Sunday, October 05, 2014

Maybe Middle Age Ain't So Bad

My 40th October has arrived & it is not how I thought it would be. From a distance, 40 looked a bit intimidating, but up close I think I kinda like it.

I still have a couple of weeks to go, but rather than facing the birthday marked by black balloons with dread, I am the most fulfilled I can ever remember being. Of course, I am not such a fan of the grey contrasting against my dark hair, but there are solutions for that. My metabolism has slowed and this skin isn't nearly as elastic as it once was, but I will gladly trade it for the perspective and the memories.

Indeed my outer signs of wear are just a disguise for my inner growth. My friend recently described me as ' a box of birds' and I grinned. There is indeed vivacious life bubbling inside. In a world that tends to see 'authenticity' as just broadcasting the hard stuff, I wanted to pause and unapologetically plant a public flag here--at this place of free, content, grateful and happy.

I have forty years of life stories to tell, but most importantly, I have the courage to tell them because I realize my life so far is the sum of all those parts. Even the chapters that are cringe-inducing or heartbreaking, from this side of the hill, are obviously part of what God has used to get me here. As my friend Allen Levi wrote on his 42nd birthday,  "The things that I'd remove are the things that make the story mine."

After decades of discovery/trying to find out what I stand for, I feel far enough down my road to 'declare.' I am fairly aware of who I am--and perhaps more importantly, who I am not. I have grown comfortable enough in my (aging) skin to be me and walk my road without always feeling like it means the way you are doing your thing and walking your road makes me right or wrong. Other people's choices don't feel like personal affronts or indictments of mine the way they once did.  I absolutely have my moments, but they increasingly end with the peace that "my lines have fallen in pleasant places."

I have seen enough of life to understand most of the song lyrics now--the ones about searching, knowing, loving and losing. I've been in each of those places which allows for greater grace as I walk through this broken world. As a result, the occasional friendship drama is marked by more grace and truth than tears, offense and pride.

I enjoy being mature enough to realize how cleansing it is to simply admit when I am wrong. And knowing I don't have to be perfect or even completely understood to be loved? Well, that deep security is incredible.

I like being old enough to know that NO ONE has it all figured out. There is no longer the elusive dream that one day I will have it together and know all the things. This has released me to ask questions instead of faking competence--which it turns out, allows me to learn a great deal. It has also allowed me to take myself a lot less seriously.

There will always be people who don't particularly like me or 'get' me--and it is OK. As long as I am being loving and pursuing the Lord, I don't need your vote. Life is not a popularity contest, but a grand adventure where it is never too late to try and learn new things--and I'm planning to do just that.

I am enjoying the last couple of weeks of my 30s--they have been great. But, 40, I am looking forward to you.

I really think I'm gonna like it here.


Jennifer said...

Yay for October birthdays. I am celebrating on the 31st. Terrific post as always!

Missy June said...

I turned 40 this year, too, and so far - it is just THE BEST! I find my season of life to be a sweet one! I'm glad you get to say the same.

Denise Ross said...

Fabulous 40's!! I'm more accepting and contented now than I've ever been in my life. I'm 43 and I'm happy and fulfilled. These years are the best yet for me and I'm glad you feel the same way. :-) enjoy.