My birthday is coming up soon. I’m turning forty. I never thought it would happen to me, really. It was something that other people went through, but it always seemed far, far away from me, like something that would never catch up with me.
I don’t agonize over a number, and I have no problem disclosing my age, nevertheless, it is shocking to realize that I’m no longer a young girl starting out in life. I have lived.
I’ve experienced sorrow and loss, and those have clearly left their mark, but I’ve also been happy and fulfilled, and although I have much to regret, as we all do when we add it all up, the two sides are not in equal measure: the balance is definitely in my favor.
My middle age is staring me in the face, but I’m not yet so worn out and insipid that I don’t feel excitement over little things that give me pleasure, like finding a long-lost seashell I brought home from Cape Cod the year I turned 30. I still giggle and swoon like a teenager whenever I see a yummy new picture of Colin Firth…my family thinks I’m crazy, the way I carry on.
I don’t want to be silly, but I want to be earnest, I want to feel every emotion and value it for what it is, I want to live in the moment, to be aware of myself and those around me.
I am no longer young in age, but I hope to still be young ‘in warmth and kindness’* in spite of it.
* North & South, Elizabeth Gaskell