First, let me say that I’ve met some of the most focused, compassionate, confident, amazing-head-on-their-shoulders twenty-somethings. I, on the other hand, was not one of them.
In my twenties, I was a train wreck. So when I turned forty and quickly discovered that 40 is not the new 20, I was relieved…for the most part.
When I was 20, my boobs were full and perky.
At 40, my boobs are flat and lifeless. (Seriously kids, you sucked the life out of them) and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I had abs.
At 40, my stomach looks like an old balloon that has been blown up 100 times. (Thanks again, kids) and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I was able to stay up late and party every night of the week and felt ready to go again the next day.
At 40, “stay up late and party” means that I watch a Hallmark movie, eat some popcorn, go to bed at a reasonable hour and somehow feel a little hungover the next day and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I was care-free and reckless.
At 40, I am very schedule-oriented and responsible and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I would randomly throw things in my shopping cart at the grocery store.
At 40, I only put things in my shopping cart that are on my very specific and detailed shopping list for the week and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I had no clue about money and thought a $20,000 teacher salary was a lot of money for the year and that meant I could buy whatever I wanted.
At 40, I value every dime and understand that house payments, car payments, groceries, utilities, gas, all add up, and so I only buy what my family needs and once again, rely on my very specific and detailed shopping list and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I was selfish, stubborn, and spoiled.
At 40, I am still all of those things at times; however, now through the love and grace of God and the persistent assistance of my husband and kids, I have pretty much been forced to become more giving, flexible, and thankful and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I didn’t think I needed God in my life at all and believed that His love was conditional on my “goodness.”
At 40, I know that I can do nothing without Him in my life and believe without a doubt that His love is unconditional and that my “goodness” doesn’t matter. His love never changes and my “goodness” comes after I choose to love Him back and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I didn’t share my thoughts and feelings openly. I just held them in and let them turn bitter.
At 40, I am able to speak my mind in a kind and loving way (most of the time—I’m human). I’m not afraid to release my sweet, assertive words and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I thought that real love was the other person trying to make me happy.
At 40, I know that happiness is overrated, and it’s definitely not someone else’s job to make me happy. True joy comes from Jesus and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I had no clue who I was, and I allowed my circumstances to define me. My education, my job, my success, my house, my marriage all defined me. And when any of those were a wreck so was I.
At 40, I know that Jesus defines me and my circumstances don’t matter. He works out all things for my good. To Him, I am His beautiful daughter no matter what chaos surrounds me and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I had no clear purpose in life.
At 40, I know that I am called to love God, love myself, and love others and I can do that anywhere and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I was lost and confused. I drank, smoked, did drugs, and got tattoos to feel cool.
At 40, I am confident in who I am and in who God created me to be. I don’t even have to do anything to be “cool.” God loves me just the way I am and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I didn’t think I was good enough and cared more about what other people thought of me.
At 40, I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Even though I still struggle with self-doubt, I rely more on the Lord to speak truth into my life than other people and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I followed the crowd fearfully.
At 40, I follow the Lord fearlessly and I’m so grateful.
When I was 20, I hated the aging process of the body.
At 40, I still don’t love the aging process of the body, but I sure do appreciate the aging process of the soul.
And I’m. So. Grateful.