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Novelty candles may be used.Image via Wikipedia

Happy birthday to me!

I have officially entered my 40s. And life has not come to a screeching halt.

I have approached this birthday with a little bit of trepidation. Somehow crossing 40 seems like a real threshold. In one’s 30s one is still a “young adult”, so to speak. If you’re in your 30s, you’re considered too young to run for major public office, usually. You’re not experienced enough.

But lots of people in their 40s can run, because when you’re 40, you have all the experience you need. You’re not “too young” anymore. I kind of liked being “too young” for a lot of things.

Nevertheless, I don’t really mind not being young anymore, primarily because I didn’t particularly enjoy my younger years. With each passing year I have become more at peace, more fulfilled, and happier. As a teen I was so focused on finding a boyfriend or finding people to love me. In university I was tortured by the quesiton, “will I ever get married?” Once I did marry, I was worried that we’d never work out our problems. And then, as I began having babies, I was exhausted, I was worried about their health, I wondered at times who I was.

Here’s me at 26, sharing some of my special days with my son before he left us:

And here’s me two weeks ago, with no makeup, at a youth retreat with my kids:

Now I sleep all I want (primarily because my oldest is not yet old enough to drive. I hear sleepless nights begin again with the advent of a driver’s license). I truly enjoy my children. I love my husband. I have found my niche in life. I’m no longer insecure about relationships, or about who I am, or about my calling. I’m more at peace with just being me.

I have been told, too, by countless people that the 40s is way better than the 30s, because you’re far more confident, and I do believe that. I’m also relatively healthy, so I don’t see any reason necessarily why I should not be just as active in the next decade. So it’s not like I’m getting “old”.

I did a bit of a shock last week while visiting another church to speak. On the wall was a poster for their seniors’ group, which they called “50 plus”. And I thought, “I’m only 10 years away from being a senior!” That was weird.

But then it hit me: when I’m 50, I’ll likely have grandchildren. And I am so looking forward to grandchildren. At 50, Rebecca will be 26. Katie will be 24. Those will be fun years.

I think you hit an age where you stop measuring yourself by the years that you have passed, and you start measuring yourself by how old your children are, and what stage of life you’re at. I’m looking forward to the Grandma days. I’m looking forward to the days when my husband can cut back from work a bit, and we can go overseas for a bit more of an extended time to do some ministry work. I’m looking forward to having more time to devote to speaking.

Perhaps we’re scared of getting old because we’re really scared of dying. I don’t think about that much. I figure when my time is up it’s up, and God’s waiting for me. I’m more scared of slowly deteriorating, as I watched some of my grandparents do, but perhaps that’s just another period of one’s life when one learns grace and patience.

So today I am celebrating 40. I am confident. I am happy. I so love my family, and I’m grateful that God has given me so many to love. And life is good.

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