At a wonderful dinner party last New Year's Day, I was given a gift which thankfully I did not open till I got home because it got me a bit in the doldrums. It was a mug that said "Yeah! 40 and never looked so sexy!" (Why do I end up receiving mugs with cheeky sayings about my body shape? Freaking Freudian.)
And I'm not even 40 yet.
The other week, a good friend was teasing me about turning 40 and celebrating in a big way and I kept telling him he'd better not plan anything and put our now-precarious friendship on the line!
Which got me wondering, why am I so bothered about turning 40? Why do I want it to just come to pass without fanfare and undue attention?
Then again, I've always celebrated my birthdays that way, regardless of what age I am. Quietly and privately for the most part. I don't mind a small gathering of really good friends, but a room full of people who are not part of my inner circle is too tedious. I would certainly feel like I would need to work the room, and in some ways, that's the last thing I want to do on my birthday. To feel compelled to amuse people. (I know, I know, self-created stress.)
If I'm really honest with myself - and God knows I try to be most of the time - one reason for my quesiness about turning 40 is because a part of me feels that my life as it stands seems lacking somewhat. When my days get dark, I get to this place that may seem illogical to some people, although I reckon most people would understand why and how I get there. A place that convinces me that since I have not gotten married and had children and gone through stages most of my other friends have gone through, that my life is almost a half-life.
Cerebrally, I know that isn't true. And this year onwards, I so want to give to myself the kind of hope that protects me or at the very least, distances me from thinking that way. Because it reeks of ungratefulness for the life God has blessed me with. And I don't want to be the kind of person who is woefully unaware (and subsequently, unappreciative) of the goodness that surrounds me.
But I can't help but admit that all this talk of turning 40 triggers all these negative emotions. I just want to recognize it, you know? To lessen its grip on me. Hopefully when I get to really turning 40, I won't feel so inadequate and inept. I won't feel the need to cower from family and friends who genuinely want to celebrate my life with me.
"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
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