Monday, May 23, 2011

A New Decade

Photo from
This weekend I stepped through the birthday gateway into my fifth decade of life.  That's right, the big 4-0.

I'm not the kind of person who anticipates a big party with lots of hoopla.  I tend to feel self-conscious and instead of enjoying a large celebration I squirm and fidget inwardly, eager to escape out of the spotlight.  When I was a child, my well-intentioned father always brought out the servers performing the big song and dance with everyone in the restaurant turning to watch.   Ugh!!  It was dreadful for someone like me.

I have made this very clear to my husband over the years so he honored my wishes and took me out for a date night to my favorite restaurant in Chicago, Frontera Grill,

with this famous chef at the helm.

Photo by Chicago Tribune
Unfortunately I  (once again) was not good with pictures so we didn't get any from the evening.  But I had a fabulous dinner with a Mango Mojito, jicama salad, shrimp taquitos, pork loin with mole and white corn cakes, and a tamarind-chocolate cake.  Divine.  Simply divine.  I suggested that we do this every weekend but somehow my husband did not see that as very realistic.  Oh well.

He also presented me with tickets to one of our absolute favorites--U2!

Photo from
I am so excited about the concert, but it will be a practice in delayed gratification as I have to wait until July.

Not surprisingly, as I enter a new decade I have been asked by a few people about the topic of being in my 40's.  Does it bother me?  Do I think about the number?

My honest answer is no!  I truly don't devote much time to thinking about the number of my age.  If I'm going to reflect, it's usually in the context of seeing where God has led me--the extreme ups and downs and everything in between.  I think about where I've come from, what I've learned, and what I'm still striving to do with the life I've been granted.  As I mature, I notice the inevitable life changes that come along with increasing years.  I can't easily bounce back into shape like I did 15+ years ago, I'm realizing that no amount of moisturizer is going to stop the crows feet from multiplying around my eyes when I smile, gray is creeping into my hair, people gently refer to me as an "older" new mom, and it is not likely that I will be having more children at this juncture of my life.  So...that's reality.  Here is more reality:  I have a relationship with God that never existed this way in years prior, I have a wonderful husband and an adorable son, I have an opportunity to spend extra time home with my son, I have supportive friends in my corner, I get to live right across the street from the beach and a great lakefront path which we use extensively, I go to a church I'm blessed to be part of, and I have the chance to continue my education and keep growing in so many ways.

I was thinking about what I might like to do in the next ten years...possibly...
  1. Finish my Masters degree
  2. Work on a second language
  3. Do more skiing
  4. Find a niche with serving
  5. Take a missions trip with my husband--and possibly my son
  6. Join a cooking club
  7. Run another marathon
  8. Grow in my own identity and build confidence in who God has created me to be
  9. Travel to more national parks
  10. Learn to sew
  11. Find more ways to reach out to others
  12. Plant a garden
Well, that--along with returning to work at some point--should occupy a fair amount of my time so perhaps I should save some thoughts for 50.

My biggest thought about being 40 is that I am GRATEFUL.



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