I turn 49 today, and my parents wrote on their card to me “enjoy the last of your 40′s”. I hadn’t thought a lot about it. I don’t feel like I am almost 50, and I’m told i don’t look it, either. (Theory: it’s because the fat fills out the wrinkles.)
I do remember that when I turned 30 it hit me hard. It was partly due to the fact that I felt I hadn’t accomplished anything in terms of a career– i really just had a job, not any kind of career. The one thing that kept me from really feeling like a total loser was that I was pregnant with my second child. It seems silly now that at a time when I had one young child and a baby on the way, I was concerned about my career.
But thinking about the last of my 40′s got me thinking about my other “last-of” birthdays. When I turned nine, I was in third grade, with the wonderful Mrs. Fredericks for a teacher. I can still hear her reading Charlotte’s Web to us. I was a tall gangly girl with glasses and a big nose, and I loved to read and hated math.
When I turned 19, I was a freshman in college. I’d broken up with my boyfriend from high school several months earlier, and by then I was finally over it. I don’t remember much else from that time, except that one of my best friends had recently back-stabbed me over something stupid. We made up shortly after. In retrospect, I don’t know why I wanted to be friends with her. She was not a nice person.
Age 29, I had a one-year old son I doted on. I remember being a bit lonely– most of my friends didn’t have kids and I hadn’t yet made friends with people who did.
At age 39, I was over all the career-angst. I was a stay-at-home mom who was homeschooling 2 kids. I felt pretty good, I had two great kids, a wonderful husband (I still thought that, and at that point he was pretty darn good). We had a lovely house in the country, I had a good group of friends, I was moving along on my faith journey. If you had told me that in three years my marriage would fall apart I would not have believed you.
And so we come to 49. I’m divorced, and living off alimony and child support and what I earn as a waitress. I have one kid in college and one who will head to college in the fall. I start school in the fall, too. I have good friends, I’m involved in a lot of things, and am pretty happy over-all. Life, in short, is good.
I am very blessed, and although there is no question that the 40′s have been my toughest decade, I’ve weathered it well and am proud of where I am in life.