Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What 40 Has Done to Me

I don't know how it happened, but I'm 40.

It's just another year. I'm only two months away from 39.

But I'm different.

I'm different in every way.

I used to be melancholy. I would spend time longing for things in the past and wishing I could touch those moments again. (Baby videos...childhood photos....yowzas!) Now, I realize with ferocity that these ARE those moments. Every single moment is to be tasted, savored, enjoyed, and loved. My once Kindergarten-aged daughters are 11-year-olds, and I need to squeeze every beloved ounce of enjoyment and quality out of 11. I will do that again with 12, 13, 14....59...80. I will do it until my time on this earth is over.

I've learned to forgive completely. I don't hold grudges or hate EVER. I'm not saying I was walking around a few months ago with anger and hatred, but what my late '30's taught me was that in the Bible, where it says to "love one another" and to forgive others, it's not just a suggestion. It's a commandent...Jesus's most important one. I get it now. Thoroughly. I let things go.

This is cliche, but I worry a lot less over what everyone else thinks about me. I feel confident having an opinion. I trust my gut, and spend a lot less time second guessing myself. I don't feel like I have to justify my decisions or explain myself. This is a big one for me. Growing up with a pretty strict dad caused me to respect authority, but also to feel like I was "in trouble" a lot. I questioned everything. Did I make the right decision? Did I do something wrong? Was I bugging someone else? Now, not so much. I still have a healthy respect for authority, but those feelings of insecurity are gone.

I've learned not to worry. I was a worrier, and I never understood why that was a problem. (As if any of that worrying ever helped anything!) A profound truth I've embraced is that worrying is selfish. It tells God that you think you are in control, when in actuality, HE is in control. I release it to him. This has had a major effect on me. It's so freeing to trust God and to know he's got you covered. I'm not a tattoo person, but if I were to get one, it would be Luke 12:24-28:

          "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds
            them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a
            single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the
            rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon
            in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
            which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you,
            O you of little faith!"

More than ever, I've become a Bible reader. For too long, I carried it to church and wrote in the margins during the sermon. Now, I use it as a toolbox of help, support, knowledge, and beauty. It's my most important book.

Phew! Isn't 40 wonderful? It has been an awakening for me. Years of reflection and knowledge have stacked up to this moment, and WOW. I get it!

At 50, I may think what a naive youngin' I was at 40, but somehow I doubt it.


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