Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Everything I Didn't Know About Being 40

So, I've made it into the Fabulous Forty club. It is my 40th birthday. Forty. Four decades. Forty years of living. Forty years worth of gray hair.

I don't feel bad that I'm turning 40, I'm not having a hard time with the number 40 (okay, I cried a couple of times in the laundry room, or when I was driving, or when my kids mentioned the number 40). Partly because I'm married to someone MUCH older than myself (okay, only 3 years older), partly because I'm friends with people who are MUCH older (you know who you are!), and partly because 50 is the new 40.

Forty is monumental, though. Forty years,  that's how long the Israelites were wandering in the desert. I've never known how long that must have seemed until today. The number 40 is full of biblical significance. Most women dread the coming of 40 starting at their 29th birthday.

What I'm saying is, turning 40 is a big deal, and not. You know?

It's just that there is so much I didn't know about turning 40.        
Chunky thighs then, chunky thighs now.

I didn't know that I would still feel 23, until I looked in the mirror or my pant size.

I didn't know that I was still going to be journeying towards peace and understanding, that my relationship with God would NOT be running on autopilot. I totally thought I would have that all worked out. Ha!

I didn't know that I would be so calm about my crazy life, or have such joy in my family, or that my house would be so loud. I didn't know that I would love the chaos so much, or that people would sit on my couch solely for entertainment purposes. Also, I didn't know that I would always want more children, specifically babies. BRING ME THE BABIES! but take them back from the ages of 2-3 and then bring them back again, please.

I didn't know that at 40, riding a bike with my 9 year old would feel even better than it did when I was nine. I mean, to feel like a kid again when you'd been working so hard on being grown up and mature; there is nothing better!

I didn't know that I would still have such a temper! Or that I would still use curse words when I shouldn't! Or that I would not be embarrassed to go into public without make up because I rarely wear it anyway.

I didn't know that reading home organization books would be favorite ways to spend my free time.

I didn't know that I would love parenting teenage daughters, or take such immense pleasure in watching them turn into young women.

I didn't know that a doctor saying the words, "Sounds like peri-menopause to me" could be rage inducing, then torrential tear inducing.

I didn't know I would talk to myself so much. Seriously, I practiced saying, "I'm forty," in the bathroom mirror!  My four year old has been known to say, "Mom, stop talking to you-self, it's freaking me out!"

I didn't know that pretty much everything I liked at age four are the same things I like now, at 40!

I didn't know that parenting boys would be so much stinking fun, that I would love their messiness, and the smell of their hair after playing outside all day.

I didn't know that I would look AND sound so much like my mother.

I didn't know that I would still not enjoy doing the budget and bills. I thought that was something you grew to enjoy, not loathe more.

I didn't know that I would already have glimpses of the peace that surpasses understanding, or know the love of Jesus so deeply that I would find myself equipped to do more, go further, and sing louder.

I didn't know that I could be so tired and still keep moving. I thought you slept more as your children got older - turns out I was wrong. Real wrong.

I didn't know that we would be raising teenagers and toddlers all at once, or how fun that would be.  I love that I am 40 and have a 4 year old. Love it!

I didn't know how much like my dad I was going to become. He's so right; you really don't need more clothes than you can wear, and there is no reason to keep things you don't use.

I didn't know that my tattoo would not be my biggest regret. For the record, giving the kids play dough and glitter are some of my bigger regrets, because they are just as permanent as a tattoo. I'm still cleaning that mess out of the couch and it's been years since I allowed glitter and playdough indoors.

I didn't know that I would love my husband more than I did when I was 20 - and still be discovering new things about him, after 18 long wonderful years of marriage. Best friend doesn't even begin to cover it.

I didn't know how much grief would hurt, how long it would take to heal, or how different I would be once on the other side of it.

I didn't know about skin tags. Yo, why didn't somebody warn me? Those things are gross.

I didn't know that I would live so far away from my parents, and I certainly didn't know that I would always wish they were closer. I didn't know that we would be best friends, too. I have the best Mom and Dad, truly. They are the kind of people I would pick for friends.

I didn't know that God would give us family, wherever we are, in the form of a church. God's people are my people, beautiful mess that we all are.

I didn't know that pretty much everything I liked to do when I was four, I would still like to do at 40.

I didn't know that I would laugh the way that I do, or think of the crazy things I think of, or do the nutty stuff I do. Again, I thought I would grow out of some that.  Sadly, farting still cracks me up, and I will never grow tired of playing pranks on people. You go on and grow up if you want to. I'm not gonna.

I didn't know that I really would care less what others think of me - that is freeing!  Why is that I feel better about myself in a bathing suit now than I did when I was 20?  For real, I'm wearing my bathing suit right now and I am all that and a bag of chips

I didn't know how excited I would be for my future after 40. A couple of years ago I started to really dread aging, then God brought some really amazing (ahem) mature adults into my life. These people showed me that life is still fun, like belly-laughing fun, and I am so grateful.

I thought I would know so much more by now. Seriously. I thought I would be so pulled together at 40, and that life would be running smooth, that I would have it all figured out.

Not so much.

I'm okay with that, though. I think that's what 40 is all about - knowing you don't have it all figured out, and knowing that's just alright.

Coffee cake from this morning. :) I'm 40, gotta roll with it!


  1. This has absolutely been your best blog yet, cousin of mine. After turning 40 myself I was feeling pretty bad about myself but everything you wrote is true. I feel as though although we are apart our lives have been paralleled in many ways. Oh yeah, the whole being yourself and not caring what others think of you I believe you got from your parents because that's where I got it from. God love mammaw she tried to get me to conform and was always worried about what others thought but your parents where all about being yourself and I love them for that. I am so glad that your relationship with your parents is as good as it is, cherish it because when their gone the echo's of their loss are deafening. Keep writing please, it brings back wonderful memories and makes me laugh. Love ya

  2. well said, kara...[for an old fart!]

  3. I agree with your comments about "loving parenting teenage daughters" and "teenagers and toddlers all at once." What a joy! My four girls are what keeps me feeling young at 40+.

    I hope you had a happy birthday.

  4. Great post! I just wish we could have been there to celebrate with you!

  5. What a wonderful list! Happy belated Birthday - hope it was great and your year ahead blessed. My favorite part:I didn't know that I would still feel 23, until I looked in the mirror or my pant size. Haha, yes I feel that one too and I am waay over 40 : )

  6. Happy belated birthday, kKra! I turn 40 in April and that feels odd too, I admit. Thanks for this perspective.

    Go, you!

    Jennifer Dougan