Forty-Five has not been my favorite year.
Yes, I opened a business just minutes before a pandemic hit, and yes, life as we know it has changed dramatically.
I miss my church, and our weekly small group gatherings. I miss hugs and talking to strangers from around the world. I miss watching my customers' eyes light up when they put on the perfect outfit. And I really miss the freedom of spontaneously popping into a new town, just to see what they have to offer.
But you know what I really miss? Life before forty-five.
When I turned forty, I was ecstatic. I felt like this decade was where all the best secrets were kept and and where all the ducks just fell into line. And you know what? It was pretty much true! I felt so much more comfortable in my own skin than I ever had before. My family was thriving and my marriage was feeling steadier than ever. Life was not and never is perfect, but I was at peace with myself and the world around me, and that peace kept increasing with each trip around the sun.
BUT, forty-five. Forty-five got me, and I didn't even see it coming.
So, what the hell happened? Well, believe it or not, it wasn't a pandemic or a failing business or... (insert whatever might send one over the edge here). It was the realization that I'm approximately half way DONE. Yes, done. As in dead. No longer alive. A pile of dust. A memory that will only live as long as the people who knew me are alive.
And that hit me.
Not at all because I'm afraid of death (Jesus, come soon), but because I no longer feel like I have all the time in the world. My mortality is really real, and I can't get back the time that's gone.
This was the year. The year that:
- I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize the middle-aged woman looking back at me.
- I've had to watch my kids make their flight plans and wonder if I did enough to prepare them.
- I felt the weight of knowing I could have done better with so many things. My relationship with God, my finances, my marriage...my kids (read: more snuggles, reading time, boo-boo kisses, tea parties, etc.)
Oh, my sweet, beautiful babies...Mommy promises to pay for your therapy.
Whoever said looking in the rearview mirror is a mistake because you're not going that way, was both right and wrong. The rearview mirror holds a beautiful reflection of a journey that led me to where I am - a journey full of love and joy amidst twists and forks. Looking at where I've been teaches me to better map out where I want to go.
However, I won't look back and feel sorry for myself or worry about things I can't change. Instead, I'll choose to run the second half of this race with purpose and direction, sharing love and grace abundantly, surrounding myself with beauty and meaning.
I'm ready for all that these next decades have to offer - I've already picked out my grandma name, for Pete's sake!. And I'll TRY to remember that my body might not recover the way it used to, and that I can no longer diet for a week to get bikini ready (OK, I promise NOT to wear a bikini). Buuuuuttt....