I feel like a little kid. I am counting down the days to my birthday like a little girl about to turn 10! Turning 10 is a big milestone. I remember the excitement of finally being "double digits." Now, I am giddy about turning 40.
Some people dread a milestone birthday, especially birthdays after 29! I am looking forward to this birthday for a couple of reasons.
The biggest reason is the symbolism of closing the chapter on my 30s. My 30s started out on a huge high. About one month after I turned 30, I found out I was having twins. Holy crap ... twins! I was excited and scared at the same time. As my 30s progressed, I was balancing working full time and raising three children. I certainly didn't do this on my own. My husband, Steve, was an amazing father to Steven, Emma and Stella. He adored all four of us.
Behind his smile that could light up a room was an ongoing struggle with major depression. That never mattered to me. I cared for him and took over caring for the kids when the depression reared its ugly head. It wasn't always easy, but I did what I needed to do because I loved him and I loved our family.
By the time I turned 35, his illness was the worst I had ever seen it. That was the same year my life changed forever.
The next four years have been a roller coaster. There have been ups and downs and tunnels where I couldn't always see in front of me. Amid the sadness, I've also had the opportunity to meet so many other women and men from across the country who have been widowed. There's something comforting about being in the company of other people who really "get it."
Another reason I'm excited about turning 40 is the unknown. I don't know what lies ahead, and that's exciting. As I move forward to the next chapter, I know I possess a confidence I didn't have in my early 30s. I also know I am surrounded by love, love of family and friends.
As I move forward onto my 40s, I'll never forget the love and loss I experienced in my 30s. It will always be part of me ... always. Still, I move forward, living my new normal.
Here's to 18 more days ... and a journey that continues.