Last year I wrote a blog post about the Power Of Turning Forty. Forty was a big deal.
You will never get me to say the words “middle-aged” though. Type them sure. But never say them. My lips are sealed.
The number 4-0 made me feel like I was entering a whole new era. The physical changes that I have noticed in myself didn’t just appear on the very day that I turned forty.
But it sure felt like they did.
I see age on my face. It started with this gradual drooping thing. Right around my jaw. It is not so bad that others notice. But I see it. I feel sure that an avalanche is on the horizon.
My eyebrows are disappearing. Tell me that you know what I am talking about. I’ve decided that it’s because much like the hair on your head, your eyebrows start turning gray. And therefore appear to…..disappear. Weird.
My legs are slowly turning into something off a Rand McNally road map. Remember those? I work hard to maintain some tone and definition in my legs. Then these tiny blue lines started forming. Wait a minute. I HAVE seen these before.
On my mother’s legs.
The physical changes to the body cannot be denied. It is a gradual process. That sneaks up on you.
Right around age forty.
Late last year I turned 4-1. Thankfully there were no new earth shattering discoveries. It was just more of the same.
Aging is physical. I knew all of the above would happen. Well, I knew THINGS would happen. I did not see that eyebrow thing coming.
But what I never took time to think about was how the mind deals with aging. It has a lovely way of adjusting, as your body begins……adjusting.
How many times have you heard a person say that there is no way they would want to be twenty again?
Say no to supple skin, smaller waistbands and cellulite free bodies? That is ludicrous.
Ahhh but it is true. I would never want to be twenty again. Maybe look twenty. But I don’t have THAT much money. So I will proudly take forty.
If I COULD do my twenties over with all of the knowledge that I have gathered along the way, then maybe I would. But to go back and have to learn everything again. No thanks.
My twenties were all about me. Doing what I wanted. Learning things the hard way. Making mistakes. And being too young to care about any of that.
My thirties were about family. Getting married. Having my kids. Making a home.
Now I approach a new era in my life. The youngest goes to kindergarten next year. I am not trying to say that my work here is done. But my role is definitely shifting. And will only continue to do so.
What do my forties mean for ME? What is next for ME?
Thankfully I am not looking back with regrets. I am proud of the way my life has played out up till now. To look back wishing to have done things differently, must be such a painful place to find yourself.
I look at the forties as there is a good bit of life behind me. Enough that I have learned a lot. Even with that, there is still a lot ahead. Much more to learn. It feels like I am beginning another act.
I have spent the better part of the last decade caring for babies and toddlers. If I live to see 100, these last few years will be some of the best of my life.
But the very moment a child is born, he starts growing. There have been shifts in my role as a mother. And I have only been a mother for nine years.
If I were back in my twenties I would probably scream FREE TIME! And laze around on the couch. Eating whatever I wanted without gaining one pound. (That part I would gladly take back by the way.) Not reflecting too much on the life that I was living.
But with age comes responsibility. I am much wiser now. I now know that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. There is much to be done in a well lived life.
So what is next? That is the question that I find myself pondering.
I am sure most people feel the way I do. We all like to have a purpose. We want to feel needed. What am I meant to do now? What great things does life have in store for me? How can I better myself? and the world?
What exactly my life will become, I do not yet know. Maybe when I am fifty I will be able to write a piece about my wonderfully fulfilling forties.
I feel like I am on the brink of something. Maybe that is just wishful thinking. Or maybe I can actually make it happen, if I only just believe.
Aging at times is hard. Time can be cruel to the body.
But what I am learning is the mind begins to soar. Higher and higher. If I have learned all of this in the past twenty years, imagine what I have to learn in the next twenty?
When you see an old, feeble woman walk past, don’t feel sorry for her physical condition. Look forward to the time when you have had all of the life experiences that she has. When you have all of those stories to share. When you have learned all of the things that life has to teach you.
I will not lie. Some days forty-one terrifies me. We all have our moments. But every single day, I am interested in living. Ready to continue this journey.
To live through the youth, without getting to enjoy the maturity, just wouldn’t seem fair.
Here’s to the journey that we are all on.
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