Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What does 40 look like?


Birthday picture with my boys. 


What life really looks like most of the time!


Chef Caleb helps me prepare Collin's ice cream birthday cake.

Connor peeked over my shoulder.  He gazed at the birthday card in my hands, reading the words along with me.  He gasped and exclaimed, "You're 40!"

His reaction made me giggle.  

"Yes," I confirmed.  "Are you surprised?"

He shrugged, toying with the appropriate response and then deciding silence was his best option.  (Smart boy!)  But I could read his mind.  He was thinking, "My mom is elderly; inches away from the grave."  I can't blame him.  When I was nine years old, I would have reacted the exact same way.

Even though my mind still places me at 20, I'm no longer a young adult, a spring chicken, a spry youth.  I can't (seriously) shop at Forever 21.  I won't be mistaken as a coed.  But I'm yet to be labeled as a fossil, geriatric, or senior citizen.  I don't own a walker, dentures, or Depends.  I don't get the senior discount at the movie theater.  I suppose the correct term is "middle aged."  But that doesn't fit either.  It conjures up images of those shuffling along in bathrobes and black socks, starting to let themselves go.

I'm trying to figure out what 40 looks like.  Entertainment magazines show 40-something celebrities frolicking on the beach in string bikinis with not an inch of cellulite.  Is that 40?  Perhaps that's what 40 looks like for the jet-set, but what about us ordinary folk?

On my 40th birthday, I ran seven miles and then shoveled our snowy driveway.  I suppose I did it to prove a point.  To make a statement.  I was saying, "Take that 40, a new decade won't steal my vigor and pep."  But a little part of me knows age will eventually win.

What 40 looks like for me is gratitude.  With age and experience, I've learned to appreciate the years I've had and the people that have made that time special.  I reflect back on my four decades and I feel blessed to have years with my husband, boys, parents, in-laws, extended family, and dear friends.  And when I think about getting older, I focus on years to come with the people I love.  And when I look at it that way, I can't wait to age.

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