I remember being a young girl thinking that 40 was the literal equivalent of “as old as it gets”. It seemed to me growing up, that some women over the age of 40 lacked a certain knack for poise, confidence, fashion and flair and an overall zest for life that I knew even then I didn’t want to lose. I would see some of them at church in their “less-than-cute”, matronly clothes walking with their heads hung low, in my neighborhood with hair-dos that were definite “hair-don’ts” and in the local “Piggly Wiggly” with one-piece cotton frocks (muumuus) and rollers in their hair. What in the world?!?!? I would see them slink away in the shadow of others being afraid to stand, speak or be seen. I reckoned in my young mind that something had to happen to some women at the age of 40 and beyond to make women who were once foxy turn frumpy. I did NOT want to forsake my foxy at 40!
Well, here I am, a full-fledge 40 year old, about to round the corner to 41 on March 16 and I looked to facebook at my “40+” friends, those who have crossed the 4th decade of life, have long since passed it or are soon on their way. I see them and they are absolutely fabulous, each in their own way. I think about ALL they’ve been through…single parenthood, divorce, deaths of loved ones, major illnesses, delayed education, financial challenges, loss of jobs, unfulfilled expectations and the list goes on. Then I take a look at their pictures and posts and MARVEL in the fact that they have the God-given audacity to still be fierce, and fashionable, and feisty, and confident, and hopeful, and beautiful, and spunky, and giving, and loving and caring and SMILING in the midst of all of that!
I feel fabulous at 40, and I know it’s due to Who keeps me and due in part to the company I keep. We may not talk every day, and quite honestly, some of us may not verbally talk at all (facebook rocks:) , but I know they’re a part of my journey, no matter at what point they came along for the ride called my life.
So I salute you, my “40+ friends” for never giving up, for pressing through the mess, for shining in the midst of darkness, for reinventing yourself for the sake of your seed, for sparkling through sadness, for waking up each morning putting on your best, even if you were feeling your worst. I salute you for daring to love again and even walking down the aisle again when the first time brought you so much pain. I salute you for having to bury a spouse and/or child and still choosing to rise each morning with an undeniable faith in God in your heart. I salute you for the uncontrollable laughter, the kind words and wisdom, the shared secrets and support. I salute you for not writing off the human race because of the wrong that’s been done to you. I salute you for the way some loved and cared for their parents even until the end of their lives, then purposed to keep living as a testament to their mother’s or father’s legacy. I salute you for loving yourself regardless of how much or how little of you there is to love. I salute you for holding your head high as you wear your high heels or still look fly in fashionable flats, for not being afraid to be happy and healthy and for the positive direction, correction and connections you’ve given me.
I salute you, my “40+” friends! Don’t be fooled, boo! 40 is not the new 20. 40 is the new 40 because it’s packed full of all you’ve been though now working for YOU! To my “40+” friends I’d say, “Our best days are here and it’s only going to get BETTER!!!”