Approaching the big 4-0

I feel like I have been ‘over the hill’ since about age 25. My journey through the decades has been arduous, exciting, and exhausting. As I come closer and closer to my next decade of life, I realize how much I change with every decade that passes.

In my first decade as a person, I honestly don’t remember much other than a fun childhood with great memories of family, silliness, and a loving, supportive environment.

My teen years came with challenges, as I first dealt with death, and love, and had no concept of how to handle either one.

In my twenties, I had a few carefree years, only to be saddled with a health challenge that required organ transplant. I also married my husband and learned the meaning of true partnership and unconditional love.

My thirties–well frankly those years leveled me. I became pregnant with the most wanted little angel on the planet. He arrived very early, and spent nearly a year in the NICU. And though he received a life-saving transplant on my 35th birthday, we still lost him. I gained another son through adoption and learned even more about love and loss than I thought possible.

As I approach my forties, it’s with fear and excitement. I don’t know that anything will hurt me as much as the loss of my son. Nor can anything bring me as much joy as my children and the family we have created.

Our parents are aging, and with that comes the challenge of figuring out how to become caregivers to those who have been our constant pillars of strength. Our relationships are evolving–friendships have fizzled while others continue to grow. Our son is developing into a little man, and his challenges become our heartaches, his successes our triumphs.

And as I approach forty, I am thankful for decades past. I have changed, wholeheartedly. But I am the same carefree teenager who still falls in love easily. I am that twenty-something, career-driven individual who works tirelessly towards success while still clinging to the effortlessness of childhood. I am that thirty-something mother who treasures every moment, every touch, every smell, of her beautiful angel in Heaven and her son on Earth.

And at the same time, I am a much older, much wiser woman. I have learned that life, in all its beauty, will ravage me to a point where I feel I can no longer carry on. And I know that joy, true happiness, is always within reach, if you know where to look.

Approaching the hill, climbing over, and coming out on the other side a better and stronger person is my wish for this decade. To be a better me. And all of those decades that have come before this one, have shown me how.