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Ten Years Ago Today

June 11, 2013

life begins at forty

I’m 40.

There, I said it. I am 40. 40!

Forty.

It doesn’t compute, not really. 40 is how old my mother was when I was high school. Yes, high school. I am not old enough to have children in high school. How can I possibly be 40?

Forty begs a bit of navel-gazing, and I have to admit… I can honestly say, without a doubt, that I look better today than I did ten years go. (Click here to see what I looked like ten years ago today. But please don’t laugh.)

Ten years ago, I was stocking up on diapers and butt-paste. I’d never helped anyone study for a spelling test, or driven in a car pool. I had never shuttled small people to swimming lessons or suffered the anxiety of a sick child in the night. I knew little beyond my career, and my personal goals – ten years ago, I was a Vice President. Ten years later I’ve moved quite a ways on the corporate ladder – now I’m a secretary. And I’m thrilled with that.

At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.

– Ann Landers

Ten years ago I thought more about what I wanted than what was best for someone else. Ten years ago I would stay up late and sleep in late…and never thought about that being anything unusual. Ten years ago I spent more money on a single outfit than I now spend in six months on clothes.

Ten years has changed a lot. Ten years has taught me a lot of things. Things like…

The intoxicating scents of of Green Apple shampoo and Johnson’s Bedtime bath.
How to change a diaper with one hand, and prevent showers with the other.
The difference between yeast rashes and eczema.
What to do about croup.
How to handle emergencies like broken arms and sliced foreheads.
The best way to study for a spelling test.
How to build an exceptional replica of Komodo Island out of styrofoam and flowers from the avocado tree.
When to pull out the humidifier and how to break a fever.
When to pull a loose tooth and how to get out of the tooth fairy’s forgetfulness.
The best tools for building indoor forts.
That band-aids and wet paper towels cure all manner of ills.
How to cut a boy’s hair the night before the concert, and how to hid spinach in spaghetti sauce.
What brand makes the best diapers for little boys (yes, there’s a difference) and which wipes dispense the easiest.

The first forty years of life give us the text: the next thirty supply the commentary.

– Arthur Schopenhauer

Ten years ago I had never made baby food from scratch or frozen my own breast milk. Ten years ago I had never kissed someone on the forehead as a means of checking their temperature, nor had I never received a hand-made mother’s day card with “mother” and “love” spelled “moter” and “luv.” Ten years ago I hand’t ever worried about breast or bottle, crib or co-sleep, baby-wearing or crying it out.

Two boys, ten years.

I’m fitter than I was a 30, and I weight about 50 pounds less. I’m stronger than I was at 30, and probably a bit smarter, too. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to keep up with these two.

Ten years has changed a lot.

I’m less worried about what other people are thinking. I’ve survived a few hits and know better my own strength. I’ve been thrown up on, and I didn’t throw up. I’ve found success, and I’ve found it wanting. I’ve discovered the secret to making friends isn’t just being one, it’s bravery. I’ve found that I possess a resilience and inner strength that I didn’t believe was possible at 30.

40 still doesn’t sound quite right, but on the other hand, it does. It doesn’t seem to suit all my classmates I’m seeing on Facebook who are also 40 – they can’t be that old either. I’m’ not ashamed of being 40. I’m not embarrassed by it – frankly, I feel a bit more credible at 40 than I ever did at 30.

Maybe 40 really is the new 20.

Whatever 40 is, I plan to make it fabulous.

Women are most fascinating between the ages of 35 and 40 after they have won a few races and know how to pace themselves. Since few women ever pass 40, maximum fascination can continue indefinitely.

– Christian Dior

I'm not forty

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2013 7:12 am

    Lovely post. I’m 43 now and still can’t believe it, although I love who I am now and where I am in life.

  2. June 11, 2013 8:52 am

    Happy Birthday! Awesome post – wonderful reflection and celebration in those words and those years! Quite a collection of memories to remember along with this milestone. Here’s celebrating you and a great new decade! Enjoy! Blessings to you!

  3. Evelyn Acord permalink
    June 11, 2013 12:12 pm

    Excellent! Many birthday and God’s blessings to you this week!

  4. Kassandra permalink
    June 11, 2013 10:41 pm

    I enjoy reading your post! I cannot agree with you more on many things you said … like “I’m less worried about what other people are thinking.” I share your joy and I celebrate with you. You are incredible and I respect you for who you are. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my dear friend!

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