On turning 41 years old

I will be 41 next week. Some people dread getting older. I don’t. I’ve been blessed with another year of living; breathing; feeling; loving. I don’t begrudge the deeper lines on my forehead nor the multiplying gray strands that stand out in my dark hair because the alternative is really not that appealing, wouldn’t you say?

Photo of Sarah Badat Richardson

 

As excited as I was about turning 40, that birthday brought to light the sober realization that I was most likely entering the second half of my life. Inches closer to death than birth. Time was passing whether I liked it or not. Time was not a friend but I could harness its power for my own good. I could use it wisely. I could make the most of it. I could enjoy the moments I had.

I stopped putting things off: we’re going to Australia in August, a destination I have always wanted to visit.

I stopped waiting for “some day” to do what I wanted to do: I started writing.
Writing is the best way I found for self analysis. Writing is the key I had been missing. With each essay I write, I unlock a new door that leads to a better version of myself.

I stopped ignoring my own needs: I started making self care a priority. Wednesdays became mommy days. Time to be on my own and recharge.
It’s become cliche but it’s true: refilling my own tank so regularly allowed me to pour more into my family.
I transformed into a more relaxed mother. When I was home, I was more present with my daughter. Homeschooling was more fun for both us. The atmosphere in our home drastically changed.

For the first time in a long time, I like the woman in the mirror.

A more patient woman; less angry.
A more content woman; less worried.
A more joyful woman.

This past year, we reassessed our priorities. We met with a life coach; determined what our needs and wants were; planned our actions so they aligned with the values that mattered most to us; addressed areas of conflict and brainstormed solutions. This process was so helpful.

Our marriage is flourishing. Our family is strengthened. Each one of us feels heard, nurtured, happy.

This coming year, I look forward to more of the same and some new experiences added to the mix.
In May, we’ll go on a two-month adventure traveling around the world with stops in Cincinnati, New York, Italy, Reunion Island (where we’ll celebrate the twenty year anniversary of the day we met) and Paris.

This coming year I’m eager to master more of my weaknesses and let my strengths shine brighter.
I’ve finally just started working on that book.
I’m gonna train for that black belt.

This coming year I’m excited for any and all days I will be blessed with. I will take deep breaths. I will smile more.
I will pray that the days will turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. I will hope for yet another birthday and another and another…and another…

…until the gray will have replaced every single strand of black.

…until the lines will have covered every inch of the smooth skin of my face.

When I open the very last door and Death welcomes me, I hope I can go with a smile, my heart full of the memories of a life… well lived.

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”

Abraham Lincoln

 


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