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Thursday, February 12, 2015

"The Rush Hour of Life" - On Being Forty

That's me now, spending my day at the office.
Recently, I've read about the, "Rush hour of life,” when career and child-rearing peaks collide.  Most people in this age category are still reasonably young, but many things are on the decline: health, fertility, those travel plans you were certain would happen by now or the certainty of a bank account that hasn't quite accumulated the anticipated goal.

Most days I'm grateful for the chance to live and arrive at this place, but I don't love everything about being forty.  I do not like the way my skin heals more slowly and my feet are angry that I've been wearing heels for more than twenty years.  I don't love my wider waist or more bountiful bottom.  I find I have less tolerance for complainers and dismiss those who aren't willing to work hard for what they want.  

There are things I know about myself now that I consider to be the greatest gifts of middle age:
  • Managing my sleep is the best way to ready for whatever life presents.  It's the best way to serve my family because only when adequately sleeping can I manage the surprise challenges each day presents.  Eight hours of continuous sleep is one of life's great pleasures.
  • Everyone facing a new opportunity is winging it and only by moving forward will I gain confidence.  
  • When someone is extremely charming, I am not dazzled.  I am cautious.  
  • My mother taught me so much more than I realized about practical, daily living - thank you!
  • Peer pressure never really ends, but it's so much easier to stand alone and find the ones who like me just the way I am.  
  • Family really is the best.
  • Soul mates are made over time by investing in a relationship daily (and nightly!).
  • When I don't know what to wear, choose something black.  Add red lipstick.
  • Laughter is the quickest way to heal friction in a relationship, but taking time to work through the deeper issues is worth it. 
  • Taking care of myself makes it possible to care for others well.  
  • Good health doesn't happen on accident and I am the only one responsible for this body.  I wish this wasn't true, but it helps me to realize steps needed to feel well.
  • Kindness covers a multitude of wrongs.
That's me 40+ years ago ...
I wish the chunky thighs were still cute!
There are still so many things I want to accomplish in life and there is a growing sense of the need to get going if it's going to happen!  Dreams are wonderful and inspiring, but they become disappointments without a plan of action.

I think "Rush Hour" is a term that rightly describes the way I feel most days.  With children at home from grade 1 through 12, with the duties and responsibilities they bring, plus working, managing a home and building a marriage...well, somedays I feel there just isn't enough time.  But I don't want to rush through this season.  So many treasures are found in the moments ticking by everyday.

Birthdays always make me ponder the state of my life, much like the New Year but with even more personal introspection.   Happy birthday to me and may you enjoy a great day, too!

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