I turned forty a couple of weeks ago. My mum asked me recently how did it feel being 40 and I said it feels pretty much like being thirty felt, or even twenty. I'm quite sure I have changed over that time, what with the getting older and having kids and all, but in some fundamental way I don't feel any different. I don't think back to who I was as a newly married 21 year old and wonder what happened to that person, she's still right here.
For me forty seems full of possibilities.
My kids are getting older and more independent all the time, I can do more for myself and we can do more together as a family without having to calculate the possibility of a melt-down due to missed naps or late meals.
I'm taking singing lessons and the day after I turned forty I sang solo in front of a room full of people I didn't know (at a singing workshop organised by my teacher for all her students - there were judges and giving of critiques - eep!). Now, the fact that I'd spent the night before eating lots of fabulous Spanish food and drinking lots of sangria followed by singing karaoke for 5 hours and getting home at 2am meant that I wouldn't say I sang well, but I made people smile and even laugh a couple of times and it was fun. I'm sort of looking forward to next time.
I'm making things that people say nice things about and even occasionally give me money for, there's enormous satisfaction in creating something that gives someone else pleasure. People tend to be a little bemused by me not having pierced ears and hardly ever wearing jewellery given that I make the stuff. But I can't see it when I'm wearing it! It's much more fun to find myself talking to someone and realise they're wearing a pair of my earrings. Which happens quite a lot because heaps of them have been sold through the Mothers Day craft stall at the school for kids to give to their mums :-) Or seeing a bit of my weaving on someone's reenactment costume - so cool!
I'm more sure of myself than I've ever been. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up and that's ok. I know who I am and what I believe to be important in life, I know that I'm content with what I've done with my life so far and I have things I want to do that promise to fill my time very nicely in the future. I know that learning and growing and expanding my horizons doesn't ever have to stop and I'm excited by that.
Every time I think about this arbitrarily supposedly significant milestone big-4-0 thing that I've just smashed past there's this voice that pops into my head with the refrain "Forty more years. FORTY MORE YEARS!!" I'm looking forward to them, and to the ones that come after that too. (With a maternal grandmother 15 days shy of her 100th birthday I think I can justify contemplating that possibility.)
Oh, one other thing, that voice in my head? If you want to hear exactly what it sounds like, watch this:
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