I wrote this a year ago, but somehow with losing my father this week and nearing my 45th birthday in two weeks, it seems fitting to share again.
I’ve decided that being 40-ish is a little like being a tween or a teenager. (please know this reflection comes from waking up covered in sweat the past two nights and wondering if “the change” is slowly creeping it’s way into my life). I can remember when I was teaching that there was a big difference between 6th and 7th grade and 9th and 10th in terms of development. I even saw it when I taught 3rd grade–another transitional year. Seriously, puberty happens for a lllooonnnggg time.
40-ish is a bit like that. You’re a grown up, but you aren’t young and you aren’t old. Perspectives change (and I say these things knowing that when I’m 50ish I’ll see things differently as well). It’s funny because when you are a teenager, in your mind you think you are an adult. When you are 40-ish, in your mind you are 20 something.
But for ME, at 40ish you start really thinking about things like retirement, the kids college, the kids future. Truly, it does become less about you and more about them in many ways. Most of the decisions we make center around “what will this mean for the boys” and what we want for them. The memories we want to create. The options we want available for them.
For me a real positive about being 40ish is feeling like I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. There’s a greater sense of self that I didn’t have when I was in my 20s or 30s. There is a confidence that comes from having made mistakes and bad decisions and knowing that it all will turn out ok when you are willing to learn from those mistakes. There is also a satisfaction in being able to look back at some of the really great things you have accomplished, created, and done.
I don’t think 40 is “middle aged.” But, I do think you are far enough up the “hill” to be able to see both sides and know they are equally as beautiful. 40ish means you don’t have to worry about being “cool” because those things don’t matter. Sure, there are still “cliques” and groups and such, but you don’t care about that, at least I don’t. 40-ish means being able to see the value in learning from those younger than you and those older than you. There is a peace in knowing that the journey is what makes things so amazing. 40ish means knowing you can speak your mind and it’s ok. You don’t have to get along with or agree with everyone to be friends or respect them. It’s OK to think differently.
40ish means that you’ve started to lose people pretty important to you. Grandparents, friends, parents, other family members. You know that life can be both sucky and equally amazing at the same time. You know that people are brought into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It means that you’ve probably been in a relationship for a long time and know what people mean when they say marriage is “work.” You don’t make it 20 years without any problems or hiccups along the way. But, there is a beauty in the journey because you grow as individuals, a couple a family all the while learning about yourself along the way.
So…….not sure what led to all of this coming out other than the darn night sweats. It’s one of those things you don’t think will happen to you (like chin hairs, gray hair, varicose veins, reading glasses, etc.). But, to those night sweats and other changes like that that are slowly coming, I say suck it. Yep. You heard me. Suck it. I’m stronger now than I have ever been. I feel better. I have more energy. My mind is clearer. So all in all, I have to say 40ish is a pretty awesome place to be. My mid-life “crisis” has been pretty amazing and wonderful and life changing. Looking forward to bumping it up another notch in March when I hit 45!