I am turning 40 in just over a month, and to be honest I usually forget how old I am and have to take my daughters age and then do the math knowing I had her shortly after turning 30. I thought I was 38 for a couple months this year and then was like – oh wait, no I am 39! Ha! I am not someone hung up on age. I really believe age is a state of mind and you can be a spry young 80 year old (we all know them – don’t dare tell them they are 80!) and or an old and tired 30 year old. I have decided to go down young. And now that I am on the cusp of this milestone which I really don’t feel like is a milestone but poignant all the same, I am thinking about what it means to me. And because I write to figure things out here it goes…. on turning 40.
Maybe this is halftime. Maybe this is intermission. 40 years. I pray I have another 40 years to follow the first act. I have heard spiritual teachers say time is an illusion, to experience timelessness. But there are clocks and calendars, and to do list and birthdays. There are anniversaries and New Years. Timelessness yes, but Walden said, “as if you could kill time without injuring eternity”. Consider the lowly second, so easy to disregard with its lack of importance. “It will only take a second”. “I will be there in a second”. Maybe a second is everything. Maybe a second is the bronze medal or no medal, a car accident or avoiding disaster, just boarding the 11:07 train as the doors click behind you and you take a seat in aisle 24 next to your soul mate. On the cusp of my 40th, I am considering time – gorgeous, expansive time and I don’t want to waste one sacred second. I want to celebrate every glorious one, not the one that preceded it, not the one to follow, that very second and get into the details of life. I don’t want to waste one act, one deed, one word.
40 years. Every experience in my life brought me to this. I thank God for every one of them. The beautiful and precious and silent ones and the heartbreaking ones. And sometimes especially the heartbreaking ones simply because these are the ones I don’t always understand, these are the ones that instruct me. These are the ones that cause me to rise, and rise, and then rise again.
40 years. And there is still is so much to learn, so much to do, so much to experience, and share and give. I hardly think I can get it all done. 40 years. I am not looking back; I am looking forward. I am not feeling old; I am feeling like I need to pick up the pace because time is a tickin. I am not lamenting the past; I honestly believe my 40s may be the best decade of my life.
My yoga teacher says the meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give that gift to the world. The gift is love. And I want to give, and give and give for another 40 years. I want to give until I am completely spent, and there is nothing left. I want to leave absolutely nothing on the field.
Happy Birthday to me! Another milestone – 1!
40 years. And magazines and commercials are telling me to erase time, to fight aging, to hide wrinkles and crows feet and believe me I understand. But once I heard a story of a woman, a cancer survivor who celebrated every silver hair, every wrinkle. To grow old is a priviledge not everyone is lucky enough to experience. Not everyone sees their children grow. Not everyone has another day. Maybe we earn our wrinkles. Every laugh line is a memory and every worry line from all the love and care we pour over our children. Maybe faces are maps and to erase them is to erase us, our history. When I crave youth I look to my children. They are the young. I can let go of my youth with grace. I don’t need to erase anything.
Milestone birthdays are the pause button. The previous act just ended and the orchestra is warming up, getting ready to introduce the second act. The curtain draws and stage left enters a woman, brown hair, green eyes, easy smile. She is walking forward, looking towards something. It is her future. All the moments in her life brought her to this, to understand how precious time is. She doesn’t want to waste one second of it.