I celebrated my 40th birthday this week.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about that fact. On the one hand, I know it’s good. The more birthdays you have, the older you get, which means the longer you live. That’s definitely good.
But there’s something about turning 40 that I just can’t wrap my head around. Maybe it’s because my husband and I started dating right around our 21st birthdays. (He had just turned 21; I was about to). And now we’re 40. It feels so sudden; like I blinked and somehow time fast-forwarded.
I think I met this birthday with a strong level of ambivalence because of my health. In certain respects, I feel much older than 40. My mom (almost 71 years old) is more physically fit than I am. And if I’m already dealing with all this medical stuff now, I worry about what may happen as I get older — you know the time when you kind of expect your body to go through lows, to experience pain, to have things “break down.” And of course no one knows the answer to that. Let’s face it, no one really knows how their health will be tomorrow.
But up until about five years ago, medical problems always seemed so far off in the future. Something that could happen. Something that might happen. And for me, it’s happened. It’s here. And most likely, I’ll be dealing with this autoimmune condition for the rest of my life. And that thought is exhausting.
In certain respects, my life at 40 isn’t quite as I thought it would be. I can say that parts are really hard and parts are really upsetting.
But, I can also say that there are parts that are pretty damn great.