It happened the other day. I was with a couple of ladies I had kind of just met. Our daughters are in the same gymnastics class. Sometimes I sit and watch, most of the time I go grocery shopping. Alone. Bliss. But that's another story.
Anyway, on the last day of class, they mentioned they were going to eat, and invited us along. My Indian Princess was so excited to spend more time with her friends, so we went.
We were talking, getting to know each other, comparing parenting stories. Somehow, our age came up. I will admit, I probably started it all, because I can't tell a parenting story without telling our adoption story. One of the women asked how old I was. When I told her, I had an out of body experience. No lie. I gave her the number. I knew it was true. But even I couldn't believe it.
I have never shied away from my age. When people guess my age, they usually guess too young. (I'm fine with that.) But for some reason, that night, I couldn't get over how old I was.
Now before I go on, I know that some of you are older than me. You will tell me I'm still young, or it only gets worse, or something encouraging like that. And I believe you, and honor you, and I just need to process this for myself. So sorry if I sound shallow while it all sinks in.
I know a number is just a number, but I am definitely middle-aged now. I can't pretend I just got out of college, let alone high school. I have been blessed with decent genes, I brush my teeth, and I still try and wear something that was made within the last 5 years. But I am older. My hips and thighs tell me so, as does my dermatologist.
Am I sad that I'm older? NO. I look back on my life and the lessons I have learned, the expertise I have gained, the friends I have made, and I am grateful. I am entering a time where I have a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things. And I can share this knowledge with anyone who is interested. And most of the time, I know when to say, "I don't know." and be okay with that.
I love having a history. I love having friends in multiple cites, states, countries. I love watching younger women go through the struggles of adulthood, confident they will get through it with flying colors.
In short, I'm grateful to be alive. Once my girls came into the picture, my birthdays became less important. As a matter of fact, I don't want anymore birthdays, simply because I don't want to think about leaving my girls alone someday.
To be honest, I haven't thought about concrete goals for the second half of my life. Rather than being career and family focused, I want to become more God-focused. That gentle and quiet spirit that is so revered in Christian women is not something I have naturally. I want to become a student of Christ, so I can determine how to honor Him best, using the personality and gifts he has created me with.
Other than that I don't have a clue.
So while I ponder that, I am still coming to terms with my 40s. Rather than judging athletes who retire in their 40s, I am starting to understand the wisdom in their decision. I realize I have no idea what others are going through unless I walk in their shoes. And I am becoming more protective of what I know is right. There are some things I will not back down from. Unapologetically. It's a right we old farts acquire.
So thank you to all the folks who have influenced my life. Younger and older. I am grateful. Just please, don't ask me how old I am.