When my son was two, I had an impromptu conversation with a fellow mom as I was lamenting about the “terrible two” stage. “Watch out,” she said, “the ‘threenage’ stage is worse.”
That was the first time I’d heard that word, but she was right. Three is a rough age. As our son rounded out four-and-a-half, I hoped that turning four meant we would turn a big developmental corner.
When our son was just two months shy of his fourth birthday, I began to see that, indeed, we were nearing the end of a tough couple of years and about to enter a new phase in his development. As he turned four, communication and listening skills markedly improved.
So it is the same with adults. It’s just not as apparent as it is in the early developmental stages. Plus, being older, we aren’t as likely to celebrate our milestones as we are with our infants, toddlers or preschoolers.
My son is so excited for his upcoming birthday. Already, he’s gearing up for the age he’ll be turning. He will soon be able to use two hands to show us his age.
If we stop to think about it, isn’t that the way it is our whole life? When we are nine we can’t wait to turn that double digit age. When we are 10, we can’t wait to be a teenager. When we turn 13, we look ahead to getting our learner’s driving permit. Turning 16 means getting a drivers license; turning 18 means graduating from high school, getting out of the house, going to college, being able to vote, and finally being an adult (so we think)!
I hit a major milestone this week. I turned the big four-zero! Naturally, I can’t help but reflect on the past two decades of my life, and I wanted to share with you who have yet to reach this age, and those who have, well, you can back me up!
My 20s were all over the board.
I sacrificed a near-full-ride scholarship to a Division I university and moved out of state to attend a different Division I university where my boyfriend, at the time, attended. Yes, I moved for a BOY. There! I’ve said it publicly.
In that relationship, I walked down the path most girls in their 20s dream about, but I ultimately made a decision that would terrify most girls in their 20s. I broke off our engagement six weeks before the wedding.
I started my career. I learned not to leave my resume on the fax machine of my current employer. Better yet, don’t be applying for a job at your current employer’s work place!
I learned it’s not only about who you know, but also what you know and your desire and ability to work hard.
I was active in my church yet I dated an alcoholic.
I traveled across the globe, witnessed and experienced things that typically are only reserved for missionaries.
I moved back home for a season and earned my masters degree.
I made mostly good but sometimes not so good decisions. All combined, the decade of my 20s shaped me into the person I needed to be to enter my fourth decade of life.
I kicked off my 30s in a new town, new state, new climate, new career. Though I was schooled in the art of journalism, experienced in public relations, marketing and communication, my new job in newspaper ad sales seemed exciting – and something I could do – but all these changes, simultaneously, were overwhelming. I threw myself into my job.
I met so many people across my new community, attended multiple events month after month, grew relationships with clients, made new friends through my network of fellow business professionals. Clients became friends, and through my work, I met the man I would marry at age 32.
Since then, it’s been an exciting adventure at a hyper-speed pace. Seventeen months after our wedding, we welcomed a new baby boy into this world. Our lives changed. MY life was turned upside down – literally. I’m not kidding!
The first time I met my son, the doctor finished my emergency C-section, and they brought our son over to me and positioned him in a way that our faces were just opposite one another. I vividly recall asking the nurses to turn him around so I could see his face!
Looking back, I wouldn’t want it any other way! I’m blessed every day by an active little boy who keeps me on my toes, who loves like Jesus loves, is thoughtful and compassionate.
Through his first couple of years I suffered from undiagnosed postpartum depression, I waffled on my decision to stay home and ultimately returned to work for just shy of a year. I needed that time to regroup and reprioritize my goals as a mom.
During that time, things became clearer, and I confidently quit my professional career and found my place as a wife and mother working for our family inside the home.
Our daughter came on the scene 27 months after our son was born. For those who don’t like doing the math, that’s two years and three months – three-and-a-half months, precisely – later.
When our son was born, my mom told me, “your heart will just burst with love!” And, she was right! I could honestly feel it GROW with a love I never felt before. I worried I wouldn’t have that same feeling the second time around, but right on cue, as I sat in the backseat on the car-ride home with this new little human dressed all in pink, it hit me. LOVE. Greater than I knew from even when our son was born. Indescribable. My heart GREW! It was incredible!
At least the second time around I knew what to expect, and I was determined not to let hormones get the best of me! I was a different woman this time around. Fierce. Ready!
I wasn’t ready, however, for our son to instantly GROW into this big kid upon the birth of our daughter!
With a toddler and a new baby, things got a little tricky. We all had to learn to share. We all needed a big ol’ dose of patience. And we had to learn how to adjust to having a new family member.
It took a couple of years. It also took a couple of years for me to work up to the idea of turning 40!
Just like my son’s developmental milestones between age two and three, and a big one from three to four, I reflect on my own journey the last few years and realize that at any age we can develop – mentally and emotionally.
When I was 38, I lamented needing a mammogram in two years, the new grey hairs I was discovering, what new wrinkles might appear, and the ongoing struggle with my weight, especially since “they” say it’s harder to lose weight after 40. I continued attending periodic Jazzercise classes and found I really enjoyed it. I even dug in to learning more about proper nutrition and improved portion control.
When I turned 39, I embraced being “in” my 40th year of life. I went on a deeper health journey participating in some challenge groups, taking an even bigger step toward a more healthier me by adding more real, whole and clean foods into my diet, amping up my Jazzercise by increasing the number of days I would attend classes and increasing the weights I used. I took a bit of a health hiatus mid-fall, but six weeks before my birthday, I upped the number of Jazzercise classes I attend per week from 2-3 to a solid four! Plus, I challenged myself regularly to use heavy weights, and two weeks ago I graduated to consistently using 10 pounders! On my birthday, I went with my husband to workout at his gym, which I joined, and my goal for 2018 is to add in at least one day of solid, focused weight training.
~40 & Feeling Fine~
Who says 40 is a drag?! Shoot! I made the best of it and partied like a rockstar! Nearly one week into my birthday I feel amazingly strong physically, mentally and emotionally.
It’s like something “clicked,” just like the corner our son turned from three to four and we can see, even now, from five to six! I feel more secure in who I am as a woman, a wife and a mom! I’m confident my 40s are gonna be he best decade yet, full of love and lasting memories!