Turning 41

Remember back when I was so excited to turn 40? Remember how I knew it would be about coming into my own and refusing to take shit anymore? Well, maybe I didn’t say it exactly that way. Our Fab 40 group is changing our name to Fuck It, I’m 40…or something like that. Just sayin’. It wasn’t my idea, but I think I inspired it silently.

So, it’s coming upon the time for us to get together again and most of us are turning that year past 40. Or have turned. Or are contemplating it sometime later this year.

Yes, it’s 41. That year past 40. This fearless woman has to admit….41 is not sounding as fun.

Am I wrong? How is it 41 doesn’t sound as fabulous as 40?

I still love being in my 40s. A woman in her 40s is strong and determined and fun and sexy and lively. She’s got the world figured out and she’s good to go. I LOVE being in my 40s.

Ok, maybe I don’t have it figured out, but I don’t think it matters as much as I used to. I will figure it out as I go along and that will be good enough.

You know what it is? I’m not at the beginning of the journey with fresh eyes and energetic feet and a full water bottle anymore.  Suddenly, I’m understanding how much work there is. I’m noticing the water is going faster than I’d like and I can tell that my feet are going to get tired. Not to mention the pack on my back is feeling heavy already and I know it’s only going to start feeling heavier and heavier.

So, it’s not going to be all fun parties and good times? I think I’m okay with it. Every time I have to work, be patient, hurt, I find that the other side is so awesome. I’ve learned to trust, to be open and loving and that in itself is an awesome gift.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not any less fabulous. I’m still learning to be strong, motivated and relentless, but SHIT 41 is old!!!!

It all started about two months ago. I looked down in a yoga pose and my foot was crepey (yes, it’s a word). Not wrinkly, CREPEY (Look It Up)-like my Mom. Maybe even worse than my Mom since I haven’t seen her in three years.

And in the space of two months it’s all gone downhill. And I mean that literally. Things seem to be heading South at a faster rate than ever. And crepey-and just downright wrinkly. I thought I hated looking in the mirror after I toweled off, but this is almost obscene.

So what am I going to do about it?  I’m going to remember every little thing I’ve learned about grace and dignity. I’m going to remember that there are beautiful parts of the South. Gulf, Smokey Mountains, French Quarter, right? Those things are good.

Regardless, I’m going to smile and be good natured and be thankful that I’ve had 40 years on this earth. I’m going to remember that every line, spot and sag has brought me something wonderful. Right now I’m listening to Elvis Costello and that’s a pretty good reason to be happy, I’m 41, right?

I’m going to remember who I am. I’m a Cancer, I’m  lost if I don’t have a home. I need family and security and wonderful support. I need to put first things first and let go of the rest. I need love and comfort and pleasure. I need to feel like me, to make decisions that make sense for my life and my life only.

Much of this seems rather obvious, but to me it’s a revelation. It’s 41, it’s bringing me wisdom and it’s not even here yet.

For this I’m grateful for 41. Without 41 I wouldn’t remember to take care of myself and to love myself, as well as Elvis Costello. I wouldn’t know all that I do and be able to sponsor, mentor and love others as I do.

I’m going to work for grace. There are so many women with rich tapestries that I have adored for so long- for their age and wisdom, for their wisdom and pain and for just daring to be who they are. I’m going to aspire to inspire as they have me. Women like Dinah Washington, Flannery O’Conner, Janis Joplin, Maya Angelou, Betty Friedan, Margaret Atwood, Angela Farmer, Audre Lorde, Julia Child, Mary Chapman-Nielsen, Audrey Hepburn. Women who were strong, real, weak, stupid, fierce, smart and transparent. I have learned so much and continue, like them, to improve, to grow, to be better.

In this half of my life I know that I can be exactly what I aspire to be. Free, full of grace and lovely. I can be smart and strong without threatening, sexy without inviting, awesome and talented. This year I know that I can let go and live.

I can soar.

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