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My birthday is in a few months. I’ll be forty-one. I’m reflecting over the last year before I commit to being in my forties. The other option is to be thirty-nine forever, and deny aging even though my wrinkles will be all chivalrous against me.

It’s 12:02 a.m. and I’m still awake. I’d like to say it’s because I’m young, beautiful, and full of energy, but the cold hard truth is I drank a Doctor Pepper at 6:30 p.m. while at a meeting, and at my age that’s against the rules! This happened to me once before. My husband and I were offered “decaf coffee” which led to hours of deep conversations until we noticed the time, 1:30 a.m. “Tab, I don’t think that was decaf!” We had a good laugh, but it’s true there comes an age where caffeine becomes a super power.

Things changed at forty for me, not for the worse, just different. I felt like I had a new awareness of myself and others. I cared less about things that used to make me upset. I embraced going to bed when I was tired. I tried different lifestyle changes because my metabolism turned ninety. It must age in dog years, and my hormones are either drunk or they too have began to age quicker than I have, It’s all so new.

What I do know is that I don’t feel as old as my twenty year old self thought I would, and even though I feel like my body is having it’s own ideas about life I, myself have gained a new perspective and a new appetite for life! I’ve made a few resolutions like…

Stop searching for purpose and live on purpose. 

Trusting God is harder than I thought, seems I like to be in control, but it is well worth the surrender.

You are never to old to do what you love.

My life goal as a teenager was to go to beauty school, get a job as a hairstylist, then go to college. I wasn’t going to be like my friends and flip burgers for a living during my college years. Unfortunately, my parents went through a nasty divorce when I was sixteen and my goals and dreams went into a whirlwind. I started college first, had no money or guidance, dropped out, went to cosmetology school, and got offered my first job at the JCPenney salon in my home town. 

It was a popular salon over a million dollars a year. A great place to start, to bad my life was a mess. Needless to say I took the long way around, but in the end I worked for the company for ten years and the last five I was a successful salon manger. It was when I reached the ten year mark that I asked myself why. “Why are you still in the hair business? You wanted to go to school.” 

I talked over my dreams with my husband, and  he agreed I should go back to school. I was pregnant with our second child, so I stepped down from manger to become a student. I was then in my thirties. Motherhood had turned my life upside down and then I added school to the mix. It was an exciting time for me. Although, yet again, life happens. My husband got a promotion to another state, Maryland. 

I was then pregnant with our third child and my husband was commuting back and forth from Maryland to Pennsylvania. I withdrew from my classes that semester and we decided it would be best to wait until we were all settled for me to find a new school near our new house, but Maryland was more costly than our previous state and with the baby coming I decided to wait to go back to school.

That was seven years ago. I love being a mom. It’s challenging and hard at the same time, I wouldn’t change it for the world. But the time has come that I want to find a job. I want to step out in my forty year old skin and live on purpose in the work place, however; schools haven’t gotten cheaper, and I’m not that passionate about hair anymore, managing yes, hair no. “What can I do?” I ask myself.

I have experience in managing, in teaching classes, and in team building, but my resume will show I’ve not worked for seven years, and I don’t have a finished education. I must tell you all this had me very discouraged. The truth was staring me in the face and it hurt.

It took a minute, but I realized not all was lost. My life was just beginning. I’m not limited to staying at home if I don’t want to, I can get out and explore the world around me. For the first time I’m free. My youngest will be in first grade. I can find a place to volunteer like the mission, at a domestic abuse shelter, or at a retirement community. 

School may not be an option for me right now, but I can explore my creative side again. I can pick back up the paint brush without being interrupted, I can spend more time on my blog, and finish that book I’ve been writing.

I’m not just some old lady who can’t drink caffeine after 11:00 a.m. I am a woman who has the chance to meet herself all over again. I don’t have to rush, I can live a little and meet new people. I am ready to proclaim and accept that I’m in my forties now! 

Calling all women who have felt limited in aging: UNITE! You have the power! Except over caffeine,  you don’t, caffeine has the power.

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