This summer I celebrated my 44th birthday. I’m officially just, “40 something.” I thought this was when I was supposed to have a midlife crisis, or pine for my youth, but as I reflect on it, I actually love being “middle aged.” Here’s why:
I am more comfortable in my own skin.
I’d love to say “completely comfortable” but I’m not quite there. It’s been a journey. I am more able to laugh at my foolishness (and less surprised by it). I’m learning to accept my limits rather than always pushing them. My physical body may not be exactly how I’d like, but I love that it is still healthy and strong.
I can wear what I want.
Sure, I’d like to still stay within the boundaries of looking socially acceptable (or at least not land myself squarely in “completely out of touch”). But more and more I take a look at what passes for “this season’s trends” and think, “Yeah, maybe next year.” Or maybe never. I’m aiming for “classic” these days. No one’s expecting me to be cool anymore, thank the Lord. Wearing what I like instead of what’s expected is awesome.
I have wrinkles.
Now, this is a “by faith” kind of love. Sure, I wish I didn’t have them, but the fact that I do is a reminder that I have lived. They are lines of experience, evidence that I have seen and done much. The sun has shined on my face in a dozen different countries. I have laughed. Hard. Those wrinkles are an accumulation of joy at the blessings I’ve been given.
I have life long relationships.
There’s something about being able to say, “I’ve known this person for decades, and they know me (and still like me).” What a blessing! My husband and I just hit 20 years of marriage. Soon we will have been married longer than we were single. One of my closest friends I have known for over 30 years. The amount of history wrapped up in those kinds of relationships is priceless, and there’s an aspect to it that only comes with a lot of time.
I’m more at peace with the world.
I get less worked up about most things and more passionate about what I feel really matters. There’s more gray in the world that I knew, and that makes it easier to major on the majors rather than every little thing that seems out of sorts. Along the way I’ve realized most of my attempts to control the world are futile (though don’t be surprised if you still catch me trying). What we think is huge is small in comparison to God’s sovereignty.
My mess doesn’t bother me as much.
For so much of my life, I aimed for having it all together. Being messy felt like a one way ticket to being shunned from good society. But some time back, God started teaching me that not only can others love me in my mess, they often love me more when I let them into it. The more I own my depravity, the more I see that God’s grace is greater than anything I lack. He is leading me to rest in my flawed existence and know I am still loved.
I have experienced God’s faithfulness.
None of these things could be true of me apart from the relentless, tender grace and love of God that has pursued me every day of my life. I love that I can look back and trace the lines of His faithfulness to me through countless years, places, and experiences. He has been my most steadfast companion over all the mountains and through all the valleys. The more I live, the more I can attest to the truth of it, and it makes me love Him more. If I’ve learned anything, it is that He is good.
So there you have it-me enjoying my 40s. The best part is, these things I love will only continue, and I have hope that they will get even better with time.