This past month, I reached a milestone. Yes, I am admitting this to all of you – I turned 40 years old. I honestly am not embarrassed nor ashamed of my age. I actually like being 40. As my birthday came and went, I started doing a lot of thinking. First of all, I knew that 40 was just a number and it didn’t change who I was. I also started looking back at my life. My mistakes, accomplishments and what matters now.
I remember back when I was 20-something, I had these grandioso ideas of what it would be like to be 40. I figured I’d be in charge at a company, my kids would be in high school, I’d have a fancy car and a huge home. I thought that by the time I was 40, I’d have figured “it” out. What is funny is that “it” has changed over the years.
In my 20’s, “it” was what it took for me to be successful in life. As I moved into my 30’s I pretty much figured that “it” was still about success, but changed from success being fortune to success in my overall life. And then, as I approached my 40’s, I realized that I still really wasn’t sure what “it” was about. Was “it” about being happy through success at work? Was “it” about being a wife? Was “it” about personal achievement? To be completely honest, I still have not figured much out except that where I thought I’d be at this stage of my life is actually where I though I’d end up — but maybe defined a little differently.
Like I said, I thought I’d have kids in high school. Well, I have kids — 3 of them — 2nd grade and younger. Life has a funny way of not working out the way that you want it to, but rather the way that God wants it to. It just took me a lot longer to find my soul mate, so that meant the kids did not come along as early as I had hoped.
I also looked at where I thought I’d be in my career. Never did I imagine I’d be working for myself. That has truly been a blessing to be in control like that! And so I guess I can say I am in charge at a company – just never had any idea that it would be my very own company.
I look at the car I thought I’d own. I will admit that I figured it would be a luxury import. Funny thing is that I am happier with a Honda Odyssey minivan than I think I’d be with that BMW. It isn’t about what is on the vehicle, but what’s inside it. Inside this vehicle I usually find my family – my pride and joy.
Oh yes, and the home. My home is wonderful – I truly love it. What is it I love the most? Is it the size or is it the decor throughout my home? I can honestly admit that it is the decor. However, it isn’t the furniture or colors on the wall. It is the handprints the kids made for me and framed to hang in my kitchen. It is the artwork which donns the refrigerator. It is the photos of my children when they were each baptized. It is the marks on the basement door marking the height of my kids as they grow.
As I have been aging, I also realize that my body certainly has a mind of it’s own. I have more curves than I ever did before. I am not as tone as I once was. I have stretch marks where I never thought I would.. The thing is, I earned this body through the greatest gift I’ve been given — my children. I would never trade one single mark on my body or the imperfections to fit back into my skinny jeans. Although, I will say that my husband has been warned to give them the “Oh No You Don’t” if he finds me in Mom Jeans!!! I might be a mom, but mom jeans will not be welcome on this body.
I am actually grateful that I am no longer 20. I have no desire to go back to those days. That is when I thought I knew everything, but now know that I really knew nothing. I thought I was confident, but was actually unsure. I find it funny that while I have achieved my dreams, the definition of those dreams has changed. Nothing is as I thought it would be. And yet, I am so blessed and happy with my life.
Maybe that is what turning 40 does to you – it makes you become a little wiser in realizing that your dreams don’t take the path you want for them to, they go where God leads you and he helps you redefine them. What do you think?