For All the Women Feeling “Their Age”

In 14 days, I will be 40. That’s half way to 80 in case you didn’t know.

When I turned 30 I was thrilled. I am petite and I have always looked a little young for my age. I was determined to be taken “seriously” and I felt that with “30” on my side, I could finally stand up for myself, say no when I felt like it, and not even have to make up an excuse. I felt grown.

The last 10 years have gone by so slowly yet so quickly. I have been divorced, hit the dating scene again, got engaged, got un-engaged, dated some more, found the love of my life, remarried, and have seen my two sons turn into young men.

I have found Jesus in the darkest moments. I centered my marriage on God. I have found a church home, became a Christian blogger, gone to seminary and have begun my Christian counseling internship.

I have lost weight, I have gained weight, I have joined and quit four gyms, eaten gluten-free, clean, dairy free and taste free. I currently favor the cupcake diet, but am certain that my budget can’t handle many more trips to buy new jeans in the next size up, so I am focusing on my health once more. My waist is expanding, my breasts are softening, my eyebrows are thinning, and for the love of Pete, I still have acne (how is this possible??)

I have lived in about seven different homes from a small 2-bedroom apartment that promised a pool (that was open about 11 days that summer) to my ranch on 17 acres that begs for a chicken coup but will have to settle for puppies and my dying aloe plants under the florescent lights in my guest bathroom.

I have had several different jobs, many out of necessity because I was a single mom. I was a makeup artist, a lingerie store manager, a housekeeper, a real estate agent and now a business owner/writer/teacher/student/intern. Yes, I have done it all and that’s okay. Not all of us settle in easily. I like to take the long way “home.”

In the last 10 years, I have read over 300 books, owned 8-10 cars, written hundreds of blogs, had several surgeries, had 6 very brief pregnancies, cried thousands of tears, laughed, danced, partied, napped and traveled. I have lived a lifetime in these 10 years.

With only 14 days left in my 30s, I am beginning to mourn this decade. No, I am not mourning my youth, my once firm tush or my laugh-line-free-face. I am beginning to say goodbye to the decade that I learned the most in life.

In my 30s, I learned how to be a good girlfriend, how to be honest, to stop competing, to truly love my friends the way they deserved to be loved.

I learned to stop telling people what to do with their lives (as much). I am a better listener, less bossy, and better at allowing people (and the Holy Spirit) the space to figure things out for themselves.

I have learned to follow, to give up (some) control and to not always get my way (every time.) I have learned to let my husband lead (that was HUGE!), and I am learning to not always be the alpha in my friendships.

I have learned to be okay and even excited about high-waist jeans, comfortable shoes, stretchy sports bras and a really good eye cream. I still love fashion and I enjoy trends, but I am happily making decisions about what to wear that would have made me cringe a few years ago. I dress “my age”, and I am proud of that.

I have learned to forgive myself when I disappoint myself as a mother, to apologize, and give myself the grace I give my children (and those around me). I have stopped wondering if my parenting would put them in therapy, started stashing money away for the therapy that will come, and am already planning ways to spoil my grandchildren (in 20 years.) I don’t even care what the grandkids call me, as long as they do.

I have become less beautiful yet less vain. I have become more confident, yet less prideful. I have become a better leader, and a better follower. I have learned I am not always right (although I have not learned to like it). I have learned to say I am sorry quickly and often. I have given up on ever becoming a good singer but I have become quite comfortable with raising my hand to worship my Maker.

My heart has softened, my silver tongue has lost some of its sting, and I am in general kinder. I am still short, bossy, quirky and fickle at times. I can still be a little mean, moderately impatient, and quite demanding.

As I bid farewell to my 30s; I want to say thank you to this incredible, broken, humbling, yet victorious decade. Thank you for making me stronger, gentler, kinder, more forgiving, less selfish, while still imperfect. Thank you for showing me what really matters like good girlfriends to split a bottle of wine with, kids to chase down for a hug and a husband to hold hands with and to tell me I am pretty when I am in my high-waist jeans and sensible shoes. Thank you for dragging me out of the darkness and into the light, for making me an advocate instead of a victim, a problem solver instead of a whiner, and a woman instead of child. It was time to grow up.

As I face my 40s, I think of all the things I still want to do, and all the places I would like to visit. But I always want to pay homage to the life I have already lived, the love I have already felt and the God I have already met. If today were my last day on earth, I have already lived a good life.

(Oh, and don’t tell me that 40 is the new 30…I am proud of every hour on this Earth!)

3 thoughts on “For All the Women Feeling “Their Age”

  1. As I sat here this morning with my savior, shedding deep sobs of regret of what I have thrown away in my life…….past years, and what I could have done with it, I wish I had had a mentor like you after reading this! Sometimes some of us grow up so slowly and as I ask God why I am so slow of mind, what could I possibly do now for him, my grown children, grandchildren, and friends as I have turned 66. Yes, I am so grateful that He has let me live this long but the mistakes I have let dictate my life have been so cruel. I want to embrace so much in life but regret and fear seam to still get in the way even when I don’t know it.
    I so admire the women, like you, that find themselves at such a young age and do something with it.
    Self-absorption and passivity and fear are so deadly.
    I want so much to find out how to begin my life the way it should have begun at the age of 35. My life seems to have stopped then. I went through the first divorce and tried raising three children by myself but was so immature for the most part. Never did find myself.
    I have missed out on what God intended life to be and have been asking Him to give me a second life that He wants for me; a dream, His dream.
    Yes, I would dearly love to be married again, see and be a big part of my grandchildren, and be able to continue to be here for the last two kiddos; of which one is special needs and will be with me all of my life, and as the last one seems to be getting ever closer to getting married and moving out.
    Please, continue cherish your youthful middle age. It is such a precious time to be able to reflect on how blessed you are.
    Chris, it is such a blessing to know someone like you.
    Elizabeth Massey

    1. Elizabeth thank you for your comments. Reading that was such a humbling experience for me. I am thankful to have met you and I do not think that you lack anything but maybe the confidence to realize how wonderful you really are and what a blessing you are to your family. I think I still have your email address so I will send you a private message but just in case I can’t find it please feel free to contact me and maybe we can get together for a coffee. Happy new year!

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