I'm now 40 years old.
Which is also synonomous with the fact that my face is sagging, people no longer recognize me in my own wedding portrait and I've recently noticed that I appear to be frowning even though I'm not. Also, every once in awhile I wake up in a cold sweat and the time between color appointments is decreasing while the volume of grey hair on my head is increasing.
I am 40. I am aging.
I'm doing it right this very second.
I've been doing it every since I was born.
What's funny is when I was a child I wanted so desperately to grow up and be 16.
When I was 16 I wanted to be in college.
When I was in college I wanted to be married
and when I was married all I wanted to was make a life for myself.
And now, here I sit at 40, sitting smack dab in the middle of the life I've created.
But it doesn't work like that does it?
How come I don't feel like a 40 year old woman?
What does a 40 year old woman feel like anyway?
I still have inclinations to want to run and play. Jump off swings. Play H.O.R.S.E. with my kids in the driveway and eat what ever I want at ten at night. But then my knees protest, I can't stay up past 10 p.m. anymore and my kids are too old to think basketball with mom is even remotely cool.
I guess what I'm realizing is my head is failing to register what my eyes are telling me. I see the sagging face and greying temples but I don't feel like that's me. Honestly, sometimes I see myself in the mirror and am surprised at the person staring back.
But I'm 40. And next year, God willing, I'll be 41. And then 42.....
The clock doesn't move backwards.
This is my life.
And whether I can wrap my head about "middle" age or not is irrelevant to the fact that time is marching ahead at a fervent rate.
What have I done?
What am I going to do?
Am I proud of the life I've created?
of the little people I've created?
of my family?
of my ethics?
of my how I spend my time?
Am I making a difference in anyone's life? Are my friends better people because of me? Am I asking too many questions ;)
All I know is this ... despite the fact I am naively stunned to discover middle age has found me despite my negligent attitude of it's presence ... I realize I must continue to strive to be my most authentic self.
And I hope that I have become the woman I want to be. I trust I'll be brave and wise when I need to be. Fun and funny. A good friend, sister and listener. Someone who's name makes people smile. An addition to, not the life of the party. I want to be trustworthy. I want people to say I am a woman of my word. I want to write. I want my name on a book. I want my words to encourage your heart. I want my children to say they had a happy home and I want them to bring their children back to sit on grandma's lap or cook with me in my kitchen.
I wanted to feel 40 on my birthday but I gotta be honest and say I don't know what I expected it to feel like ... other than my disappointment regarding my crow's feet and loose neck. Therefore, I can only surmise that feeling 40 feels like "I can't believe I'm 40."
So happy birthday to me.
May God grant me many more.
And may gravity be kind to my face.