My dad is somewhat of a jokester. I won’t say how many years ago, when my mom turned 40, he and a mischievous buddy of his spray painted a billboard on the highway to announce her birthday. Only they said she was 50, instead of 40. That billboard stayed that way for as long as I can remember, and I don’t even remember when it was painted over or taken down. (I think dad’s partner in crime owned the land or the billboard or something like that, I never really knew if they were actually committing a crime, but there are photos of them in the act.).
Mom went through a whole range of emotions about that billboard, but it is definitely something that our family will never forget.
I remember thinking 40 was old and 50 was grandparent material. If you made it past 60, then you were just ancient.
This past weekend was my own 40th birthday. I didn’t get a billboard announcement. (Thank goodness!) I also don’t feel as old as I thought I would, or should.
I started having kids a decade later than my mom. Sometimes, I wish I had had my kids at a younger age so I could have more energy to play with them and my joints would hold up to the rough housing. But I know I wouldn’t have been the same parent 10 years ago. I lose my shit way more than I’d like to admit (it’s really hard to parent a 3-year-old and stay sane), but overall, I feel like I’m more patient than I was at a younger age.
I’ve had these 10 years to learn some much needed life lessons. Lessons about love, money, compassion, empathy, time management, and judgement. Having my kids when I did enabled me to find a wonderful, supportive group of mama friends, who I still keep in touch with daily, even though I moved away from them.
Being at the point I am, with two small kids at 40 years old, I realize how much age is just a number. I may not have the energy to keep up with my kids for as long as they want me to, but they definitely keep me active and strong.
I turned 40 without much fanfare, and that’s OK. I’m beginning to think that the less excitement you have in your life, the longer you get to live it. So bring on the quiet birthdays, may they keep coming year after year.
P.S. This post is a week belated, as many of my plans that weekend were waylaid by a stomach virus. We were all sick, all at once, and it was awful. Thankfully it was short-lived and we’re all better now and I’m catching back up.