On turning 40

I turn 40 on Friday. (Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeee!)

Some people dread this milestone. I get that. I see those “over the hill” birthday messages in the greeting card aisle at Target. I feel my age, especially when my child demands that I “run!” or “get out of bed!” I notice when I forget to take my regular dose of Miralax, a gift from God that I did not rely on until recently. I get frustrated when my Rodan + Fields reverse regimen doesn’t miraculously erase the dark spots on my face.

But.

I am really looking forward to this birthday. Maybe it’s because each of my decades has been better than the one preceding it. Maybe it’s because I associate a 40th celebration with my dad’s, which was a joyful/awkward party in his bird’s eye office with employees crowded around, balloons, cake, and a belly dancer. (I still have no idea who arranged for that belly dancer. It was a bizarre choice for my dad.) Or maybe it’s because I am finally comfortable in my own body, heart, and mind:

I feel more settled and creative than ever before in my vocational life.

That angst-producing question of whether Matt and I would have kids – and if so, how many – has been resolved.

My anxiety is at a manageable level, thanks to exercise and medication.

My parents and I are finally being honest with each other, which was a long time coming.

I get joy every day from noting my son’s emerging understanding of the world and his imagination around what could be.

I have claimed my voice as a citizen, speaking up for what I believe to be good for my community.

I no longer feel obligated to finish books that don’t hold my interest or that I want to throw across the room.

I don’t wait for others to confer authority upon me as a pastor, parent, or person.

I don’t expect my 40s to be easy. The realities of membership in the sandwich generation will no doubt set in soon. The realities of life in a very contentious time in the church and the culture at large show no signs of abating. The realities of physical changes (“this happens at your age…”) will bring more preventative procedures. And who knows what else is in store?

But I’m as ready as I can be. Bring it.

Creative Commons image “40” by Amanda Slater is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

 

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