Sanitary Aid Commission. Awesome, Kelly P! Who doesn’t like sanitation? I know I do.

And Ellen would like to let us know that Eleanor Roosevelt turned 40 in 1928, and did most of her best work, including appearing at the White House Easter Egg Roll in riding clothes, promoting the New Deal and civil rights, and chairing the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, after that point.

Ellen also says that Queen Elizabeth I turned 40 in 1573, and rallied her troops in the famous speech at Tilbury (the one where she said she had the heart and stomach of a king and didn’t think much of the Duke of Parma) in 1588. Also, she had a torrid affair with Robert Deveraux, the Earl of Essex, in the 1580s and 90s, ending when he brought an army into London without her permission, and she had him arrested for treason and then executed. So there’s no need to worry about turning 50 or 60 either.

Thank you for that, Ellen! Way to rock the history books!

I’m not actually worried about turning 40—or 50 or 60, for that matter. I just don’t want anyone throwing me a surprise party. I hate regular parties, and parties at which one happens to be the guest of honor are even worse. I used to love being the center of attention, of course. But like most people, I grew out of this by age twenty.

And so in order to avoid having a surprise (or any other sort) of party being thrown for me, I have run away.

I left a number of clues in my last entry whereby an astute reader might ascertain my whereabouts. But I realized they were much too vague when my own mother couldn’t figure out where I am, and left three messages on my cell phone (it didn’t help that I accidentally left her a wrong number for where I was staying, and when she called it, she found it had been disconnected. Naturally, she decided I had been kidnapped by Tom Cruise and forced to join the Scientologists).

Therefore, I am providing another clue. Here is a photo of something I saw out of a window where I was staying the other day:

You do not win a prize if you guess where I am–only my respect.

More later.

Much love.

Meg