I've just turned 42 and find myself wondering, 'how in the world did this happen?'. I know the obvious answer is, one year at a time, but people... 42! And lest you think this is a post how fast time gets away, or about being old, or rueing time lost....it's not. I'm crazy happy about the life I lead and that fact I'm the age I am with the husband and kids I have! Twenty eight year old me was not a great wife, and would not have been a great parent. But, I am nonetheless a bit shocked to be a year closer to mid-forties.
You know how people say, I still feel like I'm in my twenties? Well, that's legit, but reality keeps snapping you back to your forties much quicker than it did in your thirties, reminding you you're not the 'young one' in the room anymore. I'm seriously shocked by this all. the. time.
I used to play a lot of ball....I was a catcher for fifteen years, through college... and could easily catch five to six games in Oklahoma heat. Now my knees nearly break just kneeling at the alter to pray for three minutes at the end of church! And the heat, shew, don't even get me started! Give me 80 degrees year round and I would be a happy girl.
I used to be able to eat more than most men I knew. I'm not really bragging, it was just the case. I'm not one of these, 'order a salad on a date' girls, or "I'll just have the baked potato, butter on the side" women. No thanks. Scott says no matter what I order, especially from the Mexican restaurant, it's always the biggest thing on the menu! And I'd put it away, with a basket of chips and salsa. My metabolism was in overdrive and I stayed active enough that I remained skinny, for the most part. But now, I'm still technically skinny, but the squishiness and this gut.... What the heck!? I used to laugh when women said they gained weight at 40, like I knew something they didn't and would avoid this phenomenon....nope. Something just happens at 40 that we have no control over, no matter how active you are...you have to make healthier choices just to maintain. It's just a fact.
And let's not get into sleep, or 'regularity', or stress, or peeing a little when you sneeze, puke or yell real hard. All of that is just anatomical facts of an aging body. But my mind, heart, soul.....they still long for the same things thirty year old me did. Acceptance, genuine friendship, authenticity, love..... Perhaps these ideas have changed, or matured through the years but it's what we all want, to some degree. I know now that acceptance is more about accepting yourself than it is anyone else accepting you. I know that genuine friendship is a gift of the rarest kind and that not every friend is genuine. I used to think that being authentic boiled down to the I don't give a flip, take me or leave me, I am who I am, look away if you don't like it, attitude so many 20 somethings possess, that I now recognize as a sad defense mechanism. I realize now that being authentic has to start with knowing who you are, who you were created to be, and then stepping out each day as that person, not who you would like to portray, who society or pop culture says is 'trending', or who you wish you were more like. We are all made in the image of God, each with a purpose. I think finding that, accepting that, and presenting with that... that is authenticity. It can be hard, because it may not always be what's most popular, perfectly curated, or within your comfort zone, but finding, and living an authentic life...there is peace there.
So, in honor of my 42nd year, authenticity and genuine friendships, here are four things I'm looking to accomplish this year:
1. I want to stop beating myself up for being who I am. I'm a writer, an open book, and I always have been. It has been my blessing and my curse, but I want to find a way to be more accepting of who I am.
2. I want our home to be full of friends. We are loud and busy and find it difficult to reach out or make plans. I want to just do it, even if a dust bunny remains on the floor. I want to step out of my comfort zone and invite people over. Couples, groups, kids, no kids, cookouts, games... whatever. Just fill our table.
3. I want to write a book. So many tell me I should, or ask if I've considered it. I have, a blog to book, but I'd love to really write a book. Maybe I could just come up with a framework this year....an idea, a topic....If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!
4. I want to be a kinder, more compassionate parent. I'm a pretty ok Mom, but I can get mad about the repetitive, the defiant, the "you have got to be kidding me" moments that are just a part of having kids. I'd like to be very intentional about being more kind to those I love the very most. I want my voice to always be one of encouragement and love, even in the trying moments.
My life may not be perfect, but it is "magic and miracles". I want to be sure I see the magic and enjoy the miracles every day.
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