There have been times in my life, when I was about to make a transition, that I have felt the need to mark a passage in time. Like I needed to say a formal goodbye to one thing and then say a formal hello to another. Sometimes it happens on a New Year's Eve. Once it happened after I decided I needed to get over a broken heart and move on. It has happened when I've said goodbye to useless habits.
Tonight, I'm feeling it again. I just want to be left alone to write and meditate and reflect. Of course, I have 3 children, 1 husband, and 2 parents here with me so I'm not necessarily alone. But I am in my room, in my bed, wearing my favorite fleece, and quiet.
I have decided that it's not so much the year FORTY as it is the fact that this is a rite of passage. All of my children are in some sort of school. Chances are very likely that we are done having kids. The things my children require of me as "mother" are not what they used to be. I actually see in the not so distant future the chance for me to focus on me for a tiny bit each day. The nights when I will lie (lye? who cares?) in bed whispering and snuggling with my children are more in the past than in the future. While they still love to sit on the couch with me, snuggled under a blanket reading books, I know those moments will become fewer and farther between. There is nothing about turning 40 that is different than turning 39 and 363 days, for example. It's just a bit of a more formal, more recognized marker to show the passage of time.
Several of my friends have told me that the anticipation of 40 is much harder than turning 40. I think that will be the case for me. Frankly, I just want to get tomorrow over with. I ran into a friend today who turned 40 on Thursday. She told me she was really anxious about it and then woke up on her 40th and thought, "This? All this fuss for THIS? No big deal." I'm hoping that's how I will feel.
And frankly, it's not like I'll have a chance to really dwell on it. It's my oldest son's first day of sports camp, which means lunches, waters, snacks, sunscreen, out the door by 8:30, etc. Then my little guy has to be to his camp by 9. My middle guy has a playdate coming over. It will be a typical crazy day.
I just got an email from a friend. She told me that when "older" women are asked what their favorite decade is, the most prevalent answer is 40s. I get that. Children still at home, hopefully a bit more financial security than earlier years, young children but not the all-consuming infants, hopefully a peaceful home and marriage.
One final thought. About 8 or 9 months ago, I started on a campaign which I referred to endearingly in my mind as "fabulous by forty." What I have come to realize is that by saying fabulous BY forty, i am referring to 40 as an end-point. What I want is fabulous in my 40s. I am hoping these years can be about rediscovering, recommitting to myself, learning more about who I am, caring less about who others want me to be, learning to love to workout, not for the workout but for the power and strength it gives me.
2 hours, 10 minutes left. I'm smiling now.