Last week I signed up for a 5K, and with dread looked at the blank for AGE. I'll be the first to admit it I wrote the number 39 with a bit of a sinking heart. Later I thought about why I did it begrudgingly. Is it because all around us that age is one people look to as a milestone (usually negatively), or do I personally truly dread turning the big 4-0?
Growing up I consistently would hear the hype around turning 40, so it naturally left me with not a fantastic feeling about it. In reality, though, I guess I can't truly blame social media or Hallmark or anyone else for making 40 a milestone of sorts. Most greeting cards start to poke fun when you turn 40...needing glasses, better memory, etc. On the flip side, I have heard more and more that 60 is the new 40. Really? So does that make 40 the new 30? This leaves my mind buzzing.
So now let's examine the second possibility....do I truly dread turning 40? In a way, yes and no. The sinful side of me always has worried about the day when my body will start breaking down, when my hair will turn gray, etc. I don't really think I imagined this would all happen by 40, but once again that is the first aging milestone the world throws at us. This past week my husband Jesse wrote a blog titled "Dream vs. Reality" which had a totally different focus than age. But, it got me thinking that I could have named this blog "Perception vs. Reality." The world's perception of turning 40 is different than what I now see is my reality.
Here is my reality in a nutshell. I have kept my health a huge priority in my life, and because of that I don't feel what I once perceived 40 would feel like. I honestly feel more like 30. I don't say this to toot my own horn, but I've stayed fairly conscientious about eating a healthy diet and exercising on a daily basis. So in this aspect I most certainly do not dread turning 40. One side story for you...Last week I was reading test scores that had printed off in very tiny print, and I had to adjust the paper a certain distance from me to read it. I grimaced for a second, put the paper down to process what had just happened, and thought "Really!?!" As I reflect on that, I still don't dread 40, that is just a natural part of life for many. No matter how hard I fight to prevent it, God's all-knowing and all-powerful hands will dictate when my eyesight will leave me. Until then, I will relish the fact that I'm a healthy almost 40 year-old!
Here is the other half of my reality. I'm just a kid at heart. I don't think I ever thought someone at 40 is some old stodgy person that is all uptight, but my perception quite possibly was more that I myself would be quite different...that my personality would change, that I would act older or something. There are certain things in life that naturally age you due to your responsibilities such as a job, marriage, parenting, etc., but I truly believe what is deep down stays the same. I still love to laugh out loud, talk a mile a minute, participate in dance parties at home with my girls, do toe-touches at work in the hallway, climb on things at the park, and the list could go on and on....I don't feel 40 at all!! Therefore I dread it even less.
This summer I had a wonderful talk with one of my aunts on our family vacation. Somewhere in there the topic of the big 4-0 came up and she said something to me that was so simple, but yet so profound. She said she never dreaded turning 40 because as she looked at it, it was just another year of God's abundant grace and blessings being showered upon her.She had experienced 40 years of blessings! I LOVED that she said that. Deep down I've always known that, but sin has crept in and had me looking at the opposite side of that. I've been blessed beyond measure, and for that I embrace another 40 (or more). Thanks be to God!
Simply put...embrace it!
P.S. Don't rush to send birthday gifts, I don't turn 40 until next May! :)