I tried to talk myself into thinking the single hair hanging out in my right nostril was blond just like the artificially assisted blond hair on my head, but as I inspected it, clearly I couldn’t deny any longer that it was indeed gray.
So that’s how it works? The gray nose hairs pop up the very week I turn 40? Does that happen to everyone? Worse yet, plucking nose hairs by the root is more debilitating than childbirth so the only other option is to cut it, which is basically the equivalent of pruning a tree so it can later blossom into its full glory. I’ll just keep my pruning shears handy until I no longer care about the forest of gray nare hair.
Gray nose hair, back pain, pre-menopausal acne, disbelief that I EVER had the energy to raise three small children. Or paint houses, lay tile, and landscape. Or work 12-hour shifts (actually 13-hour shifts), on my feet for 11 of those hours. Stay out all night partying. Seriously?! I did all that?! I’m lucky to party by myself on the couch with a hot cup of tea until 9:30 now…after I take my Aleve for the night.
My hips hurt when I run my four miles. The pain in my knees will probably forever prevent me from skiing again. My feet burn if I stand too long. I’ll likely never be found on a trampoline ever again unless I either 1) wear a diaper or 2) bring a change of pants. (Learned that the hard way.) Laughing hard, coughing, and sneezing are even gambles at this point.
I have to Google the meaning for new text acronyms and have bucked using Twitter for years until just recently. I now understand why my dad always said it’s easier to have manual car windows; this mass confusion of electrical panels in everything nowadays creates total meltdown for a single fail and wreaks havoc on the bank account. (That’s right…I just said “nowadays” like a typical 40-year-old.) Boy, was Dad right!
I’ve experienced impactful moments in my professional and personal lives that have caused great pain — things that will never be erased from the ole hard drive, but will certainly be filed away in folders only to be accessed when I can use them to benefit my greater good.
More importantly, though, here are all the things I’m grateful for in turning 40! Life is pretty awesome!
Gratitude, growing wisdom, courage, strength, grace, and peace.
I no longer feel like I need to please others before myself.
I can use all the painful things to grow and learn from.
Not getting jobs I wasn’t mean to get.
Changing with the times and not dwelling in “how it used to be” feels great, but it’s fun to remember how it used to be.
There’s no need to apologize for my opinions, but I have a strong desire for those opinions to have a foundation in solid information and research.
I understand self-awareness more now than ever; it allows me to express my opinions tactfully and honestly so they’re not just cruel or crude.
I don’t need to say “I’m sorry” for anything other than an actual violation or offense to someone else; I will no longer contribute to this epidemic of sorry humans.
My appreciation for humanity and rights is different than it was 20 years ago, and I embrace these updates in my views. My views have changed because I finally realized “how I was raised” and “where I came from” don’t have to be the end-all-be-all; yet it’s also important to remember and place value on those things.
Realizing very little in life is black-and-white is invaluable. Luckily, I’ve always done well living in the gray, although I’d prefer the gray stay out of my nose.
I can (and do) say no.
I study; I read; I research; I seek.
I value perspective and the human power to change perceptions.
It’s okay to give in to some predilections.
The differences in my kids are phenomenal, unbelievable, awe-inspiring.
There’s a whole universe out there, and I’m smaller than miniscule in it. There’s so much more than me and my stupid, selfish, wants and desires.
All of these pieces make up the whole of me. Now that I’m 40 and have been blessed with gray nose hairs, I also feel like the world is more open to me, and I have a husband who wants to discover it with me. By motorcycle, which is even better! Along with Dusty, I’m going to be be part of the scenery, not just looking at it from afar and leaving our experiences to chance, thoughts, or prayers. No idle retirement, no passive victimization, no blaming others for what could’ve/should’ve been. We’re molding what is meant to be.
I’m able to do SO much for myself and for others — in small and big ways! And so I refuse to give in to excuses, presumptions, inertia, and biases. It takes work to recognize and get past these human tendencies, but I’m willing to do that work because now I have another 40+ years left to make this life the best quality it can be, especially with the people in my closest orbits. Any pain I’ve experienced (physical or emotional) pales in comparison to what some others have experienced. My personal power of perspective and perception mold this life.
This first 40 years has been pretty bad-ass! Here’s to 40 more of self-growth, living in the gray, motorcycles, purple hair, dreadlocks, late nights, early mornings, yoga, mountain biking, travelling, compassion, good gin, living in an RV, fresh air, drinking too much sometimes, sunshine, activism, running outside, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. And to people asking, “Is that old lady really doing THAT?”
Hopefully I can rock silver fox gray hair like my forever-gorgeous Grandma Mary and may the gray hairs on my head be more manageable than the ones in my nose.
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