It's a wonder 40 can even stand on its own, given all the things we have managed to attach to it.
It's so- Significant.
Even though - technically speaking - 35 is more mid-life, 40 has managed to be the shining beacon. The flag in the rock. The all-too-cliché 'top of the hill'.
There hasn't been a birthday I had, was aware of, and didn't love. LOVE. (Did you catch that? I love my birthdays.) Older people would wearily tell me that I would soon tire of birthday joy; it would wear off as I got older. I would mature and my birthday would become drudgery.
WHY. Why would I become indifferent to a personal new year? Why would I rather be dead than celebrating a birthday (because, let's face it folks, those are the only two options). (Are they? What if one has a birthday while battling disease? Or facing the death of a dearly beloved?) So, okay. I'll allow for Special Circumstances. (Hang on a second. Is life not Black and White?! No. -shock, awe, panic-) Yeah yeah okay gray areas. (See? I'm mature.)
Day above ground and all that. So we arrive here at 40. I arrive here at 40. I'm 40. (I know. Bet you didn't see that one coming.) (OMG enough with the parentheses already.)
Because I am excellent at math, at age 38 it only took me a few hours of calculations to realise that I would soon be 40. (ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?)
Because I am the best at making decisions, it only took me 10 or 30 years or so to realise I needed to love and take care of myself and then decide to do it.
Because I am the single most disciplined person I know (I can't even keep a straight face with this one) I immediately snapped into action and got my shit together. (Excuse me while I ROTFL for a bit).
Okay. Okay okay. Okay I'm ready. (ROTFL)
No really. I'm really ready this time.
I did though. Not immediately but I worked hard and I began to discover, find, and get my shit together. And all jokes aside, I had really been doing the work of discovery over the course of my third decade careening through space. Hurtling? Careening. No, Spinning. Spinning through space. Much more accurate.
I rediscovered my feet and began to stand on them again. I discovered my voice and tried it out. (Still working on that one). I moved into the spaces of myself. (What even does that mean? I don't know but it sounds right, okay?) It was like- filling out deflated parts. You know when you're inflating a shaped thing and it takes a while for some of the parts to fill out so the thing looks not-quite-right for the first bit? Like that. Like air (me) was finally getting into the fine details (parts of me). Feeling more defined, I am.
In more ways than many. Which leads me to the Touches* part of my post. The physical aspect of my work. Time to be get serious about being healthy and strong. In love. Not to punish, not to whip, not to force, not to shame, not to hate. To LOVE my whole self and to care for my whole self (I'm talking about my body here.) After decades of self hatred, I'd worked hard enough, come far enough, understood myself enough to be kind to myself. I was ready to move past (had been climbing up the mountain of) the mess that was how I felt about my body. (Let's use the standard issue Can Of Worms as a point of reference. What I faced, dealt with, worked through, was the entire agricultural industry that produces the Cans Of worms.) I will not heap the details upon you because I like you, but it truly was Something. Everything at times. And to be transparent, I'm not even really done yet. (Is one ever really, though?)
So I began the work of self care. I learned about self discipline. I learned that I can do more than I think. I learned that I often think more than I do. I learned that you have to do the hard thing and that it will most certainly not get easier if you wait. I learned that life, multifaceted as it is, is an many ways a series of hard things and that shying away from them doesn't serve me.
I accepted pain.
I accepted struggle.
I accepted discomfort.
I resist pain.
I resist struggle.
I resist discomfort.
I will accept pain.
I can accept struggle.
I do accept discomfort.
I am beginning to understand how to keep doing the hard things. Small and large. Small like, get up anyway. Big like Keep Going.
Keep going. There is no destination. Now is the destination. Here is the destination. Present is the destination. Over and over and over again. I am learning the truth that the journey is the destination.
In this process I have metamorphosed. Am metamorphosing. I'm not sure I have done anything; rather I remain in a state of doing. I did complete a triathlon but I don't feel finished. Even if I never do another one, I am still living that. Still being shaped by the effort, by the challenges, the outcome. I have worked off many pounds. And I am still living that. I am astounded to have learned that I enjoy jogging. ME. I am actually enjoying the dreaded exercise. ME. It is literally changing me.
The story keeps being written.
So much of the story is present participle. I am writing. I am learning. I am figuring. I am hoping. I am thinking. I am planning. I am reflecting. Listening. Searching. Questioning. Failing. Taking. Giving. Succeeding. Defying. Resisting. Releasing. Accepting. Puzzling. Wondering. Waiting. Going. Staying. I am Hurtling. Laughing. Feeling. Doing. Being.
Forty so far is totally fucking amazing. It's everything I'd heard. I feel it only gets better. This decade promises to be one of ... I don't know. Exciting adventures of being myself, the ongoing project.
30s me did a great job setting the stage.
40s me is running with it. (A pair of scissors, I mean.) (Obvs.)
Run girl. Run. Or walk. Whatever.
*Touches - A Jamaican term for sensitive.