When I was younger, I dreaded turning 40. In fact, when my mother turned 40, I planned her birthday party. I ordered the cake. White frosting with black letters and decorations. “Lordy, Lordy… Mama’s 40!” I bought black tulle and we made little veils to wear over our faces, mourning her youth. I thought I was so clever, egged on by her cousin who is a year younger than her. We all had a good laugh. I wonder now did she know then what I know now? Did she laugh because she knew better, or because she didn’t want us to see that she still feared 40? I don’t know, but last year I did apologize for it. Funny how time does that…changes perspective, points out what truly matters.
40 was a big year for me. A year of many firsts. I met my son, for the first time since he was born and was adopted. He is now 24. Last year was the first birthday I’d known where he was, who he was. The rest of the year was filled with firsts for us. First time I’d been able to tell him Happy Birthday. First Christmas. First time he came to meet all the family. First time my daughter met her older brother. All those firsts were enough alone to make 40 the best year of my life. If 40 was the end, I would have been happy.
And yet. It was so much more. 40 was also the year I let down some walls, showed some people parts of me I didn’t normally let show (see the rest of the blog if you haven’t). 40 was the year I learned to speak my truth and hold my head up at the same time. This was the year I decided that people are going to like me or not based on ALL of me, not just the pieces I worked so hard to craft into some acceptable version of myself. Not just the “me” I thought people would like. Because truthfully, that is so exhausting. I just can’t do it anymore. You either see me with all my flaws and glory and love me…or meh! I’m not your cup of tea. Which is ok, too. 40 was the year I decided to live.
What a year it has been! I am surrounded by people who are genuine, who like me, who I truly like and admire. I include myself in that group now. I didn’t always. Once in a while I forget. But mostly I know. If 40 did all that…
LET’S DO THIS, 41!!!