It Ain’t Easy Bein’ 40

Me and my blessings....

There once was an old woman….

No, no, no.  That’s definitely not the story I wish to tell.  The sad story of a woeful woman turning 40.  I want to tell the story of a confident, hopeful woman.  A woman on the verge of the best years of her life; standing on the edge of a canyon of opportunity.

So I turned 40 on Thursday.  My day started with a little hiccup.  A toxic relationship I thought I had dealt with suddenly surfaced and knocked me off-balance.  Mix that with the insanity of getting four kids dressed, fed, and out the door and you can imagine my relief when I waved and watched them all run off to their respective classrooms and the door of the Odyssey closed behind them.  There, in the quiet of my car, I sat and cried for about 5 minutes.

I’ve dreaded this day since I was in my early thirties.  It has nothing to do with the physical age.  I believe there are beautiful women at every age – wrinkles, flabby arms, grey hair and all.  I don’t believe in botox, facelifts, and the like.  Natural beauty is where it’s at.  Having said that, I must confess that I do cover my grey hair.  I guess I consider that to be just a very minor alteration.  My Grandma Ruby got more beautiful to me the older she got.  Certainly there was a point at which she deteriorated (she lived to be 96), but even into her late 70’s and early 80’s she was beautiful to me.  Though wrinkled, her ivory skin was so soft and had a very distinct, sweet smell that lingered on my clothing after I had been with her.  I still remember how fine her hair was and the soft, grey curls that would appear after I unrolled the curlers from her hair.  I want to grow old like that.  What I wouldn’t give to have just one more evening with her, sitting on her front porch swing.  I wonder what she would tell me about this milestone in my life.

I think that my anxiety lies squarely with where I am in my life versus where I thought I would be.  It’s not that I’m unhappy with what I’ve got.  I have been richly blessed and I enjoy those blessings daily.  Unfortunately, I am one of those cursed by a need to constantly assess, constantly appraise, and it leaves me feeling unsatisfied.  I know I’m not alone.  I share this curse with many others, even some of my good friends, both male and female – you know who you are.  All I can say is that I am working on this…along with a long list of other dysfunctions.

I thought I would wake up on Thursday, my birthday, and feel more confident and at ease.  Sadly, that didn’t happen.  But what did happen was the start of several days of laughing, crying, eating, drinking, celebrating with good friends, and enjoying wonderful surprises.  And because of that, 40 feels pretty good right now.

Thanks to everyone who made my 40th birthday WEEK absolutely wonderful!

Love, Carmen

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