I remember as a kid, fearing when I would turn forty years old. It just seemed so old. Now that I am forty, it doesn't seem that old. It's not that scary. In fact, recently I was saying to a friend how I am really enjoying being forty.
I have the time and the freedom to do what I want. At this point the kids are all pretty self-sufficient. They can be left to run the house while I go to a class or on a date with Sam. Oh, we still get the occasional phone call that Samantha isn't behaving, or Rachel won't do the dishes, but all in all, they are able to manage. Sam and I are even talking about taking a three day trip to Pennsylvania for our 20th anniversary.
When I was in my twenties, I would jump in to every opportunity with both feet. I often found myself in over my head, scrambling to juggle everything and make it all work. Now, I take the time to mull it all over and consider my options. I don't worry that someone will be mad at me if I say, "no," or "I need to pray about that." I have the courage to say it and mean it.
The neat thing I've noticed about being forty is, not only do I have the freedom to do what I want, I KNOW what I want. I know what I like, and I have the confidence to make choices about the opportunities I am offered. I find I am less swayed by what other people will think of my choices and more aware of my limitations and desires.
Along with not being swayed by other's opinions, forty years of experiences have taught me that I can trust God. Yeah, the bad stuff is gonna happen. Kids get hurt, friends and family die, finances get stretched beyond what seems possible. But, in the end, God is there. In the little things: a sunset that is amazing, an unexpected gift that covers an unexpected expense- to the penny. God is there in the big things too: a deeper friendship with a family member, a peace of mind that is inexplicable.
Being forty isn't so scary. Sure, it comes with it's own issues: body aches and gray hairs. I think that these are a good trade for a life that is full. I am looking forward to what the next forty years are going to bring.