Delayed a bit, since I turned 40 at the end of April.
But then again, I was a little busy on the weekend of my birthday.
Just FYI: this post is going to have nothing to do with frugality and a whole lot more to do with navel-gazing.
(Because this is my blog and I will navel-gaze if I want to!)
So if you’re only here for the money-saving stuff, come back tomorrow.
I feel fine about 40.
Forty is kind of an over-the-hill age, and several people have asked me how I’m taking this milestone.
Honestly, I feel just fine about it.
I mean, my kids are almost all teenagers (Joshua turns 19 in September and Zoe will turn 13 next February), I have a high school graduate, two of my kids are driving…it was starting to feel a little weird to still be in my 30s.
Plus, I keep coming back to this thought: not everyone gets to turn 40.
Forty trips around the sun are a privilege that some people don’t get to have, and I’m grateful to have them.
I’ve been blogging for a quarter of my life.
I started my blog in 2008, when I’d just turned 30. It’s so weird to think I’ve been typing out my thoughts here for 25% of my life!
I thought I would know more by now than I do.
You know how people write those, “40 things I learned in 40 years” sort of posts?
Well, I feel like mine would be kind of short, because the main thing I’ve learned in 40 years is that I know so little. And that I was wrong about a lot of things I used to be sure about.
When I was 20, I was practically bursting with confident knowledge and wisdom. (ha)
I was so sure about so many things at that age because everything seemed really black and white; everything was clear cut.
I miss some parts of that assurance, but mostly I think it’s better to be a little less dogmatic; to take things more on a case-by-case basis and to acknowledge that most problems and issues are way more complicated than black and white.
I am more aware of my own failings than I used to be.
I’ve always been a behaver, so my faults and flaws (for instance, people-pleasing, or being overly self-reliant) are a little bit complicated to see.
My problems can kind of hide beneath the surface instead of being super obvious and I suppose that’s why I see and understand more of them as I age…it’s part of seeing the world in a more nuanced way.
When you are a behaver, it’s easy to think that you aren’t as messed up as the people whose problems are more visible. But the more I understand myself, the more I see that I’m just a messed up person who looks tidy on the outside.
(Which is why I need Jesus just like everyone else!)
I used to think I’d be a better mom/wife than I am.
Before I got married, I was pretty sure that I was going to be The World’s Most Amazing Wife™. And my confidence about my parenting was off the charts when I didn’t have any kids.
Isn’t it just so easy to be perfect at something before you actually have to do that thing??
I suppose one useful thing I’ve learned, though, is that no one is the world’s most amazing wife or the world’s most amazing mom. Everyone is kind of muddling through, messing some things up and doing some things really well.
But no one can possibly do this perfectly, and that does indeed include me.
(Again with the needing Jesus thing.)
I used to think I deserved a lot more credit than I really do.
Oh, man…20 year old me thought that my successes and skills had a whole heck of a lot to do with me and my choices and my self-discipline and who knows what else.
And the older I get, the more I see just how many privileges I’ve had that have put me where I am: my race, my socio-economic status, my stable childhood home life, my education, my health, the country I live in, the number of people in my life who love and care for me…the list could go on for a long time.
I’m looking forward to my 40s.
My twenties and thirties were mostly spent mothering (I had Joshua when I was 21), so while there have been some changes in those years, the theme has still been four-kids-at-home mom life.
But by the time I reach a new decade milestone (God willing), my kids will be 22, 24, 27, and 29.
(Whoa. That’s the first time I did that math. HOLY MOLY. I am going to have adult children.)
Anyway, the next ten years are going to be full of lots of change (like, uh, the fact that I will finish being a homeschooling mom), and while I know some of it will be bittersweet, I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how my life shifts.
In my almost 19 years of mothering, a thing that’s held true is this: there are good/bad and easy/hard things about every stage of parenting.
So, I have every reason to think that this upcoming stage of kids-becoming-adults will be no different and I look forward to discovering the delightful parts of this new phase of life.
(Ok, but I probably still am going to cry when my kids move out.)
And I think that concludes all of my turning-40 thoughts. Thanks for indulging me.
P.S. If your 40s are behind you, I’d love to hear about them!