Faith, Hope and 41

I look smug about this birthday, don’t I?

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.

(linked up with JustWrite)

A Note From a Frustrated Runner

I’m frustrated.

Running has been a close friend for most of my life. I was one of the fastest runners in my elementary school. I ran track in high school. I ran for fun in college. I ran to lose the baby fat after my babies were born. I ran to stave off panic attacks and depression. I ran for clarity in the days leading up to my divorce. I ran for sanity after it. It’s my time to think. Clear my head. I feel good and free when I run.

Except when I don’t.

Recently, my runs have become sporadic and more difficult. This saddens me, because, regardless of the reasons, I was doing so well in my stamina, distance and endurance for so many years. One of my goals around the age of 35 was to run a marathon by the time I was 40. I turn 41 in less than two months, and I haven’t run one. At this point, a 5K wouldn’t be worth the entry fee.

I am not where I want to be with my running. At all. And it frustrates me.

Maybe it means that my reasons for running have changed.

I’m no longer running away. Or towards something. Or for sanity (ok… that’s questionable…) But I still need the stress relief; the health benefits.

Holy cow, do I need the stress relief. And did I mention I’m almost 41? Hello, belly fat, that won’t go away!

So I’m thinking about documenting it more online here. I dunno know… But I do need accountability. I just know I need to do it, just like I need to Just Write.

Life gets busy, and stressful, but I don’t want to roll over and let it stomp all over me.

Sick Blessings

I’ve been sick since Thursday. It was hardly anything worth noting on that day, but I went to bed that night hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

I was actually able to get a run in on Friday, and again, went to bed hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

Saturday arrived and Randy’s mom and dad came over for breakfast. Despite orders to stand clear of me, I was certain I was on the mend.

Until 4pm…
I’m gonna go lay down for a bit.

Which turned into: I think we should have Mother’s Day dinner tonight. Only to not be able to eat it. The sinus pressure was so bad, I felt nauseous. (I did get to hear 5 of the sweetest toasts ev.er. Oh, how I wished I had a recording of them all…)

I was in bed by 7. Slept horribly and fitfully between coughing spells.

By Sunday, it had climaxed into fever, aches and pains all over, coughing… the works.

One might think such a day would be utterly ruined by the flu. But in many ways, it was the most authentically real Mother’s Day. They make me feel so special, loved and appreciated every single day, that it didn’t matter that I was sick in bed on Mother’s Day.

The best gift? Knowing how amazingly blessed I am and how super awesome my family is. I know that they love me, were concerned about me and missed me. Being able to just be sick and have my family understand and function smoothly without me is priceless.

(Just Write at the EO)

Mashable's 2008 Key Events on the Web

image: kanonn

Want a run-down of the 20 key events on the web during 2008?

What was included? Who made the cut? What was left off?

Find out at Mashable.

Muffin’s Olympic Adventure

So Muffin has been missing for a bit.

Wanna know why?

She’s been in China.

Competing in just about every competition the Olympics has to offer.

Despite her fluffy, buttery appearance, those 12,000 calories she fills up on each day come in handy when competing non-stop:

Beach Volleyball:

beach volleyball

Equestrian challenges (nice hat):

equestrian

Track and Field:

liu-xiang-beijing-2008-olympics-china

Weightlifting:

weightlifting

and of course, Gymnastics:

gymnastics

In other news: Amazingly, despite Muffin’s ability to try out, qualify and compete with such rigor in the Summer Olympics, it doesn’t appear that she will be ready to run a full marathon by April’s Country Music Marathon.

Revised Goal: running the half-marathon at the very least.

For the complete Muffin backstory, catch up by reading these posts.

(photo source: The Official Website of the 2008 Beijing Olympics)