First and foremost I thank the Lord above for allowing me to live one more year and to make it to this milestone. Milestone yes because now I'm really in the 40's.
Like most women at first it's a little overwhelming, but over the years I kind of worked myself up to it and when I turned 40 last year I thought, this is something I can do, I'm ready for it.
Turning 41 today is yet another one of those I can check off my list. Truly, to be able to wake up and celebrate another birthday is monumental and a blessing, a very big blessing.
So why am I so OK with turning a year older? I think because to me the 40's are going to be pivotal in the woman I am. There are a lot of things about being this age that I have to admire and embrace, and others I've learned......so with that in mind I thought I would list a few.
1. I know who my true and real friends are.
In my 20's and even 30's I struggled with trying to be liked by everyone, and would take it very personally when I tried so hard and the person didn't reciprocate. There seemed to be a line that was never crossed by some and continually crossed by others, and I just sat through it, not quite wanting to say anything for fear of hurting someone's feelings while my own went unnoticed.
By 40 I can tell you that the weeding out of those that are not true, users, posers, convenience friends, has been firmly drawn by me and it feels good. I know who I can count on, I know who I can't, and I'm no longer just ok with having people in my life that do not contribute in a positive way.
2. Just do what I love
The need for acceptance that seems to permeate every fiber of your being in your twenties, is a thing of the past. I do what I love, and if that makes me old fashioned or a bore at times, or even weird at others, I'm fine with it. I no longer feel the need for acceptance from everyone, I no longer feel I need to please all those around me. I'm going to write a list of things I want to do, goals I want to accomplish and I'm going to try my hardest to do them all.
3. The lines, the wrinkles and the grey hairs
All of those that seem to make so many women cringe? I'm starting to love them, and the reason is that I've earned every single one of those. The crows feet, the random lines here and there, the grey hairs, all brought on by life, by living, by feeling and surviving. I've gone through worries, I've shed many tears, I've had two miscarriages, watched family members pass away, watched my husband deploy and missed him so much it hurt, am raising two children and I've laughed so hard my stomach hurts. It's life, just happening on your face.
4. Exercising is no longer optional but a necessity
Listen folks, the things that stood at attention before are now struggling to stand up right. I can't put it anymore bluntly. The little stomach pooch and feeling healthy in general. Exercising used to be optional for me but as I turned 35 it just seemed to come to a complete stop, the body seems to say "I've done it alone all these years, it's YOUR turn to make the effort". And so I do, I zumba, I try to drink and eat healthy and I'm struggling through it, but going on.
5. Getting older means everyone else is getting older too
As I celebrate another year, I realize that so do my children, and my parents and grandparents, and suddenly the reality of how short life is comes at you full strength. Those little hugs and kisses from my children throughout the day, I treasure those and I try to hold on to them with every fiber of my being, because time is flying by and I know I really don't have much time left with them in the household. In the blink of an eye they will be out, going to college.
6. Pains and random aches seem to hurt more and last longer
Oh goodness. So many times I've told my husband that I kind of miss the days of being a kid where even with a fever we would run around and play and act like nothing was wrong. Now??? A headache drives me crazy, sciatica keeps me from walking properly, and every little pain and ache seems to last so much longer and hurt so much more.
7. I'm more woman than ever before
That may seem to be a strange thing to say, but I hope you'll understand what I'm trying to say. I am so much more confident in who I am, in my abilities as a wife and mother, as a friend and a person in general. I look at myself as proof that storms can be weathered, heartbreaks heal, time does make things easier. I have myself to answer to, I can go as I please, I don't need permission from anyone and I really don't care anymore what people think of me, it doesn't affect me like it used to.
8. It's ok to be a little selfish
I have to, I need to. I've lived my whole life for others and have stood by and put my needs and wants aside for the sake of the family. I supported my husband through his military career and lived for him and our children. I've been raising and continue to raise our children, though they're now teens and not needing as much attention as before. I've always put others needs above mine, always, and I'm now finding that I am no longer allowing that to happen. My needs and my wants matter, and it's ok to be a little selfish and say "Hey, I really want to do this and I'm going to do it".
9. Marriage is not easy, but it's amazing
I no longer live in the idea that marriage is this easy relationship and that you live in perpetual happiness and romance every single day of your life. Marriage is hard, extremely hard, but it's also one of the most amazing things you will ever go through when you are with the person you truly love. We put in 100%, each of us, not one or the other, but individually we try, and we are still as in love today as we were when we first got married. Things happen, jobs, kids, moves, health issues, family drama, pets, good things and bad things and it all either brings you closer or tears you apart. We've worked so hard in our marriage and we continue to, every day is work, but it's so rewarding and I'm glad that our children are being witnesses to love and understanding and communication and hopefully using us as an example for themselves.
10. I can give advice
Yep, I can give advice because chances are I've lived it, been through it, felt it and can tell you first hand what I think. Do I know it all? Gosh no, I will never know it all, but I can at least confidently say that when I understand.....I really do.
So here I am 41, ready for what is in my path and willing to go through it with my head held high and faith in the Lord.
I don't think the forties are something to be scared about, I think if anything, they are to be celebrated and loved and enjoyed to the fullest. Life is short, life is to be lived and I've spent too much time in my 20's and 30's worrying about the small things, it's time to live life to the fullest, smile as much as I can, love with all my heart and be who I am right to the very end.
Jumping for joy, that is what I'm planning on doing.