It is my birthday this week. I will be 47 years old and I say this without cringing -- unlike so many other women when asked to divulge their age. Truthfully, I don't understand why the latter reaction is so common. I am proud of the 47 years I have put into my life and of who I am today because of them.
It's been an interesting journey, with each step chiseling away the rough stone to divulge a figure that can't be copied or reproduced. None of us can, which is the reason I fail to see why a "number" could frighten the heck out of anyone spry enough to blow out a candle and eat a piece of cake. The fact that you can do so is a very good thing and should be celebrated, especially as that cake didn't arrive on its own. Most likely, someone placed it in front of you, which means you have caring folks around you wanting to spend the time to celebrate your life. Many people do not.
When I look upon my life, I think about all of the significant moments I have been through: the loss of my husband to cancer when I was 35 years old; the joy of raising my five children; the family and friends I have cultivated; the opportunities I have been given that I never would have guessed would have occurred; the wisdom I have gained along the way. There are so many people that I need to thank for adding to my life. If I named them all, this blog would never end. I realize the good fortune I have in being able to say that.
Remarkably, none of what I am thankful for has to do with a possession. I don't find much value in "things," unless they are given to me underscored by a meaningful gesture or loving heart. I never did, as I have seen how one's attachment to possessions can ruin a life, ruin relationships, so I care very little for them. I realize their necessity but that's as much importance as I place on them.
Years back, I heard a very poignant song by Mary Chapin Carpenter that so struck me, I can recite every word of it even today. "The Hard Way" comprises a tremendous amount of real-life wisdom that stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it and continues to. One particular verse grabs me every time -- "We've got two lives. One we are given and the other one we make."
It's a line that really cuts to the bone of who a person truly is from the depths of their core, I believe. When I look at myself in the mirror -- really look -- I am pleased with the person I see. The lines in my forehead mark my passage from youth into midlife. They stand as a grateful reminder of every moment I've been blessed to experience. If given the option to turn the clock back again to a younger time, I would not take it.. .I say this as I view my 3-year-old scooting around the house in his buggy with 3D glasses on his face from the latest movie I took him to. No, I would not trade any one of these 47 years for the world. Like many women, I'm just beginning. I'm just discovering who I am, now having enough seasoning to do so.
As "Forbes: The World's 100 Most Powerful Women 2013" will substantiate, women don't really come into their own until their mid- to late-40s. The time we spend prior is the time we require to "cut our teeth" on life so that we may prepare ourselves for the more interesting part of our journeys.
I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying stepping into the second half of my own journey and I can't wait to see what happens next, because up to now, it's been a heck of a ride. The preparation I have received could lead to just about anything. Tim McDonald, Community Manager at HUFFPost Live, reminded me of that last week when I was speaking with him. He seemed astounded by the amount of life I have lived thus far. I was almost bemused by his reaction, having been the participant in all of it rather than someone viewing from the sidelines. No doubt, his reaction is warranted and prodded me to take stock of my life a week early. Yes, life has thrown me numerous curves. Thankfully, it also prepared me to catch them as well as throw them back... and do so more effectively with each passing year.
In any event, I sit in a position where I am open for anything, including the many changes that will come from now until the end of my life. I welcome them. To me, life will only get better. And as I sit in front of the traditional peanut butter-chocolate brownie cake on Thursday evening, hearing the birthday song sung to me by all of my children, I will blow out my candles in acknowledgment of the many blessings I have been given up till now and look to my future with great anticipation and a deep seeded thankfulness for every candle on my cake... as well as the fact that those five amazing faces will continue to be the center of my universe. They've made those candles burn brightly in my heart every day.
What more could a 47-year-old mom want?