- Posted August 1, 2014 by
By a Lake, Minnesota
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Is Age Really Just A Number?
Today is my birthday and I’m 44 years-old. When I see that age typed out, it looks so old to me.
When I was younger, I thought of people in their forties as pretty much on their way out the door. How that has changed over the years…
I can look back on the angst of my teens and 20’s to the uncertainty in my 30’s, and am grateful to be where I am now. With age comes a peaceful confidence. I have little desire to ‘prove’ myself to others, nor do I really feel like I need to. Yes, there are still insecurities and fears; however those are often quelled by the gift of hindsight and knowledge.
Life doesn’t revolve around me anymore… and I like that. My life has become my family, friends, and church, along with making myself available to others if I’m needed. I had spent such a long time with ‘me’ in the center of my universe, that it was a relief to finally have a change of focus.
Looking back, I feel that I’ve lived many lives. Many of those lives were pleasing on the surface, but lacked little in the way of comforting my soul. Amongst my jobs have been multitudes that are random and yet somehow interesting – such as: I was a receptionist for The Doobie Bros (yes, that 70’s band); a proofreader at a school for reading development; designer of surf clothing; surf/snow/skate tv spokesperson; calligrapher; make-up artist; stylist; & writer. I’ve also tossed in furniture maker and cancer advocate to round it all out.
Yet, nothing changed me as much as becoming a mom.
Once I had my first child at the age of 31, everything I thought I knew went directly out the window and splatted on the sidewalk below. Nothing can prepare you for the time in life where everything you’ve always known is changed in the course of a day. My children have opened my eyes and smacked some sense (and other things) into this nonsensical brain of mine… thank God for them.
My spirit finds delight in my children – even when they drive me absolutely batty. It’s around them that I am free to be me (remember Free To Be You And Me? That just popped in my head…. my age is really showing now). They see the mom who sings James Brown around the house and dances like no one is watching – even though I have 2 sets of eyes staring at me in rapturous horror. They see the mom who hasn’t brushed her teeth yet, but will hug me anyway. They see the mom who makes up goofy names for the roadkill she passes. Actually, come to think of it, my husband sees that woman too and remains married to me. He’s a good and patient man… with a weird sense of attraction, apparently.
All this to say: 44 isn’t what I thought it would be. I didn’t think I would be a double cancer survivor, wife of a wounded veteran, or a recovering alcoholic. I had no clue I’d be driving a mini-van (I still have a hard time with that one!) and ‘parent’ to a multitude of animals (the bearded dragons surprised and oddly delighted me). Building our dining table from scratch and not being able to run in high heels anymore both shocked me – of which, one of those I’m quite proud of.
When younger, I had thought the age of 44 was nearing the end of life. When, in fact, it seems as though my life is truly just beginning. I can’t recall a time when I’ve felt such peace and joy, both of which are deeply rooted in my soul. Life certainly hasn’t ended now that I’m older; it’s just evolved into a contentment that can make it through the worst of times and come out the other side in appreciation.