Last Thursday I finally turned 38.
I say finally because I have inadvertently been telling people for the past two years that I am 38. I didn't do it on purpose; I genuinely forgot how old I was and kept thinking I was 38. A few weeks prior to my birthday, I paused and wondered if I was finally going to turn 39 or 40 this year, as it seemed that my thirty-eighth year was really dragging on and on. Calculating my actual age led me to realize my mistake.
After having a good laugh, I decided it is quite telling.
It shows how unimportant the numbers of your mid- to late-thirties are. You're not quite to the forties, and just somewhere in the middle of the thirties, and all rather meh when it comes to years. I don't feel old; yet I don't delude myself into thinking that I am still a little young thing. I am just me. Plugging along happily, living my life, and hoping to eventually drop those 20 pounds I keep meaning to lose, but never seem to care enough to actually give up the food it will require to do so.
I am way more confident than I was in my twenties - both as a mother, a wife, and a friend. My kids are older and much more independent, making them, quite frankly, a lot more fun. I have all day to myself to work, shop, or meet friends for lunch. I happily indulge in an afternoon matinee at the theater and feel no guilt whatsoever. Those books I always intended to read actually get read.
I feel very at home in my skin. I've accepted the inevitability of the stretch marks staying for life, and, quite honestly, I have decided it's the least of my worries when it comes to my body. I work out, but have sort of given myself permission to eat, too. At 38, I have noticed the wrinkles becoming more prominent, but they are not quite concerning enough to act on just yet. Besides, I know my forties will be all about the botox anyway.
I am still slightly schizophrenic when it comes to loving my freckles, however.
But all in all, I am happy. I am experienced enough to be confident in my positive contributions to the world. I am not afraid to try new things and I still know there is a lot for me yet to learn and do. I know it is better to be full of love and forgiveness than to harbor hate and resentment. I know the value of a good friend, and feel my life richer for the beautiful women who I am blessed to know - both near and far.
I think that the thirties and I have done just fine together.
Here's hoping the rest of the decades are just as accommodating.
If not, maybe I'll just keep saying that I'm still 38.
P.S. Awesome things to note in my birthday photo: The coconut cake. If you have not made it yet, please do. It is life changing. And totally worth every bite of its 9,000 calorie self. The diet coke in a goblet? Courtesy of my children. Making their mama's caffeine addiction classy since 1998. The sweater? Courtesy of WHBM. My current favorite place to shop for all things ruffles.