It’s December 22 and I’m 3 months into 40. Today I’m feeling my age but in a good way. When I was 20, 40 seemed eons away. I just couldn’t fathom it. As the world keeps turning and the candles keep burning, each year gets seems to come faster. Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel like I’m aging or maybe aging is something different for me than it was then.
When I gaze at my reflection, I see the same person. It’s not until I look at photographs that I see the subtle differences that confirm I have, in fact, aged. Each visit to the doctor confirms the aging as well. My gynecologist scheduled my first mammogram and incidentally it was today. What a smash fest! My girls were pulled, prodded, and pressed between cold plastic during that “photo shoot” until they gave the camera what it wanted.
During my annual eye exam, the doctor asked me if I’ve experienced any changes in my vision since, “I see you turned 40 this year.” I wanted to say, “It’s been all of 3 months.” But I said, “Nope, I can still read really small text up close.” I have been near sighted and needed glasses since childhood. My vision hasn’t worsened with age…yet.
Turning 40 has bestowed many gifts. I know myself better than I have in the past. I enjoy people and socializing but my own company is just fine. Marriage has given me wings. I pride myself on doing the best, but I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. I take no one for granted. Having a best friend or a lot of friends is overrated. The best giving is when you get nothing in return. Writing and/or reading a good story is bliss. Working through a struggle instead of escaping makes life meaningful. Sometimes the smartest thing you can say is, “I don’t know.”
It is true that American culture is obsessed with youth, but in the right context, this is the best time to get older. I’m only 3 months in, but 40 is wonderful.
With every reading, I see some new truth.
“Never hurry and never worry,” said Charlotte.
I signed my husband and I up to give blood on Friday. Our appointments were thirty minutes a part. Once I was stuck, pierced like Snow White, the iron reader came up low for me. I needed 10 more points to make the cut. The nurse stuck me once again, this time in the other hand. This time my iron was higher, but alas, not high enough.
I was disappointed, but determined to enjoy the time. While my husband continued through the process, I drifted over to the recovery table comforted by the greeter that I could try again in January when they were back. I kept the conversation going where the topics meandered and flowed around school, teaching, giving blood platelets, the last time we had given blood, and the greeter’s volunteer experience.
Finally my husband was done and by then another guy wearing a UGA shirt was as well. I knew the conversation would soon turn to football and the recently departed (from UGA) Coach Richt. When we left, we took pictures in the nicely decorated City Hall, inside and out.
Upon returning home, we collected the teenager and dove into thick traffic in search of more Christmas tree lights.
I will try to give blood again. I’ve been successful in the past. Since then, I’ve loaded up on spinach, chickpeas, and Farina.
December 1, 2015
Despite my teeth gnashing and occasional wailing, I am a teacher at heart. I enjoy building anticipation in my students. My excitement about anything spreads like wildfire. I am a builder of excitement and anticipation which is a big part of advent. We wait for the coming of Christ, the baby Jesus, O Emmanuel, God with us.
Our hearts beat a little quicker. We smile a bit wider. We look forward to good eating, fellowship, and gifts, receiving and giving. Unfortunately, for most of us, this is a time of hustle and bustle where we are filled with a lot of cares.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details and things that have to get done. We quickly lose the excitement anticipation brings and instead the entire season becomes a burden. There is a better way.
I try to take each day, hour, and moment as it comes instead of harping on the past or worrying about the future. The twin to anticipation becomes experiece. The Christ child comes to bring salvation and abundant life. Advent commemorates these gifts that are better together.
Do you need a beta reader? If you are, I am the one. If you are a newish writer, don’t try to go it alone. Words are magical such that when they ooze out of you and on to the page, they change and morph. I’m not merely speaking of the banal job of editing, but also of the process of fashioning your piece into the best it can be. In my own experience, I’ve tried to do it alone. Don’t do it. You need champions who will read, critique, and question.
Contact me. I’m waiting…