I worried about turning 40 weeks before my actual birthday arrived, as if the day itself would bring a new array of aches, pains and struggles.
For some reason, the number didn’t scare me; instead, I feared the horrible term, “mid-life.”
My life thus far had flown by. I clearly remembered being a kid, riding my bicycle all summer through the roads and fields on my parents’ farm. It seemed like only a few days later that I was spending every waking hour changing my kids’ diapers and sterilizing bottles on the stove.
Now my children were grown, and suddenly I was facing the middle of my life. This thought brought an intense amount of fear. I had loved every segment of my life, but didn’t want the rest of it to hurl by as quickly.
It was at this point that I realized how much I needed to stop and enjoy this part of my journey. During my 20s and 30s, I felt like I was always in a hurry. I rushed through everything, constantly struggling to complete a huge list of daily tasks. It was time to breathe, relax more and be thankful for each day.
I remember having a conversation with my aunt one afternoon when the two of us were picking vegetables in my garden. I was telling her that I was dreading my week, as my schedule was nonstop for the next few days. My aunt quietly said to me, “This too shall pass.”
She explained that soon my life would slow down—and that my best years were still ahead of me.
At that moment of stress, I didn’t truly understand what she was trying to tell me, but I do now. I now enjoy activities on a regular basis that I never thought I would have time to indulge in. Instead of putting myself last, I’m close to the top of my priority list. I’m finally living for me—without feeling guilty.
Instead of considering your 40s as the middle of your life, think of them as your time to be you.
My kids are doing well. They’re living out their lives and dreams, as I taught them, and have become kind-hearted individuals. I did my job—teaching them important life lessons, while giving them their own wings to fly. As I will always be here for them when needed, it’s time for me to spread my own wings.
Instead of spending my afternoons running errands and cleaning the house, I now reward myself with nap time, browsing through catalogs, and hair appointments—things I never did before. I spent years wearing the same clothing so that I could buy my family the essentials; now I can purchase items for myself. It’s a beautiful thing.
My car radio stations are now set to my favorite channels, and sometimes I even enjoy a glass of wine on my patio in the afternoons.
I used to look at the young people surrounding me and feel jealous of all of the fun their lives had in store for them, but now I realize that I can look forward to what my life still has for me. In my younger years, I wasn’t sure of who I was and spent my days trying to discover what made me happy. I know myself now, and continually embrace the person I’ve grown to be. I’m at peace with my life decisions and feel a calm that I struggled to grasp years ago.
Life is a crazy rollercoaster, and every phase brings a host of new challenges, but I’ve decided to enter this new sector with confidence. For the first time, I’m excited about what each day will bring. Instead of rushing through, I’m enjoying every day with a smile.
I’m finally walking barefoot in the grass, and loving the feeling of it between my toes.
Embrace each stage of life. Don’t fear age, as it could bring the best moments, like late-night dates with your spouse where you hold hands again and watch the sunset.
Instead of thinking of it as “mid-life,” consider it as a shift to “more-life,” and live it to the fullest.
Author: Jill Carr
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Toby Israel