They have come and gone, how did that happen? Just the other day I was in my mid to late twenties with the whole of life ahead of me or so I thought. I guess I should have known this was going to happen. I admit that I noticed my days were getting shorter, my weeks were hardly three days long, my months and definitely my years had shrunk. I should have clued in when I found myself in March still waiting for a good time to retreat and formulate my New Year resolutions! Indeed I should have gotten a hint when more and more workmates dropped in to seek my advice on a variety of matters even unrelated to my professional expertise, that they saw me as something of an elder wise or otherwise.
Could it be that I missed all these hints because I expected to feel grown up and that feeling seems blocked somewhere? How else can I explain how I have failed to lay hold of that elusive ‘grown up’ feeling? This feeling surprisingly continues to elude me despite having made the trip to the labor ward twice as the main actor and have lived for 8.5 years with little people who call me mum at every opportunity. My bankers consider me old enough to hold and service a mortgage and the teachers continue to send me invitations to parent teacher conferences which I dutifully attend and ask what I always hope are ‘intelligent’ sounding questions regards the performance of the said little people.
The thirties have not merely tiptoed or whooshed by without leaving their mark. In these thirties I have somehow convinced employers, church and even the community that I can be trusted with responsibility. They have left me with two daughters who while I would not trade them for anything (mostly), have led me on many a merry dance. Am I feeding them properly, I have wondered, reading for them enough, sending them to the right schools and after school activities. Should I send them to school anyway? Between the work responsibilities, family roles, community involvement, the desire to improve myself which inevitably means going back to school for that additional certificate I have found myself wondering as to whether I am coming or going.
I now wait for the magical transformation that happens at forty. This is what I have been told, that life begins at forty. To my friends on the other side of this great divide, should this be just a myth, I beg you not to burst my bubble of bliss and hope.
I do expect that at that age;
I will have settled into a regular fitness regimen, and I will be well toned, all the baby fat finally gone and my mind sharp and always ready for action;
I will finally be bold and confident, speaking my mind with wisdom, courage and tact;
I will be sure of the decisions we make regarding our children;
My bank account will be healthy enough;
I kid myself, I know this much, there is no magical elixir, no magic ward to be waved in my direction that will change me and transform me at the ring of midnight.
So where does that leave me?
To do what I know to do and must do;
I will continue to hydrate well, drink my two and a half litres of water every day and moisturize my face and neck every morning and evening.
I will make no big promises on the work-out regimen…I prefer to be surprised.
I will seek and grab opportunities to be a person of influence. While every person counts, we are also very limited in what we can accomplish by ourselves. The money we can give or the people we can influence individually. But when we champion what we believe in at whatever level, we multiply the knowledge or the money to something far more than what we could have accomplished on our own.
I will share knowledge and information. Where to find stuff, interesting books I have read, lessons learnt, tricks that are working for me and mistakes that I have made. Often we take for granted what we know, and imagine it to be common place as we hunger and run after great revelations. And yet once in a while we get the chance to see someone get excited about something they have just discovered that we have known for ages.
Continue to look for opportunities to laugh and cry with my girlfriends especially over a double caffe latte and cake.
Conquer my fears by saying no to them, one at a time; the fear of asking questions and asking for help and looking stupid, the fear of being vulnerable, exposing myself and finding that maybe I am not good enough, the fear of being wrong, of parenting wrongly. I will call on the Lord to rescue me from my fears.
I will wait upon the Lord, to renew my strength for the long haul for anyone can get tired not only those in their thirties and I suppose the forties in themselves cannot renew my strength, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
What is your age telling you? How are you facing the challenge of these years that are not as long as they used to be?
Madeline L’Engle’s first volume of memoirs from the Crosswicks Journals, A Circle of Quiet
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