Crazy in Love, Even at 40

As PittGirl approaches her 40th birthday, she rekindles her love for Pittsburgh.



 

I’m turning 40 this month. Not to make this column all about me, but . . . WAH. I wish I could tell you I’m one of those women who embrace 40. They love it and say, “Forty is the new 25” — or some other lie — as they pluck gray hairs from their hairlines and chins.

I’m no longer a “young professional.” Considering I generally show up to meetings 10 minutes late, in jeans and with Dunkin’ Donuts receipts and half-empty Combos bags spilling out of my purse, I tend to use the term “professional” loosely anyway.

I no longer qualify for the 40 Under 40 awards.

I’m 10 years from having the Nielsen ratings system give up on me because it thinks I’ll watch only “60 Minutes” and “Wheel of Fortune” before I polish off a glass of Ensure and head to bed.

I am officially middle-aged. Mid-life. Half-death.

I no longer can gush about the new hottie on the Pirates, Penguins or Steelers teams without sounding like a cradle-robbing cougar. I’d rather be labeled anything than that. Even a “tunnel-braker.”

I now have two churches. The new one is the wrinkle-cream aisle at Target. The Sunday-paper circular is my Bible, and Olay is my god.

Perhaps worst of all, I’ll have to check off the “40s” box in the age section of my other church’s weekly communicator card. It will be the hardest pen stroke I’ve made since I signed in for my first mammogram.

But as with every roller coaster that sends you screaming into a terrifying abyss, there’s an upside, too: Turning 40 changes how you see Pittsburgh and what you value about it.

When I fell in love with the city, I was 29. My love was focused on the external. It was summed up as, “Look at this beautiful skyline, these yellow bridges over these sparkling waters, these stadiums, these inclines, this fountain. Don’t you wish you lived here, too?”

As I approach 40, I’ve pulled back the curtain to find the true depth of what Pittsburgh means to me, beyond its superficial beauty, and found a more meaningful love for the Steel City. 

It’s a love for Pittsburgh’s realness, particularly in its people. One of my sisters now lives in Richmond, Va., and she once mentioned she couldn’t wait to visit home because she was fed up with how fake everyone is in her town. They’re wearing makeup to the bus stop. They’ve crafted façades of perfect lives. They live to impress.

Regardless of residing down South, my sister still is Pittsburgh because my white-collar father raised us with a blue-collar core, as many Pittsburgh dads did. The only way she’s wearing makeup to the bus stop is if there’s a 99 percent chance Brad Pitt will be there.

As a general rule, Pittsburgh’s people aren’t awestruck with your “impressive” self. They don’t care if you look like a million bucks or three cents. They’ll gauge you by your manners more than your Manolos. I love that. I love that we are who we are, and we’re not apologizing for it or trying to cover it up. We’re just . . . Yinz.

Beyond that realness, I love that Pittsburgh is small and thriving. It’s growing but not outgrowing its britches; that means it feels like a friendly community more than a bustling city.

Together, we’ve watched a wilted flower rise up to the sun, thanks to a little TLC. When you’ve helped to take care of something like that, you want to pass it on to your kids so that they’ll grow to treasure it, too. Despite its flaws, Pittsburgh has become a cherished heirloom for me to pass down.

It’s something I can show my kids from Mount Washington and say, “For deeper reasons than you’re seeing right now, I love this city. I’ll teach you to love it because it’s real, it’s honest, it’s worthy — and you can make a difference here. So you’ll take care of it and make it even better when it’s your turn.”

The skyline, rivers, bridges, inclines and stadiums are just the icing on that birthday cake . . . topped with 40 candles.

Praise the ’Burgh, and pass the bag of Werthers. 


Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

The historic Downtown building reopens after a two-year, $100 million renovation.
The Section of Mystery: What’s behind the door?

The Section of Mystery: What’s behind the door?

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History opens new permanent exhibit featuring 3-D holograms.
Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

Our JazzLive International Festival Cheat-Sheet

We break down each day of the festival so you don’t have to improv your way through it.
Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Avatar-inspired Cirque Du Soleil Show Takes Off in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine has a backstage view of “Toruk: The First Flight,” which runs this week at Consol Energy Center.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Research led Kellee Maize to discover she is the daughter of the former teen singing sensation. Now she and McNichol are teaming up to develop a television series to help other parents and children find each other.
Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

The historic Downtown building reopens after a two-year, $100 million renovation.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

The restaurant and bar in Oakland welcomes college students and locals alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

Perspective Accompanies Long-Awaited Second Crosby Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins may be more poised to establish a dynasty in 2016 than they were in 2009.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Vintage signs can add a pop of personality to your decor.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

True to Tradition: Incorporating Your Heritage at Your Wedding

Honoring tradition at weddings is important for many couples, whether that means including heirlooms and unique customs or hosting a full-blown second ceremony.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

Decor Calling: Home Furnishings Go Mobile

House15143 is Sewickley debuts “House Calls,” a mobile Airstream designed to bring the shopping experience to you (or an event near you).

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

Comments