I have been asked why I am doing this ‘Fearlessly Facing Forty’ Challenge. Why now? Why am I choosing to mark my 40th birthday like this? Is this a mid-life crisis? It could be a mid-life crisis, or, as I like to call it, a ‘Mid-Life Enlightenment.’ Most of the people who ask me are those who don’t really know me. Even some who do know me, but not very closely, wonder as well. I get it, why would a woman advertise to the world that she is turning 40? Why would she proudly parade that fact around?
My kiddos and I decided to call it that because my ‘enlightenment’ just so happened to come at this time, when I am turning 40. My past is filled with many ‘not-so-bright’ choices, and although I wouldn’t change my past, it’s made me who I am today, I need to get over it and move on. I’m a single mom of three kids, I can’t go the bathroom alone, much less make life-altering changes to myself without them, so, this is a process we are doing together. And why not have fun while we are doing it?
I am doing the ‘Fearlessly Facing Forty’ challenge because it is time to let go of the past, it’s time to move on. I am doing it because I want to be an example to my kids, I want them to see that people can change, they just have to have the right motivation. I am doing this because I am tired of being in the background, my choice, I have lived in shadows far too long. I am doing this because I want to live out loud! I want others, who have not done something they wanted to for fear of embarrassment or being ridiculed, to live out loud.
I am doing this because I forgot how to live. I forgot who I was. I forgot to appreciate each breath. I forgot to look where I had come from, things I had gone through, and see how far I’ve come. In my mind, I was still there, I was still broken, I still deserved any disrespect I received, I was still unlovable. Physically, I wasn’t there, but mentally, emotionally, I hadn’t moved past it and relived it each day in my mind, as a punishment, to remind myself that I didn’t deserve anything good.
In stark contrast I have three of the most amazing little humans in the world. They were there with me, went through some of what I went through, and yet, they didn’t feel about themselves the way I did. They didn’t feel about me the way I did. Through it all, they stuck beside me, loved me, encouraged me, and inspired me. And one day it just clicked, if God trusted me to raise these amazing little humans, there must be something to me. Maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t broken, maybe I was just bent.
I’ll be honest, I cried. I cried for the mother I hadn’t been to my kids because I was so busy feeling sorry for myself. I cried for ‘me’ of the past, who felt alone, but really had never been alone all along. I cried for the time I had lost. And then I cried tears of relief and pure joy because I realized that the rest of my life didn’t have to be as it had been. It was like I was given a book full of blank pages and I got to write my story and not let someone else write it for me. It was a clean slate, I had finished reading the other book, my past, and was ready to read/write a new book.
I would love to say I have faced all past demons, slayed them and can move on. I am starting to slay them, but many more arise. But this time, I don’t back down and cower in a corner. No, this time, I run straight at it, face it head on, be the hero my kids think I am, and slay each one as they come. It’s not pretty, it never is, but if I don’t do it now, I don’t think I ever will. And life is too amazing to miss out on!