I’m turning 40! I say that with excitement. No disappointment. Really!
I want to be clear on this point, because when I tell people giddy like a 11 year old kid that my birthday is coming they say, “Oh no.. look who is 40!” or they give me a look like your dog just died, one friend even reached out to patted my arm. Honestly, I am really super excited about 40!
At 21 we are legally responsible. The law considers us adults but lets be real, no one else over 25 thinks you are really that mature. We may act mature, and yes our brains are finished forming, but our experience of what we have done in life is limited. As some 21 year olds go, I was very responsible. My parents believe in the ‘your 18 you pay your own way’, so by 21 I not only had a job but had substantial savings. Yet, much to my irritation people assumed, due to my happy manner, that I had not really experienced life. I had and I would protest, but they didn’t hear me. I had, I really really had. As a young woman with life before me I felt a little fear. I would never have actually admitted that then.. but I was scared. What if? What if I failed? What if…? What if I just wasn’t good enough, pretty enough.. well I have answers to those questions. I am not pretty enough… it’s a stupid question. I will not be loved or hated for how I look. Life is not high school. Adults don’t care and if they do they are still mentally in high school. I now only care if I like how I look, not if someone else does. I also know that I am not smart enough, there is someone always smarter and I can be friends with them and learn from them. I married someone smarter than me. I hired someone smarter than me. I benefit from all the smarts around me. I know it’s not all up to me. I know I don’t have to be all things to all people. I just have to do what I can.
At 40 I have been married for 15 years. I am happily married, we have been married long enough that the happily part is a choice. We choose to love each other, to serve each other and to smile at the things that drive us insane. When I was a newlywed it was easy to be happily married. Now, I know what I am dealing with, as does Mr. Greene, and he still comes home after work. This is good. He gives me sweet kisses in front of the kids.
Though at 40 my kids are old enough to be grossed out by our kisses. They make gagging noises and try to pull us apart. Yet, they still think we are cool. Our daughter, who is 8, said “I want to marry Daddy when you are done with him.” I explained that I will never be done with him and she will have to go find someone even better than daddy for her but with the same character and dedication to God. My son will walk in the room and tell me I look beautiful, I believe he gets that from his dad. If I am lucky, though never on school property, my son will hold my hand. The biggest, coolest things to do for the kids are to go do things with us. We have a rhythm to life, we know each other, the teen years haven’t hit the Greene household yet. At night when I ask the kids, “who have you served today?” “What have you learned?” and “what was your favorite thing that happened today?” they still want answer and won’t let me forget to have that time with them.
At 40 my parents are still alive. My father in law just died this year, really bringing home what I gift to have my parents. We have the added blessing of not only having them living but living in our basement. I lived in their basement too for many years. My mom cheers me on, she is one of my biggest fans. I hear her brag on my brothers and sister. My Dad is still working, an example of his generation. They don’t think they shouldn’t work, they work, that is what they do. He wears only patriotic ties on Sunday, that is the mentality that built America. Work. We are trying to get Dad to retire but he doesn’t know the meaning of the word.
At 40 I am a full grown woman. Yes. I have some ‘love’ here and there that I didn’t before. Each of them reflects a battle or choice of my life. I don’t regret those scars, those bumps and bruises to my youth. I feel more beautiful than I used to because I like me more. I like my life, who I share it with and what I have accomplished. I remember my mom turning 40 and now I am a real life adult, a real woman. When I was a new makeup artist I was working along side a beautiful woman who spent much of the day primping herself, not the clients and complaining about being older, saying, “after 40 it’s all maintenance!” Well, I disagree, after 40 is when your wisdom and experience combine to make you ravishing along with your outsides that though they may not be what they once were show the world who you choose to be. The laugh lines show you chose to laugh, the little extra says you chose chocolate, which too many women is code for happiness. That little bump of the tummy says you chose to be a mother. It’s not so much the physical but the emotional that makes a woman beautiful, it’s the wisdom in her eyes.
At 40 I have failed. I have failed hard enough and for long enough. Long enough ago now that the wisdom of the failure stays with me and the pain of is forgotten. I will fail again. I will make mistakes and just like in the past the pain will fade and the wisdom will remain. Kinda cool, isn’t it? I am here breathing and I was just fine before. When it was so hard then it got better and so have I at dealing with the tragedy, disappointments and failures that once seemed so encompassing.
At 40 I have felt deep grief, horrid loss and pain. And I am smiling now. I smile because I choose too. I have head my heart broken, had to ask for forgiveness and had to give it, I have buried a child (a pain that never fades), I’ve lost relationships that were dear to me, I was in a wheelchair… I could go on. But anyone my age had had those or similar bad times. I can say to the fears that I had “it’s okay, it all works out”. I did those first 40 years knowing so little and I get to do the rest of my life 40 plus years knowing everything I now know plus some!! That is very exciting. I get to know more, do more and not be held back by thinking I am not enough. I have been enough to get to here.
Of course for 40, being a skincare expert my skin doesn’t look 40. Oh well, I will have to contend with the problem of people thinking I am too young too know anything of life.. but well, I can handle that. After all I have faced far worse and am here smiling. I am really super excited that I have met this threshold of turning 40!
50 is going to be even better… oh sad thought my kids will be graduating from high school… bummer. I guess I will just have to deal with the loss by traveling the world with my husband.