Day 7: #GratitudeWritingChallenge

It was hard to choose which gratitude to write about today, but I ultimately landed on middle-aged womanhood. I. Absolutely. Love. It! I’m calling it, the “age of enlightenment.” 🙂 And how grateful am I that I have lived into my 40s to experience this glorious stage of my life!

Someone reached out to me this morning with some really beautiful reflection on memoirs and analyzing one’s true self. Her questions were so powerful that they stuck with me throughout this rather hellacious day. In our conversation, she suddenly and succinctly acknowledged that she recently discovered she might not know herself like she thought she did. It was more of an admission to herself and to me, a witness to her story. BINGO! It gave me goosebumps. So the question becomes, when do we really know ourselves? I can’t imagine a single person knows who they are at 18 and remains that person at age 40 and at 80. Life always has its way with you. That’s the journey, man! If we do not learn and change and grow along the way, what the hell is the point?

I’m so grateful to be in a place where I am so comfortable with myself, flaws and all. Truth be told, I’m probably more aware of my flaws than ever. But instead of simply feeling insecure about them, I have the wisdom to put them in perspective and I have the drive and the resources to work on them. After all, “I’m older and I have more insurance!” 😉 But I’m not talking about superficial crap. I stopped having time for most of that nonsense a long time ago. I’m not gonna lie and say I’m perfectly happy with my disproportionately large feet, but I’ve grown to love my feet and appreciate them because I’ve lived long enough to have one of them surgically reconstructed and I learned to never take them for granted again. I also don’t look longingly at my gray hair in the mirror (actually I scowl at them because they’re crazy suckers!), but I’ve lived long enough to see women younger than me lose their hair, and sometimes their lives, to cancer treatments and I learned to never take my hair or my life for granted. And I choose not to color my hair because I simply don’t wan to and I rest in complete confidence that I owe no one an apology or explanation for that. But, no, the flaws I focus on in my 40s are the ones that prevent me from being the best version of me. I’ve become sharply aware of how my choices impact others. What I do and what I don’t do… What I say and what I don’t say, how I say it… How I interact with those I love and those I don’t know… How I advocate for others and how I don’t. And how I shut out my divine Creator and try to do things my way…

So the thing I enjoy most about middle-aged womanhood is that I now know, only because I’ve lived the experience myself, adulthood is not a destination. I’m old enough to know the journey is not over (at least I hope not!). I have so much work to do! Just because I’m more self-aware and others-aware doesn’t mean I’m able to change everything overnight. Or over the course of years or decades, even. But I trust the process now because I’ve lived through it. The journey, the process, all that is life, is a beautiful adventure spent exploring pain and suffering and joy and fulfillment. And I am so grateful to be able to see that so clearly now that I’ve lived into my 40s. I know there’s a lot in store, and from what I can tell, it’s going to be full of a lot more pain and suffering, but now and into the future, those challenges are met with more experience and perspective. There’s also going to be new legs of the journey filled with so much beauty and happiness. I think about how we’re in the thick of raising kids now, but someday, we’ll likely be enjoying grandkids and watching our own children on their own journeys. I’m so grateful for middle-aged womanhood.

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev from Pexels

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