Sunday, May 23, 2010

On being 40-something

Today is my birthday. Let’s just say I’m 40-something. As with most moms these days, my life is pretty hectic. My weeks are an exercise in master scheduling with three teens, sports events, band practice, after school activities, crazy hair day, yard work, and the full-time job of helping to run a company. This weekend, though, I took some time to reflect on my life and tried to put the past few decades into perspective. What came to mind first were the physical changes I’ve noticed from when I was in my twenties. I still work out almost every day but weights are no match for gravity. I go to bed earlier, I forget things, and I would rather read a book than crank rock tunes until my ears ring. And though that nostalgic list goes on and on, I would not trade being 40-something for anything.

When it comes to age, our culture has a love affair being young and encourages us to fear getting older. Today I want to be a voice for celebrating the beauty of being over 40. By the time we are 40, we are usually done trying to compare ourselves with everyone else’s looks, status, body, wealth, and achievements. There is a lovely, liberating moment where we finally see how exhausting that was anyway and how stupid and futile the whole exercise really is.

By the time we are 40, we get to say we know something. We know something about babies, about money, about health. We know something about politics, the environment, and relationships. I’ve been married, had a baby, been divorced, and was a single parent for over a decade. I’ve also flown a plane and a helicopter, been skydiving, met monks in Burma, started my own company, and last year, I ran my first marathon. I didn’t do those things because I had something to prove to anyone. I did them because I wanted to. I just wanted to see what it felt like.

It is incredibly inspiring knowing we don’t need anyone’s permission to live our lives the way we want to. Do we have responsibilities with work, relationships and family? Absolutely. Do they define who we are as women? Absolutely not.

I know myself better now than I ever have in the past. I am my own best friend and I finally trust my own judgment. I get to take 40+ years of experience and use it to live the next 40 the most amazing way I know how. And that is a pretty cool thought. So here’s to all of us who are loving the wisdom of being “slightly mature” and there’s a big hug waiting for all of you who look have this awesome age to look forward to.

5 comments:

Christine:) said...

Happy Birthday! What a fantastic attitude to have- I agree wholeheartedly:)

登山 said...

想像力的力量比知識更加巨大。.............................................

Sara @ Saving For Someday said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I loved your post. Earlier this month I turned '40-something' and came to a similar realization and thus proclaimed this My Year of Awesome. Not to cross things off a list, but to celebrate me. You're right that our society has a stereotypical overlay that we, as women, often get stuck struggling under.

You have challenged yourself more in the last year with all you have done with The Blog Frog, and so many see the beauty within you and the genuinely fabulous person that these 40+ years have created.

My question is why does it take until 40+ to reach this realization that we are amazing and don't need to prove ourselves? That within us is the fabulousness of the 7-year old who could take on the world.

Maybe it does take time and experience. I'm glad I'm in good company with other amazing and phoenomenal '40-something' women such as yourself.

Sara at Saving For Someday
http://savingforsomeday.com

Becky Smith said...

Beautiful writing; great thoughts.

I'm forty-eight and, as you said, I would never trade my older years for my younger years. The forties are a great place to hang out; I'm glad you're enjoying them so far.

Thanks again for sharing such an inspiring piece.

Becky

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Belated birthday greetings, Holly. I hope you had a good one.

The 40's are fantastic - take this from a woman who's been there for five years now :P

Enjoy!

Related Posts with Thumbnails