Next week is my 40th, hard to believe really. Forty has an odd significance for me. I met my husband when I was 16. When he proposed to me at 22 (we reunited after a couple of years of not seeing each other in college), I remember him telling me I was beautiful....BUT..... Beautiful but what?? "Beautiful", he said, "but I know you'll be stunning when you're 40. I just know it." Interesting to be 40 and he's not around to tell me if I'm stunning in his eyes or not.
I've been told I'm nice looking, attractive, beautiful, etc. No one has used the word "stunning" and for that I'm grateful. My reaction to that statement might not be the one they were hoping for.
The words I apply to myself: bitter ( :) - okay, not really, but it's fun!!) - wizened, honed, burnished, brazen, bold, self-preserving, sarcastic, and on the other end of the spectrum - scarred, tender, sensitive, wounded, kind, caring, engaged in life, cautious, daring, pragmatic, protective...
I'm definitely a different woman from the beautiful girl who was loved by her husband at 22. In lots of ways I'm better (not bitter), I think I've said that before. I feel 90 on the inside, and yet in some ways I feel 16. Forty though, that's a biggie. How is it possible? Statistically I've lived half of my life. A friend asked me today if I'd thought about how I wanted to spend the second half of my life. I have, but not exactly in those terms. I have been without the ability to imagine my future for several years, and I'm only slowing getting it back. I recognize I have a future, but I am less likely to feel in charge of that future than I did before death entered my reality. I still plan, but only in the most flexible ways. I am no longer ignorant to the fragility of my plans.
So what will I do with the second half of my life? First of all, I'm not silly enough to assume I've got another 40 years to decide....death waits for no one and my turn could be sooner than I think. What will I do tomorrow and the day after that? I know I'm working, spending time with my son, spending time with wonderful friends....other than that, I'm open to the possibilities. Who knows what may be ahead for me? I certainly don't. For now that is okay. Again, although it is sometimes hard for me, I'm resting in the riddle.