Last October 7th, when I turned 40, I spent the day tending to my youngest, who was recovering from a, not-so-minor, out-patient procedure he had done that morning. While I would not recommend celebrating your own birthday in that way, I have to admit, it absolutely kept me from focusing on myself, and the fact that I had entered my FORTIES.
I’ve never been afraid of forty. But admittedly, it still stuns me, at times, that I am in this decade of my life.
At that time, I considered writing something about turning 40, but I stopped myself, because, let’s admit it, I was no expert on 40. All I knew was based on hearsay, and emotion, not, necessarily, reality. I was a mere baby in terms of what I knew and felt about it. I suppose I still am, but I feel a bit more qualified to speak on it now that I’m ‘older and wiser’… *cough*. Or something.
The last several years have all been magical for many reasons, but this year, the year from 40 to 41, has helped me solidify my belief that I am stronger than I ever realized. It’s been a long, hard, winding road getting to this point, but I love going along it. Sometimes, I want to run ahead and know what’s around the next bend, other times, I want to straggle behind and linger in the moment. But I’m always – always – thankful for every moment of it.
Because, I know where I’ve been.
The week I turned 30, my baby girl turned one and we closed on our first home. While there were many cracks already showing, my 30s appeared, from the outside, to be off to a picture-perfect start.
Nearly everything changed from 30 to 40. So much was given and so much was taken away. Sometimes, I feel as though I lived 20 lifetimes in that decade. It was a difficult one, on many levels. I wrote about it a lot on this blog, before the bottom fell out (again), but if you were to go back and look for them, you might not know it. I white-washed much of it. I wanted to find meaning in all of the difficulties, and the suffering. I wanted, desperately, for it to have been for a reason. I needed to find that reason and know it. But, it’s not always easy to see or understand. Sometimes, it just takes faith.
My 30s were built on faith. That was all I had. My 40s are being built on hope.
I am realizing what is meant by older and wiser. I wish it came with a few less wrinkles and sags, but I am trying to embrace those as well.
There are countless variables in life, and I know that anything can happen, at any moment. I see it every day. And that is where the lessons of my 30s, those built on faith, become invaluable. If I didn’t have those, I would be living in fear, because I’ve seen too much happen, and I know what can happen.
But I also know the beauty that can come from those very things; when the wounds become scars.
A wound is messy and always susceptible to being reopened or infected. A scar is where it has healed; a reminder of what was and what is. It does not have to be a shameful reminder.
And that is what gives me hope.
Here’s to my forties.
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