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!)