I swear, 40 is the new 30, but it was a big deal for me. I'm not apologizing one bit. I went through a process with this one. It was something that I will value for years to come. A cliff notes version would be, "do I want to the next 4o years to replicate any/all of the same behaviors/choices as the first 4o years?" In the weeks leading up to the event of my birthday, I found myself feeling shaky, critical of myself, and low. It was kind of interesting. A month or so before that I had been feeling genuinely excited. Why the up and down?
In the end, my actual birthday weekend was just lovely. It was filled with my friends and family. There were sweet surprises, and caring gestures. It was everything that I could have hoped for. But there was more. I felt a shift within myself. I celebrated last weekend with another half marathon in the woods, this time by myself. It was equally as exhilarating as the last. I realized that I feel strong, loved, and I know where I want to go. In the last year, I have worked through a lot. In my lifetime.... well, I am proud of my accomplishments. They have all been hard earned, and I am graced by beauty and profound love almost every day.
So... the picture above? A mystery to you until now. That's me in the boat a mere 15 years ago, while my husband (friend at the time) watches me run a class V creek rapid on the narrows of the Green River in Western North Carolina. I have seen and done so much.... come so far. If you knew me today at the kids' schools, or at work, or in the grocery, you may never have guessed all there is to know about me in the past 40 years. The same is true for every single one of us in a variety of different ways. We all have pasts, we all have extraordinary moments, and we all have struggles. Living in the present is a constant mantra for me. But what if you dared to look deep into some one's eyes to know them more fully? If you did that with me, you would know the strength, feisty determination, and kindness all wrapped into one mama who turned 40 just a few short weeks ago.