As 2012 draws to a close, we at TSD have made it an annual tradition to share some of the year’s best features with our readers. It’s a time for both reflection and anticipation, and we’re looking forward to an even better 2013!
ORIGINAL PUBLISHING DATE: January 17, 2012
Each January, I experience a renewed interest in writing projects, but find myself fighting the urge to approach the usual, cliché topics of resolutions, goals, and top ten lists. This year I’m in luck because in a few days, I’ll experience a once-in-a-lifetime event – turning forty.
I don’t dread turning forty. On the contrary, I feel like I’m gaining access to a pretty cool club where women learn not to give a damn about so many mundane things. But I am surprised at how much that number has weighed on my mind recently. It’s not that I feel old – I still have three young children, a start-up business, volunteer activities, my over-30 women’s basketball league, and a talented hair stylist, all of which keep me active, engaged, and hopefully somewhat youthful.
While I have always embraced birthdays in the past and have never really given much credence to the numbers themselves, this year I find myself considering what it means to be forty, and how things may soon start to change for me.
This birthday is giving me something more valuable than any material possession – the gift of perspective; the ability to look back on a wealth of experience, while still having the time, energy, and good health to do something about it. I’m noticing small changes in my priorities and have begun to question some of my long-held beliefs. For example, a couple of years ago, I’d have told you, “No way would I pull my kids out of school for a family vacation.” Today, that particular black and white issue has become a gray area for me. Not that I have any intention of my kids playing hooky in the near future, but I would now argue in favor of quality family time and exposing my children to richer experiences than what they may get inside the classroom walls.
Intertwined with this new perspective is the strong sense of place that I’ve gained by settling down and raising my children in the same town where many generations of my family have also lived and died. Rather than lamenting about how much better it was to be a kid living in Wilmington back in the 70s and 80s, and how times are so much worse now, I am fascinated by the changes I see taking place around me. I love being able to take my kids to the Wilmington Riverfront, the Delaware Children’s Museum, and the Queen Theater, to name just a few. I love seeing the changing facades in the downtown business district and shopping at local retail shops. Sure there is still plenty of room for improvement, but having spent nearly all of my life here in Delaware, I am personally committed to working on some of those things.
Finally, at (almost) forty, I feel like I’m at the right place at the right time, and I am confident that this new perspective will make be a better wife, mother, friend, and business woman. The only thing that may get worse is my basketball game, but that remains to be seen. It’s definitely going to be a happy birthday for me this year. Next year, I’ll go back to struggling with what to write in January because, really, who cares about forty-one?