Happy Birthday To Me
Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 40. To sound completely cliche, I have no idea how that happened. Yesterday I was 30. I swear I was. The past several years have gone by in a blur of diapers and adoption paperwork and moves to different houses and school volunteer hours and supporting David with career changes. You blink and it's gone.
I was nervous about 40. I watched the lines around my eyes deepen. I watched the waistband of my jeans tighten. I watched my 8.5 minute mile slow to a 9.5 minute mile (or more like 10 if I'm really honest). I started checking the age boxes 35 to 45 instead of 25 to 35.
I'm presently watching my children creep closer to me in shoe size. I feel irrelevant at playgrounds. I color my hair. I shun Botox but confess it could be a temptation. I understand that my insecurities as a woman will never go away; there will always be someone younger than me, better than me, prettier than me, riskier than me. I can't believe I still have the same bad habits that I've had since I was 16. I've become less limber. And I'm still scared to death of flying and elevators, though I force myself to do both.
I was dreading 40 and did not want to think about it, until I began to remember all the people in my life who have passed away. People who would have loved to have made it to 40. Who died so painfully young, who did not get to graduate from high school, or college, or have a chance to watch their children grow up.
I get to. I get to be 40. And I've never been more grateful.
I have a lot left to do in my life. Let me rephrase that. I have so, so, so much life in me and I have years and years ahead of me to do all kinds of things. I am not old or over the hill, nor am I clinging to 21 and trying to find the fountain of youth. I'm still me. Still Cathy. Still raising her children as best she can. Still trying to stay healthy and make a difference in the world. Still reading and creating and messing up and just being.
Just being me.