Forty. I said it. I will be forty tomorrow and birthdays are hard for me. They always have been. I don’t know why that is. You would think that by this age I would have at least THAT figured out. Maybe that is part of my problem. Even after forty years on God’s green Earth, there is so much that I do not have figured out. I had an ex-boyfriend who once told me in high school that I set expectations that no one could meet, not even me. I think that by the time my birthday rolls around around each year, that kind-of bites me in the backside. It’s on my birthday that I have this distinct feeling that another year has passed and I should have accomplished more, given more, learned more been more, gotten my junk more together by now…right? Is anybody with me here? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?
I could look at a few things I didn’t do but hoped I might.
Lose 40 by 40. FAIL. (Ha!)
Take up tennis. NOT.
Finally learn to feel comfortable in open water with sea life swimming around me. NOT EVEN CLOSE.
I can look at what is clearly in front of me. This week we are in my favorite place. My husband brought me here on purpose, I am certain, because he knows how hard this time of year is for me. It’s hard to be sad in your favorite place! I had coffee my husband had made for me while watching crystal blue waves undulate and the breeze blow through my sweetheart’s graying hair. I polished nails with my high school daughter and we laughed and talked about everything and nothing. I listened as my middle school son talked about schools of fish he found as he snorkeled and how they reminded him of people he knew, flocking together, scared of being revealed individually. I pretended to scream (okay, maybe some of that was real) when my five year-old teased me about a scorpion crawling about ten feet away and soaked in his perfect little gut chuckle. Now THAT’s something. I didn’t do it but I get to share in the lives of these amazing people, to guide and love them and be loved by them. And I like to think I had a little something to do with how happily they live their lives. What an incredible joy and privilege!
So, I have just decided that with God’s help it is time to stop beating myself up. We were never meant to live in defeat. That’s no fun. I do not want to fight back tears on my birthdays anymore. And…
I may never lose the 40 I had hoped. I am pretty happy with what I have lost and will keep trying. Y’all just might have to chalk it up to my being a really friendly girl when my arms just keep waving long after the wave is over.
I may never play tennis and that is okay. I will happily cheer on my tennis girlfriends but seriously! The only time these knees need to be in a little flouncy skirt is under a decent length swim skirt. (Thank you, Lands End.)
As for comfort in open water. Naaa- never gonna happen. Do you watch Shark Week and River Monsters? That’s why sitting on the boat and waving at everyone else in the open water is so much fun!
I’ll be forty tomorrow. 4-0. 40. Didn’t that used to seem so old? I think I just read something about forty being the new thirty. I like the sound of that!