For some, turning the Big 4-0 send chills down their spine and is the root cause of their insomniac madness. This remind me of my Corporate America days just a few years ago, when I was a full-time cubicle dweller. Department birthday parties were a monthly occurrence. For those “lucky” few reaching 40, the spotlight was on them for the next 30 minutes while overly-sweet, heavily-frosted cakes, shouting their name and new age were served to all on the company’s finest paper China. The “Over the Hill” helium balloon was guaranteed to be floating in the background as if to devilishly welcome them (with an evil, cackling laugh) to the “More Matured Club” on their special day… whether they like it or not.
Some of these coworkers accepted the fate rather willingly (and gracefully); some, not so much. One commented, it felt like AARP was ready with their membership and magazine subscription the minute the birthday candle was blown out. Another coworker lamented “My life is over! I’m next door to the senior citizens!” Was 40 the new 50? What a drastic and insanely detrimental outlook! Sure, this inevitable road trip to Ageville seems more real than ever at this milestone birthday but, come on. To think the end is near seems dramatic. Don’t we have another good 30-40 years to clock in this world, granted we don’t overindulge on our vices, stay physically active, etc.? Their reactions left me confused, unsure if I ever wanted to be 40.
In retrospect, I was “clueless” and cared little of their aging crisis (?) during my early 20’s and early 30’s. I obviously lacked the experiences/maturity to offer my two cents, let alone fear it. It just felt like centuries away. I was too busy living my youthful days, forever footloose, fancy free, and resting soundly like Sleeping Beauty every night. I had no kids…obviously. Yeah! Those were the good old days!
Presently, the table has turned, and quickly I might add. I’m officially “THERE”! Nonetheless, I’m ready to honestly make my assessment on “turning 40”. For nearly six sleepless years, I have pressed the “Pause” button on the only personal life I know and cherish (i.e. full-time career, traveling, random romantic getaways, sleep – oh yes, the much appreciated restful sleep, etc.), to solely focus on conceiving, carrying, and being the primary caregiver to two of God’s almighty miracles. I thank Him daily for He could not have created two more perfect beings. They are healthy, vivacious, feisty, and so kind-hearted! I also thank Him for giving me the best, hands-on, co-pilot ever, my BFF/hubby, to navigate through parenthood’s unpredictable and uncharted terrains.
I’m so fortunate to have the dedicated, quality time with my babies since Day One. This really taught me how to appreciate these early, crucial developmental years; they past too quickly. There are so many “First” and “Wow” moments I’ve personally witnessed from each of my baby divas that I undoubtedly would have missed had they been in a full-time daycare environment. Now the baby of the babies is three-years old. Her round-the-clock basic needs: feeding, changing, sleeping, etc. have drastically reduced. I can somewhat breathe a sigh of relief and can actually eat a semi-hot meal occasionally while having a meaningful (although brief), adult conversation with my hubby.
On the cusp of my 40th birthday, my perspective on Ageville is more refreshing and most positive. I embrace it wholeheartedly. I have much to look forward to, with zealous and hope! I can steadily inch back into “my old” way of life, enjoy a tad more freedom and mental space. There’s now opportunities for personal improvement and/or self enrichment. I can now stop to smell a rose or two, once and awhile.
Sentimental – hybrid tea rose, bi-color like a candy cane with a delicate, sweet scent. Resilient and captivating – It’s dead of winter and she’s still gracefully blooming.
Though I’ve become someone’s someone: a wife, a mother, and CEO of All Things Domestics, Inc. (at the moment), these are merely roles in my life. I will always be my babies’ mother for all eternities. I will be my hubby’s life partner until my last breath with Divine’s mercy. However, these roles do not define me; they are not my occupation. When you ask my hubby “What do you do?” He will immediately tell you he’s a computer programming. Never will you hear fatherhood and devoted spouse disclosed first. As such, I am first and foremost, just Me. Then, a wife. Then, a mom, and whatever else! It is “I”, the individual who has too many thoughts and ideas she can’t seem to express fast enough through her words. It is I, the former corporate slave (a.k.a. business analyst/mortgage underwriter/money laundering investigator, or whatever they wanted me to be) who no longer desires returning to the conventional corporate job nor juggle its mundane office responsibilities. By the way, I “won’t” be back (had a bit of an Arnold Schwarzenegger moment, there)!
I want to seriously write! I want to become a solid freelance writer with some merit on my shoulder. I need to start now! I’m starting now! I might suck initially. I may even be slow to compose but if I consistently write daily, my brain will be exercised and I will be more efficient and effective with my words.
More importantly, I strive to teach my girls, by setting an example, that a strong woman is defined by what she passionately does for herself; not for the roles she takes on in her life. When my babies leave my nest one dreaded day from now, I will be deeply heartbroken. They will each have a heaping chunk of my soul while the nest sits more disturbingly silent. Yet, I am still me, hopefully a strong freelance writer by then. Regardless, I can (and will) still write. Life still goes on without them physically present, but “I” will roll through it all… one sentence at a time!
Bring it in, 40! I want to write about what matters most to me. Food makes me write! Cooking the food I love, from what I grow, or teaching my babies about our ethnic cuisines fuels my writing. Life’s beauty, all its rawness and mishaps are worth a few thousand words! Best of luck to me!