Truth–every time Taylor Swift’s song “22” comes on, I crank up my radio, sway in my seat, drive a little faster and sing along with gusto.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling
Yep, I change the words…mainly because it rhymes, it’s fun and I’m 42. Except now I’m not 42–today’s my birthday, now I’m 43.
I guess I need a new song.
My son gives me a card this morning and it says “Happy 29th for the 15th time!” It’s supposed to be funny, but I secretly wince. How come 29 + 15 sounds old too?
So here are my thoughts on 43…
1. It SOUNDS worse than it is. It’s actually not that bad. Last week, I traveled with my son. He looks far older than his 16 years–probably about 20ish. I could pass on a good day for mid to late 30’s. After, multiple days of people assuming we were a couple, I felt like a total perv, I told my son I was getting a t-shirt that says, “I’m the mom (not a cougar)”
2. Ok, I do miss the energy of youth (and maybe my perkier parts)…but that’s about it. A few wrinkles seems a small price to pay for all the benefits of maturity.
3. I have time now to enjoy my life. When the big kids were small, when I was a single working mom, when we started the church and I was trying to get my writing going…all I did was hustle, hustle, hustle. There was constant rushing and scrambling. Now–I can relax a little bit and appreciate all those years of wiping snotty noses and working late.
4. I treasure the wisdom I’ve gained over the years. You couldn’t pay me to go back to my twenties. All the emotions and turmoil of youth fade in light of parenting all the emotions and turmoil of my own teens.
5. I’m getting way more nostalgic. I used to set goals for myself for every birthday. Each year was a litmus test of accomplishments–the great grading scale of the American Dream. Graduate college. Get married by 25. Have babies by 30. Finish masters degree. Start church. Develop ministry. Blog. Write book by 40. Start women’s ministry. Run marathon.
Boy have things changed…
I forgot to include divorce, and career change and loss–and all the tragedy and circumstances that mold and shape us into people of depth and character. I never finished my graduate degree and I never ran that marathon, and truthfully, I could care less.
My yearly round-up is much simpler now.
I thank God I get to crawl into a toddler bed every night with my little girl and read her favorite books and growl and do all the voices of her favorite monsters and animals. I thank God for letting me go back East last week on an Ivy League football recruiting trip with my son. I will never forget laughing our butts off on the mountain roads of Vermont as we almost floated away in a hurricane in a rental car. I thank God for my lovely daughter Faith who will be a cheerleader next year in high school (just like her mama) and has the sweetest most loving spirit in the world. I thank God for my second marriage to a beautiful man, for the glorious redemption of having a family again and the ability to write and do what I love. I look at the people around me and pinch myself for the blessing of friends and neighbors and family.
I guess 43 is filled with perspective.
Here’s mine–Each day is a gift.
Fortunately, Taylor Swift is now 23–maybe we can get a new rhyme for 43?
What’s your perspective on middle age?