I remember back on the even of my 40’th birthday, as my husband snored beside me, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with grief. To me, that number meant that the “uphill” path was done, I had reached the peak and was now on the downhill slope… step by step to the end of the path.
Dramatic YES. Because, 40 isn’t “old” right.
As I lay in bed that night, my head was filled with my mortality. I WAS getting older, I WAS aging. I WOULD one day die, and my family WAS growing up around me. Even though I still saw myself as 32 in my head, it wasn’t what the rest of the world was seeing.
I am now sitting on the later half of my early 40’s. Closer to 45 than I am to 40, and closer to 50 than 30. (that still induces some panic in me)
And while my 40’s have been amazing for my confidence, and my brain, the wear and tear on my body is getting worse every month.
I don’t know when I started to FEEL old, it has probably been slowly increasing in intensity over the years, but lately, I have been.
I got my first pair of glasses last year, and while at first I would just use them for computer work, now I find myself wearing them more often than not. I can no longer “squint to read” the instructions on the packaging, and last night while tying fishing lures for the boys fishing trip, I had to squint WITH my glasses on.
My feet, after so many years, they seem to have taken the brunt of aging. It takes my poor feet about 30 minutes to loosen up each morning, as I hobble down the stairs like an old women to put the coffee on. I am getting fussier about shoes, and my old, loyal hiking boots are now like a torture device, instead of a pair of worn boots that show me the world.
Aging is physical yes, but the external parts of it I don’t mind so much. What you can see, the grey hair, the growing and deepening wrinkles, none of that matters. Its what only I can feel that is starting to become more of an issue.
I never used to be able to imagine myself an “old woman”. I was forever youthful in my mind, and I believe my attitude will always have a youthful appeal. But my body, no matter what age I THINK I am, my body is starting to dominate the conversation.
I am becoming a person who could rattle off a laundry list of aches and pains, some just hints at something bigger to come, others well established and impactful to my day.
I thought turning 40 meant I was getting old, but that’s not true. I will never get old, but my body will start to becoming a more prominent feature of my life, controlling my actions, and changing my passions. My body that has been so reliable for so long, is starting to no-show on days that I need it. Days I want it.
Being “in my forties” doesn’t mean “stopping”, but it does mean listening. And it means stocking the freezer with ice and advil so on the days I didn’t listen, I can make amends.
And perhaps, getting new glasses.