I am officially 40 years old today. No longer thirty something. Not in the 35 - 39 demographic. I have to scroll down quite a ways to get to my birth year, 1968.
Turning 39 felt liberating. Time to take on the world! Do things I've never done! No time to waste!
It has been a long year.
I feel tired. More realistic and less idealistic than a year ago.
I've enjoyed getting older. I like the wisdom. The earned self-confidence. The insight.
Something else, too, a sense of calm. A softening.
Am I realizing that it isn't worth it to battle or am I giving up? Is it both?
I've always felt strongly that people can be anything they want to be. That it is never too late to pursue goals or chase a dream. I still feel that way.
But it is tempered. I will never be an Olympic athlete. I probably won't be rich. But I may still get another degree, start a business, be on Oprah.
I have a picture of my mom at 40 from a newspaper article. It was a story about me and my trip to Egypt. My mother looks so young and pretty. At the time, I just thought of her as my mom, not as a woman I may grow up to resemble. Did she feel old then? It was the thick of her parenting days with me finishing elementary school and my brother heading off to college (and my sister still in between).
My life is 10 years behind hers at that point and yet I am the same age. My oldest at 7, still younger than her youngest, me, at 11. It would be several years later before she went back to work and then started her own school, her life's work, really, aside from being a mom and a grandmother.
I think I still have my life's work ahead of me, too.
Not to say that I am unhappy or dissatisfied with where I am. I look around in amazement sometimes hearing the Talking Head's song, This is not my beautiful house, This is not my beautiful wife, How did I get here? I don't have any issue with not feeling like a grown-up, but I do wonder if I've been doing it right so far. Am I missing something? Living life fully? Doing what matters?
I find myself pulling back lately. Instead of wanting to accomplish all kinds of things, I stop and live more in the moment. A new concept for me, really. I think I am appreciating what I have instead of pushing ahead looking for what I don't have yet.
Maybe this is all there will ever be. Same as it ever was.
I won't stop pursuing new challenges, learning, expanding. But if I'm never a size 6 again or I don't have any more kids, if I never have a perfect home or save the world, I will still be quite happy with my very full life as it is.
At 40 years old, I am good with that.
Except the Oprah part. I'm not giving up that one.