Saturday, November 19, 2011

"We expect that..." Life over 40.

My wonderful doctor, who I have been seeing for almost 18 years now, started saying, "We expect that..." to me when I was pregnant with my son. There are a lot of weird things that happen to you when you're pregnant that not even the "What To Expect When You're Expecting" books mention (or the ancient versions around in 1992 and 1996).

Now that I'm in my *ahem* mid-forties, I hear it pretty much every year, followed by my age.

"I'm not sleeping well."
"Oh, we expect that when you're 42."

"My middle is flabby."
"Oh, we expect that when you're 45."

"I'm tired!"
"Oh, we expect that when you're 46."

Except here's the thing... we DON'T expect it!

I tease her about this every year, and she didn't realize she said it quite so consistently. It's become a bit of a joke between my husband and me now that we're in our mid-forties and *cough cough* early fifties.  So here are some other GOOD things I didn't expect:

I don't feel middle aged. I don't feel much different than I did ten or twenty years ago, actually (with the exception of the aforementioned issues). I feel much wiser. I feel much calmer. I feel... ok, only a bit, but a bit more patient.

How could you not feel calm looking at this?

I feel more willing to look stupid. Hey, I'm 46! If I want to write a crappy novel in 30 days, I have no problem doing it. If I paint a picture that's really bad, while I may tear it up for scrap paper, it's not going to convince me I'm a "bad" artist and to put up my brushes. (This has actually happened in years past.)

Good, bad, good...

I find a lot more things funny. This is because I don't take life so seriously anymore. I'm not in such a hurry anymore. Life is short, even if you live to be 100. Laugh!

There are a lot of things I don't "have" to do. You realize as you get older, and especially as your kids get older, that you've done a lot of things because you have some vague sense of "have to..." And then it begins to dawn on you that you really don't. Sure, there are still some. Until they invent paper clothes or I get a servant, I'll have to do laundry. But I don't have to serve on any committee; I don't have to go to every meeting, game or event that comes along; I don't have to be at church every time the door opens.

I can be fit and ready for whatever God has for me without killing myself in the process. OK, I admit I've only learned this one in the last year. I like to challenge myself - it's the individual sport person in me. So we did Insanity last spring, and I did TurboFire this spring. But what happened in these extreme programs? (Besides admittedly getting into good shape and losing some of that flab in the middle?) I tore a muscle in my back. I tore a tendon in my knee. I got plantars fasciitis, which has plagued me now for 6 months. And I finally (slow learner) realized... It's ok to walk. To do Zumba. To do kinder things for my body, which, while not feeling middle aged, isn't 20 anymore.

What have you learned after 40? Aren't you surprised?

I love getting older, because I can see all the areas where I have matured and gotten wiser and lived through things by the grace of God that have made me both stronger and more merciful. Age really is just a number, and even if it's 3 digits, on this earth it's going to be short. Live it! Find freedom, and walk it out.


PS. I also learned last night that I can make up a killer cheesecake from a weird idea. I hadn't made a cheesecake since New Years Eve 1999. So maybe I'm a cheesecake prodigy and didn't know it! How 'bout that?

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