Monday, June 03, 2013

Going on 40

I remember the year that my mother turned forty. I was seventeen that year, and it was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I was working at a chain pizza joint in town, and hanging out with my friends whenever I wasn't working. Life at home was pretty miserable and I avoided being there at all costs. Mom dropped a few hints that she wanted a party, but because my father either didn't care, or didn't pay attention, there wasn't anything planned. As the big day rolled closer and closer, I realized quickly that we needed to do something for her or there was going to be a meltdown of epic proportions.  My brothers and I came up with the idea that I would bake a cake for her, and we would do some decorations, and hopefully it would be enough. A few of us went to the store and found ourselves surrounded with black and white and "Over the Hill" and that was all it took. We got a few streamers and some hanging decorations and  I can't even remember what else. I picked up some food coloring and we went ahead with the crazy idea that what my mom would really love most on her birthday, was a black cake and an "Over the Hill" theme. She was a sport about it, and if you take nothing else from my post, avoid black dyed food at all costs.

I'm not sure where the idea the forty is 'so old' and 'over the hill' and 'halfway to the grave' came from, but I remember being a kid and thinking about how old forty seemed. In fact, when my birthday came around last week, and I shared that I was turning 39 with the kids at school, some of them remarked about how old I was and I was a little surprised. Some of them were surprised that I was 'that old!', because in their innocent young minds I was somewhere in my twenties. They are all getting A's on their report cards this term. Now that I'm almost there, I don't see forty as old. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. I spent my twenties raising babies and toddlers, my thirties started out pretty OK, and then quickly turned to crap, as you know if you are a long time reader, or even a recent one.

So I say, bring on forty. I'm hopeful that by the time my next birthday rolls around, I will be in a much better place in my life. I'm looking forward to spending the next ten years of my life in a whole new era with adult kids, but before I get there, I need to get through this year. This year is going to be a year of transition.  I've decided that I want to run a marathon the year that I turn 40, and the one I want to run takes place in September at the beach. I can't even think of a more fitting race, even if it is right after school starts. I don't care. I'm going to run the Covered Bridge half again, this time as a training race for the marathon a few weeks later, and I'm going to love every mile of them both. In order to do this, I need to push myself to run through the winter, and I'm OK with that. On the really rotten days, I have some videos I can supplement with. I also want to train for a bike tour, but not until I'm 41. I figure I better start now, because it's a long one, but the ride raises money for the American Lung Association and when I turn 41 it will have been 14 years since I quit smoking. Uh huh.. picked that year for a reason. There are a lot of other things I want to work on this year, as I begin down the road to forty, and I'll share them here in this space, because I'm not sure what they all are yet. I do know that this is not who I want to be, and I'm ready to make the changes to start becoming a better version of myself.

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