I Know this Much is True

clock-face-hand-painted-on-antique-drum-table-Shizzle-Design-Grand-Rapids-Michigan-for-sale-aging-dust-cece-caldwells-smoky-mountain-vintage-whiteI cannot tell a lie. I did not wake up this morning and think, “Today I’m 44! Bring it on!”

44 is one step closer to 50, and 50 is half-way to 100, a milestone most of us will not meet. 44 is only one year from 45, which is the age at which I will undeniably be knee-deep in my 40s, firmly entrenched in middle age; no turning back, a different box on demographic surveys, a mere decade away from starting to receive brochures about retirement communities and hip replacements.

There are a lot of things that no one told me about being in my 40s. Things I assumed everyone was exaggerating about or that I never thought would happen to me. I never thought I would still be wearing a retainer, for one.

I assumed that chin hairs would always be kind of a jokey thing, that I would go gray gracefully in a nice controlled streak that I could then dye pink. I assumed that middle-aged spread was for other people, that bosoms were for grandmas. I assumed that losing weight would continue to be as easy as cutting out carbs for a week or so. I assumed that getting news of the death of peers or their fight against cancer would still be miles and decades away.

Though I may not have sprung out of bed with enthusiasm at the idea of celebrating the passage of another year, I know this much is true: Waking up today at 44 is, as the cliché goes, better than the alternative. Waking up today at 44 means I have been given the best gift I could be given: one more day. Another day to feel sunshine on my skin, to feel my boys’ arms around my neck. Another day means I have the opportunity to feel the warmth of my husband’s body next to mine, to roll into the protection of his arms. Waking up today at 44 means I have been given the gift of another day to ponder a cloudless sky, to enjoy the conversation of friends, to wonder at the world or create a perfect sentence.

The confidence I carry with me, the resolution that I feel, the mettle of my voice and words: those thing are hard-won. The lividity of the scars may have faded, but the battles were real. The wisdom that comes with experience, the calm that comes with acceptance, the peace of being comfortable in the who, what, where and when. All those things are the gifts of age. I know this much is true.

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I know which direction the wind of my life blows and I can chart its course. I cannot control it, but I can bend with it instead of being battered by it. I can recognize my strengths, can better avoid my weaknesses. I can believe passionately without the self-consumption which comes with being blind to alternative. All of these things are the gifts of experience. I know this much is true.

I am a better mother to my children, a better wife to my husband, a better daughter, friend, partner, collaborator. I am a better listener, a better problem solver, a better writer. That is the gift of having been around the block a few times. I know this much is true.

It is getting easier to accentuate the positive, to distance myself from the negative, to understand both sides of a story. Right now is a tipping point. I can choose to spend my time looking back, or I can choose to spend it looking forward. Understanding that dwelling in the past can stop you from moving forward into the future, understanding that time is not unlimited, that it will one day stop for you all together, these things are the gifts of getting older. I know this much is true.

In the end, having to slow down a little bit, having to replace a few body parts here and there, well…that seems a small price to pay for the gift of another day, another year, another birthday. The older I get, the more it makes sense.

I know that much is true.

 

 

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26 thoughts on “I Know this Much is True

  1. Andra Watkins September 19, 2014 / 8:59 pm

    Happy Birthday, Dina! You’re right. Every day is a gift.

    Like

    • dhonour September 19, 2014 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you. Sometimes it takes a bit of a kick in the pants to remember that, but it’s true every day.

      Like

  2. Trish Smith September 19, 2014 / 10:05 pm

    Absolutely!!! And a very happy,heathy 44th year to you. You have a true gift with words and always touch me with your musings.

    Like

    • dhonour September 19, 2014 / 10:10 pm

      Thank you. If I can touch someone, no matter in which direction, it means I’m doing my job well. Which is enough reason to go on to 45.

      Like

  3. Charles September 19, 2014 / 11:40 pm

    Happy birthday. I’m lurking in the same age range. How did this happen?

    Like

    • dhonour September 20, 2014 / 9:45 am

      I don’t know, I really don’t. But it’s been on my mind A LOT recently. Occasionally I go into panic mode. Then I try to remind myself to get all Carpe Diem zen, but right? Wasn’t I 29 last year???

      Like

  4. Anonymous September 20, 2014 / 6:48 am

    Happy birthday Dina. Love this. You are right, being 44 is better than the alternative. Every day is truly a gift. A great reminder.

    Like

    • dhonour September 20, 2014 / 9:45 am

      Thanks. When I start panicking, I’ll come back and read my own words!

      Like

  5. InfiniteZip September 20, 2014 / 11:19 am

    Happy birthday Dina:) woo hoo….and wait till the cheater glasses are bought;) just got my first pair last week…good bye headaches from reading what seemed invisible:) peace and love and many more BD’s:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • dhonour September 20, 2014 / 4:38 pm

      Thanks. Something new to look forward to! So far my 20.20 vision has held up. Let’s hope I have a few more years of that!

      Like

  6. Sensitive and Extraordinary Kids September 20, 2014 / 2:17 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful and most positive things I have ever read. And yet I can’t stop crying!

    Have a wonderful birthday!

    Like

    • dhonour September 20, 2014 / 4:36 pm

      Aw, thank you. Don’t cry! These days I alternate my time between crying and ranting at (fill in the blank). Damn hormones. But this piece was somewhat inspired by a HuffPost piece I read the other day about a young mother who succumbed to cancer recently and the post she wrote right before she died. Now, if you really want to cry, look that up.

      Like

  7. mindfulexpat September 20, 2014 / 5:28 pm

    Happy birthday! What a wonderful reminder about what is really important in life — and how we all (at every age!) need to remember to feel grateful for every day.

    Like

    • dhonour September 20, 2014 / 5:52 pm

      Thank you! It’s true. And though it sounds very pretty and somewhat philosophical on paper, it’s something I need to slap into myself on a regular basis. At least I hope it sounds pretty and somewhat philosophical 😉

      Like

  8. gallivance.net September 24, 2014 / 6:56 pm

    Dina, I wish you the happiest of birthdays. Your upbeat attitude of looking forward (with your beautiful sense of humor) will carry you far and bring smiles to those around you. Revel in your 40s … and you’re going to love your 50s – the grace and confidence just gets better. 🙂 Wishing you all the best, Terri

    Like

    • dhonour September 24, 2014 / 8:14 pm

      Terri, that is music to my ears. To think that things just get better is the best birthday present ever! HOpe you guys are enjoying your European vacation! D

      Like

  9. Avril Schofield October 1, 2014 / 10:34 am

    I love this and vow to re read it every year! 50 is F I N E !!

    Like

    • dhonour October 20, 2014 / 9:54 am

      Thank you, for the compliment and for re-blogging!

      Like

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