I recently turned 40. I’m not sure when all of that happened, but it’s true. I think the blur of childrearing has made me forget so much, including my age. I still feel like I am in my 20’s which is great until I move too quickly or realize I have five kids depending on me for their next meal. And yet, when I say 40, it sounds like I’m referring to someone else.
Forty is a milestone that proved to be viewed differently by everyone. I would often hear comments such as “oh you’re getting older, you’re going to start feeling your age now.” Some would look concerned and ask “are you okay with turning 40?” Others seemed to be reassuring with “you know age is just a number?” All of this talk of turning 40 will definitely make you reflect on your life and assess how you feel about aging.
Looking back, my 20’s were such a free-spirited time. I started a career, got married, started a family, built our first home … happy, happy, happy. All this happiness can make a girl forget some hard truths. My 30’s helped me to see these truths up close and personal.
I had most of my kids in my 30’s, so it was definitely a time of celebration and happiness. This seemed to be a decade of baby showers, big career moves, traveling. The 30’s proved to also bring some hard realities. This seemed to be when some experienced sickness, death, broken relationships, job loss.
With the mix of greatness and hardships of my 30’s, I came out with depth and appreciation I never owned in my 20’s. But there is one thing this last decade has shown me that I never expected so early in life.
Life. Really. Is. Fleeting.
I’ve witnessed moms leaving this world earlier than any of us ever expected and I’ve seen the heartache that brings for their families. These moms have shown me that we really never know what tomorrow will bring or if we will even experience tomorrow, even as a young mom.
These women who never got to experience 40, have opened my eyes and humbled my faulty outlook on the next decade. Now I see 40 in a different light.
It is a blessing. It is a privilege. It is a gift.
It means more experiences, more hugs, more ‘I love you’. It means more days being a mom to my kids. It means more days being married to the man I made vows with years ago. It means more life.
These women will never know the impact they made on the world they left behind, but they most certainly did. Sometimes life feels like two steps forward, three steps back, but these days I’m grateful for stepping. None of us knows which birthday may be our last, so I don’t want to ever dread one. Birthdays are a milestone for us to value and treasure.
Maybe you’re the older mom in the preschool class. Maybe you’re the young mom everyone confuses with the student teacher. Maybe, like me, you have kids that span a decade or more so you’re both the old mom and the young mom depending on which child you pick. Whatever the case, you have another day to be a mom.
Being a mom is hard, really hard. There are days that are overwhelming and you feel yourself aging by the minute. These are the days I need to think of the mothers who have gone before me. The mothers who would love another chaotic day with their children. The mothers who would give anything to age in the presence of their children.
So, while I still can’t believe I am 40, I’m grateful for the opportunity and will cherish the experience. Forty, it’s my pleasure to meet you!