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Ode to the Decade of Forty: Part 2

Who is afraid of being 40?!  It’s a milestone..just like 13, 16 and 21!
I’ve heard the 40s are the best years of your life. I’m looking forward to this milestone. To being more beautiful. My grandmother says “around 40 you should start to mellow.” Mercy! I am *so* looking forward to THAT!
When my dad turned 40 I threw him a surprise party and the theme was “Lordy, Lordy My Dad’s 40″…what was I thinking!? I thought he was ancient! Now, I realize….not so much!
My kiddos have told me that 40 is way, way, way older than 39.
 I don’t remember 39 being anything spectacular. I certainly wasn’t in “THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!” I didn’t make any list of lists that I needed to accomplish before starting my new decade. No, 39 was tranquil. It was when I thought I was still “young”. Truth be told, I still thought I was, well, INVINCIBLE!
Thirty nine was spent raising the kiddos to be good people–you know, the kind that fight over who gets to take care of their ailing mother!
It was the continuation of my constant battle to “trim down” and get back into my fighting weight–truth be told, I actually believed it was possible that year!
At 39, forty still seemed imaginary!
Allow me to introduce you to INVINCIBILITY. That single word that means you are incapable of being overcome or defeated. In a lifetime, far, far away–otherwise known as High School–I was the arm wrestling CHAMP! In ninth Grade I defeated all the Jr. Varsity Football players in the sport. I could run a mile–though really had no interest in doing so. I could pitch a ball and hold my breath underwater for minutes! I could do one armed push ups and chin ups. I had energy.
Welcome to 40 and a few new words: weak, defenseless, helpless, exposed, in danger, at risk. Am I getting my point across?
Maybe it was that decade before 40 that made me weak, but I’m blaming it all on turning 40…I’m exhausted!
Thankfully, I can float because holding my breath under water is nearly impossible. My knees creak and crack at WALKING. I tried to do a chin up at the park (showing off for the kiddos) and it ended up being Mom just hanging there. Walking up a flight of stairs takes my breath out of me.
At 40 I can gain eight pounds over night and spend an entire month trying to lose it all to have the scale rebel and tell me, “Nice try, but you’re 40!”! I can walk, watch what I eat and still, that fat clings to me!
My skin is starting to thin and get “soggy”.
So I think at 40, I’m going to have to give up the idea that I am INVICIBLE.
Twenty Years ago I thought I could rule the world. I had just gotten married. I would soon be a new Mommy. I still had a memory and retained what I learned in school. I really didn’t know anything about life. I had big dreams. I was still finding myself and sometimes that came out in a manner that was not great. I didn’t care. I was me and no one was going to change me.
Now I see myself as someone who, with some dedication can make small changes in my world. I’ve become a Mom six times. My memory fails me often–this is amusing to my children as I can barely remember where my keys are right after I’ve set them down.
In many ways I am still finding myself. In more ways, I have learned hard lessons and become a person who I am proud to call friend. I have fewer relationships, however, they are stronger than the ones I had 20 years ago.
I still have big dreams, but they are more realistic. They are more reflective of who I am inside, rather than what I perceive others want from me.
My goals are no longer what define me, but I am more what defines my goals. I see more clearly the direction I want to go and am wiser now in choosing the path.
At 39 looking forward to 40, change is going to happen. It’s a constant in life.
My childern will grow up and most will be moved out and in their own lives.
I’m sure somewhere in my forties I’ll become a grandma–though I hope it is my late, late 40s.
The world around me will progress in technology and art–I’m hoping I am “hip” enough to keep up.
My body will change and I’m not sure I’m prepared for this.
Change will surround me…the best part is that at 40, I have a lot of experience under my belt to give me the strength to see it all through.
In my twenties I think my goals were not long term. I lived more in the moment and for the “now”. My goals were materialistic and served my vanity more than my soul.
Now, at 40, my goals are more focused. They are methodical. They are simple. I want to be happy. I want to surround myself with love and joy. I want to make others happy.
In the years leading to 40, I learned about goal setting. I learned about short term goals. They are what keeps me going. I make a lot of short term goals…some lead to a finish line, while others are merely steps to getting me to a long term goal.
I have become a person of substance. I live for simplicity.
I think the one thing I wanted most when I was younger was to have a book published. It’s something I’ve done. The manuscript for the second part comes and goes. It collects dust as my children grow. It’s pages become tattered as I read and reread them. It will happen someday, but I’m pretty sure I will first enjoy nurturing my children, feeding my soul with the wonders life holds…and occassionally scribbling a line or two. My forties are a decade and what is to be is to be.
I have never lied about my age. I have always been very proud of who I am and what I have accomplished at that age (great or small). I’m sure when I was a small child I probably told someone I was older than I was, but in my adult years, age is not something I have ever hidden or a topic I have avoided.
My younger self was a headstrong gal so I’m sure she would probably say more to me now than I would want to hear. It’s probable that she would recognize I am not where “we” thought I’d be at this part of our journey. She’d point out my mistakes, some we’d laugh about and others, they’d be a reflection of regret. In the end, I believe she would tell me she is proud of what we have endured, what we have overcome and the direction we are on in life.
Prior to turning 40, I had no questions. I was looking forward to it and there was going to be absolutely nothing negative about it. Now that I AM 40, I am continually saying to my mom, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I wish someone would have told me my skin would start to thin.
I wish someone would have told me it takes a lot more color to cover the greys.
I wish someone would have told me everything starts to fade, the brilliance of your eyes, the glow in your skin, the vibrance of your hair, the whiteness of your teeth.
I wish someone would have told me my face would start acting like it was in puberty again.
I wish someone would have told me I’d cry alot…for no reason.
I wish someone would have told me it was going to be the largest reality check of my life.
I wish someone would have told me the pride I’d feel when my oldest starts college.
I wish someone would have told me the emotional roller coaster of extreme joy and abundant sadness that takes place when your first child walks down the aisle.
I wish someone would have told me I can’t eat the same things I use to.
I wish someone would have told me it’s amazing!
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