I’m in denial that I’m in my forties. But the crows stomping around about my eyes are getting less deniable by the year. The last few years of ending marriage has taken it’s toll, and I’m wearing the stress of it on this face. All kinds of fleshy bits are moving south, and I’m reminded that “gravity always wins” each time I spin my favorite Radiohead.
Aging is tough, and I don’t know that I’m doing it very gracefully. Giving birth at 38 has kept me young in some ways and in others I’m just damn tired. So where is the gold, the wisdom in acknowledging this reality within the mortal coil? If I was oblivious in my twenties, and waking up in my thirties, my forties are akin to walking in the sunshine of mid-day. I can see with clarity I couldn’t back then. My voice is strong, and I’m not afraid to protect what’s important to me, nor renegotiate terms in favor of freedom on all counts.
I’m a little spikier along the fence line, softer in my heart, flames taller in my soul, liquid-centered. Within me, flow. Beyond me, the second half, accompanied by an unflinching desire for creating new ways to raise hell, in order to see what needs a little whip cracking down there.
In my twenties, I listened to loud music, drove at speeds well over the legal limit, mixed it up with thrill-seekers, took uncalculated risks, and exceeded my expectations. It looked like getting lucky.
In my thirties, it meant a challenge to stand in the Light of myself and take a good look. Adjusting. Filling up. Loss. Letting go. Shine anyway. It looked ripe, as motherhood is apt to.
These days, the journey looks no less precarious: laying down my sword, while knowing exactly where it is and how to swing it, it means learning more about what’s really going on out there, and taking appropriate action. It means no time for pussyfooting around. It feels like trusting deeply that I belong, and having a responsibility to those who don’t know they do yet.
The forties are a paradox. The luxury of innocence lies behind, and the wisdom to step up and be accountable lies ahead. The laughter has increased, thankfully, and so have my support systems. Though I’m two years in, I find myself lingering on the bridge, still curling my fingers around the young woman I was, asking again for her gifts and messages, for her brightness to emblazon across my chest.
Meanwhile, the crows are calling, and there’s no way to go but forward. Good thing I have an appreciation for cacophonous sentinels who’ve made themselves right at home where my smile continues to widen.
Image by Andrea Jenkins