When I was a kid, about eight years old, around the same age that my kids are now, I remember going to the local pool and looking up at the lifeguards in awe. I vividly recall looking at them like they were giants. I was envious of their independent youth and their ability to do whatever they wanted when they wanted. They were so old. That was what I thought, anyway.
Now, I hear my own kids wishing they were big enough to do certain things. I tell them I remember feeling just like them. I counter their desire to be grown by encouraging them to live in the moment and to try and enjoy where they are now because, once they grow up and the momentum builds, there is no stopping the hands of time. I have assured them that once they are grown and life gets real they will be reminiscing about their childhood and wishing once more that they could go back to summers with friends, night games, sports and the simpler moments we all took for granted until we grew up.
I find myself just five months shy of my 40th birthday and I can’t help but notice the onset of change, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually too. I have to say, I am good with it. I have chinks on my armor and have weathered some storms that have made me much stronger. At almost 40, I am a survivor. We have no control over what life brings. It is all about the way in which we handle it. I didn’t understand that as a young person, but it is one of the many mantras I live by these days.
And what about those physical changes that have me staring in the mirror a little bit longer? I find myself pulling and poking and plucking everything and anything. Apparently, that comes with this almost-40 territory. It’s happening. My body looks different. My face has more lines and I can’t hide a late night like I used to. I can see veins in my legs and I squint when I look at the monitor. When Aunt Flo comes to town it’s more like a flood and the idea of covering my grey is exhausting.
However, I have no qualms or fears about reaching this milestone. Making it this far is a rite of passage and a gift. I get to be the coach instead of being coached. I get to teach instead of being taught and I get to share my life experiences with my own kids so they will one day recognize that mom really does know what she is talking about. This journey has been one that has taught me an immense amount about life and I feel like I have just spent the last 40 years climbing to the top of a mountain. There were some storms and a couple of avalanches along the way. I was knocked down to the base with only one option: onward and upward. I am pushing 40 and I ain’t afraid!