Monday, November 4, 2013

Reflections on 40

Forty. It used to be labeled "Over the Hill." Now, I hear it's the new 30. Well, it begins today for me and I've gotten mixed reviews. I have some friends on the bright, sunny, grass-all-green side of the hill and they look at 40 as though it's some distant, off-in-the-future age. It'll take a long while to get there and they'll be living it up until then.

I also have some friends meandering down the other, shady, more relaxed side of the hill, and they look back at 40 fondly and say to themselves, "Wow...I thought I was old then..."

As I reach the milestone myself, I am blessed to have a few friends climbing to the peak along with me. They are my sisters-in-arms. We lift each other up when the number gets us down. We commiserate over the new aches and pains and moody blues. And together, we are motivated to soften the numerical blow. But we're all asking the same questions: Where did the time go? How did 40 find us so fast?

I've never been fixated on numbers. Age, weight, bank balance, price, social media "likes", etc., number ratings have never been my go-to for measuring value. But when my husband turned 40 a few years ago, it took me by surprise. I wondered how that could be. It felt as though he'd just sprung it on me, like, "Hi honey, I'm home, and by the way, now I'm 40." Really? Did I think that time marched on with no real impact on his age? He didn't seem 16 years older than when we married. And I surely didn't feel that much older.

Now, as I sit on the cusp, I'm equally perplexed that I didn't see it coming...that 40 crept up on me too. Was I in denial? Maybe I was. Maybe I wasn't. Stick with me...I have a theory.

For the last few weeks, I've been reflecting on what 40 really means to me. Looking back at my past laid out, years lined up one after the other, many memories in snapshot form, I'm proud. It's true what they say, that with age comes wisdom, and I'm a whole lot more comfortable about who I am at 40 than when I was figuring things out in my 20's.

Looking ahead at my future, slightly mysterious and undefined, hopeful for another good 40, I'm excited. It's true what they say, that the future starts today, not tomorrow, and not just mine...my entire family has more living ahead of us than behind us.

From this vantage point, I realize that the "Surprise! You're 40!" can only mean one thing: I've been doing it right! All this time...40 years of growing and learning, of navigating the ups and downs, the heartaches and the triumphs, the smooth sailing and the struggling-with-all-my-might...no wonder 40 crept up on me! It doesn't mean that I'm sad or disappointed or in denial. Quite the opposite, in fact. It just means that as the years have passed, I've been too busy living to stop and count.

{J}

(Picture above: Husband hosted an intimate dinner party to celebrate my 40th. With this group of FABULOUS women by my side, the number doesn't seem so bad.)

No comments:

Post a Comment