I am 40 years old today.
A year ago, I planned to give myself the opportunity to completely freak out about this day. A year ago, when Robb was out of a job and I was working 16 hours a day to do craft shows to keep us afloat. But that freak-out hardly seems necessary. I expected to feel like a door was closing behind me at 40, with things that I still wanted to do stuck back there. But with the arrival of the new year, Robb's new job, my red hair and a positive pregnancy test, it seemed that any illusion of my age limiting me completely evaporated.
And I can say pretty confidently that I didn't waste any of my 30s, so no regrets there.
I book-ended the decade with babies. I suppose it would have been easier on my body to have had the biological baby at the beginning of the decade and adopted at the end, but truly, this was the right path overall. When I think of how much I learned and changed because of Charleigh, how much social awareness she brought to my life, I am so thankful.
In between, those bookends, we started a church. Which has a similar rate of success with starting a restaurant. Only it brings in the little element of your soul and spirit and theology...so you know...no big thing.
We travelled to places I'd never been: To Arkansas. Florida. Canada. San Francisco. I love traveling and each of the places we went was a gift that can never be taken away from me.
I always loved old things. I always bought old things. But it was in my 30s that I found my groove as a redeemer of old things. Those simple tile nippers that Robb got me for Mother's Day one year turned into a hobby and then a passion and then a business. I know now that as a creative, there are no limits and so I can bring my work to the forefront when I need to and even better, I can push it backward in line of priority and focus on more pressing things...like people.
In this past 10 years, I have finally learned how to be with people. I learned how to really love my husband and my kids. I didn't really know how to do that before. Sure I had warm feelings toward them and cared for them. But I had never learned how to dig deep, acknowledge who they really are and who I really am and accept both those things, no matter how it looked. And that's also how friendship became so much more. I didn't know how to be a friend in my teens and 20s. I was too self conscious and too independent. I didn't know how great it was to just be myself and enjoy other people being themselves, no matter how different they are from me. I'm better at asking for help and I'm also better at taking care of myself. Not in a selfish "me-first" kind of way, but in the healthy "I want to have something to offer my family and my friends, so I'm going to take care of my body and soul" kind of way. I'll never be perfect at any of those things, but I am not nearly as interested in being perfect anymore.
All that to say, I rocked my 30s. I'm proud of that decade. And now I'm looking forward: in the next ten years, I want to do a good job of loving people...the people I live with, the people I live near, and the people that live far away. I want to be as healthy as I can be. I want to be creative more than busy. I want to be generous more than guarded. And I want to have fun more than scheduled. I want to run more 5k's, keep working on myself in therapy, overcome my fear of empty canvases, and generally do things that make the world a better place. At the end of this decade, I have ten year old. At the end of the next decade I will also have a ten year old. That much will be the same. I wonder what will be different?