So, here it is.
A new year.
Oh, and did I mention I turned 40 years old a few weeks ago? It was epic.
Well, not really.
And, so I have all kinds of things I am going To Do. And I have my Resolutions. And I stand resolute.
And, shaking in my boots.
Who knew that God would take me seriously this year? He did. He expects me to do Great Things.
I am terrified! Here are five reasons why.
I am forty.
No, I am not terrified because I am getting older. (Actually, that’s fine with me.)
I am terrified because someone said on my birthday:
“Forty is the new thirty.”
I think she was trying to make me feel better, but I was terrified.
Because my whole life, I thought that finally when I was forty, no one would care about whether or not I was losing weight, my hairstyle, the kind of car I drive, my shoes, my clothes, my makeup (or lack thereof), blah, blah, blah. All the stuff I have never cared about (well, I like exercising, but not so I can be super skinny).
All the stuff everyone cares about when they are young, or that you are supposed to care about when you are young and carefree and the world is your oyster and all of that.
I was looking forward to middle age.
And now society is trying to ruin it for me and make me wait twenty more years to finally be able to relax and have no one care that I have a “muffin top” or hairy legs or saggy abs or gray hair or dry armpits or whatever everyone is worried about these days.
Because when you’re old, no one really cares so much about that anymore. I guess they figure you’re a lost cause, and you should be left alone to watch The Weather Channel in your muumuu in peace.
But, no. Now forty is the new thirty, and who knows? Maybe when I am fifty, fifty will be the new thirty. I am completely exasperated with this nonsense. I want forty to be the plain old forty. Is that too much to ask?
I am forty.
I called my friend on my birthday (or maybe the day after–I don’t remember exactly–probably because I am forty and have a bad memory!), and I said:
“I’m terrified because I’m too much like the children of Israel.”
I mean, on the dawn of my fortieth birthday I had to wake up to the cold reality that I have been basically wandering around for forty years without a clue as to what I am doing–and often making a complete idiot of myself (like the children of Israel).
Yes, you can tell I’m a relative. Those traits of obstinance and sometimes absurd behavior run strong in my veins. And, have I learned anything from my forty years in the wilderness?
Well, yes. I could probably do fine with manna. How nice it would be not to have to think of what is going to be for dinner. Every. single. day.
Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just say,
“Well, I would really love to make you all a five course meal and then clean up afterwards, but all we have is manna.”
I woke up two weeks ago wondering if I was ready to enter my own figurative Promised Land.
And I like to think that maybe I’m ready to stand up and be a Joshua and grow up and take charge and act like an adult.
And, in one way, at least, I am like Joshua. I am scared out of my wits.
I know the Lord is with me on this, because I think perhaps He is quite ready for me to grow up, as well. But am I ready?
I guess I am as ready as I’ll ever be, but I can’t believe it’s been forty years.
I am forty.
So, when I was thirteen, I thought that when I was forty I would have a yellow convertible and drive around smiling and I would have my nails done and matching outfits with matching purses and I would belong to a book club.
Also, by the time I was forty I would be crafty and have themed rooms for my children and distressed furniture and a pantry with an antiqued sign above it and awesomely cute chore charts and photo montages everywhere and my husband would be almost ready to retire (because we would be so old), so we wouldn’t be worried about money or anything, because we would nearly independently wealthy.
My kids would all be teenagers and I would be the “cool” mom who everybody thought was awesome.
I am so glad I’m not doing that.
But, can I just say I am terrified at what I am doing.
I realize now that I will never own a yellow convertible because by the time my last child is out of the house, I will probably be 100. Maybe they won’t even be making convertibles anymore!
Also, I will never get my nails done because it requires upkeep, and I am all about avoiding non-essential upkeep.
My furniture is mostly distressed, because we bought it from the classifieds or a thrift store so we could have a happy family and not have mommy constantly losing it when the kids decide to do things like eat frozen blueberries on the white couch in the formal living room.
Age has only shown even more of a disparity between my love of crafts and my skill at creating them.
My husband will probably never retire.
And I am the antithesis of “cool.” In fact, I am probably the uncoolest mom in the universe.
Also, the majority of my children are not teenagers. It turns out that forty isn’t so ancient after all.
What terrifies me about where I am right now is that I actually love it, and I think it’s okay to love it. Even if I’m doing it all wrong. Or partially wrong. Or whatever. I just really like where I am.
Does that mean I haven’t reached for my dreams, or found my zen or whatever? I don’t know. I’m happy, but not in a tranquil, meditative way. More like in a loud, topsy-turvy, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing, sometimes-I-cry, sometimes-I-want-to-run-away-but-not-really kind of way.
Does writing that make me sound weird? Or normal? I don’t know. That’s what terrifies me. I have no idea in what way I could be classified. I am just a hodge-podge of forty years of roaming about the world with my family and trying to make sense of it all. And apparently, I have made very little sense of it.
I am forty.
And sometimes when I get up to go to the bathroom three hundred times a night (because of the pregnancy), I feel stiff.
And I wonder if it’s because of the pregnancy or because I am forty.
So, most of the time I blame it on the pregnancy, and I try not to think about how much more creaky I might be able to get.
And then I start panicking and make everyone eat vegan salads and green smoothies for a two weeks straight until we all cave and order take-out.
Aren’t people who are forty supposed to be more even keeled?
Oh, well. I have thoroughly enjoyed almost every green smoothie I’ve made this week. 🙂 Also, I am currently so creaky that my threshold for takeout is 0% and we are back to eating healthy 98% of the time. It does feel good, but I still feel creaky.
Must be the pregnancy. Maybe I don’t have to panic.
I am forty.
And, I finally think I am beginning to understand how to really pray to my Father in Heaven.
For years, I have been employing the practice of praying for the things which I am inspired to say, not just chit-chatting. Which is hard, because I love to chit-chat.
Recently I said a prayer and absolutely knew I was going to get everything that I asked for, because I knew I was asking only for that which He wanted.
And, that, my friends, is terrifying.
Because most of the things He desires for me are scary and sometimes don’t even seem like something I would like. But, I trust Him. And, as the scripture says, “it is a fearful thing to be in the hands of the Living God.” Really. You never know what might happen.
So, as you can see, I have reason to be shaking in my boots! It’s exciting, and I sometimes wonder how I am going to pull all of this off. Sometimes I actually don’t pull it all off, but I guess now that I’m forty, I can just not take myself so seriously and laugh at my sometimes humorous attempts at being good and wise and then go forward with faith, slogging through my Promised Land (which turns out not to be so easy after all), and battling my own Canaanites and rooting out all the extraneous silly stuff in my life. Here’s to the next 40 years!