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I used to think 40 was so old. This thought wasn’t just limited to when I was a kid either—I thought so in my 20s and 30s too. But as I neared 40, my thought process shifted.

I realized I had spent so much time in my 20s and 30s always striving to be better, always tired, often frustrated, disappointed, and annoyed. My 20s and 30s were spent having babies, raising littles to pre-teens, struggling to make ends meet financially and emotionally, trying to find time to be a wife and not just a mom. My 20s and 30s were full of joy, laughter, happiness, success, tears, grief, heartache, and so much more. These years were a gift, truly, as I got to build the family and life I wanted from the moment I met my husband and knew he was the one.

My 20s and 30s flew by so fast—and then I turned 40.

We had a very Covid Christmas month in my house when I was the only one not quarantined, so I decided I wanted to spend my 40th in sunny Florida with my dad, sister, brother-in-law, and my nieces and nephews. I needed to escape the four walls that were closing in on me.

RELATED: Turning 40 Wasn’t Easy, But it Was Beautiful

Our road trip started out rough with two pukers in the car for the first six hours (one kid, one dog), but once the Dramamine and Benadryl were in their respective places, things started to look up. Or perhaps my husband and I were delirious by that point. After a long night of driving, we arrived in Florida on the morning of my birthday. My 40th birthday.

My best friend came to visit and help celebrate my birthday. We sat outside that night looking at the Florida sky, and I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a long time. Not just because we were on vacation either. After 39 years of growing pains, not being comfortable in my own skin, having poor expectations of myself and others, striving to make others happy, and trying to do it all, I felt a freedom from it all.

It all clicked into placeyears of comparing and controlling and doing were not growing me into the person God had designed me to be. He hadn’t designed me to feel trapped to all the things of this world. He designed me for something bigger.

RELATED: I’m in My 40s and Finally Hitting My Stride

After years of trying different parenting techniques, self-help options, diets, marriage books, and counseling, I felt God calling me to give it all to Himto stop talking, to stop trying to fix, and to just rest secure in Him and to enjoy life and enjoy it freely. All the pressures of this life melted into the palm trees.

My desires for my life changed as they naturally should as we get older.

But the pressure was gone, and the freedom was palpableit was radiating from my soul. This probably sounds silly, but truly, I realized I wanted more from this life than how I had been living. I wanted to grab life and shake it. I wanted to live every day to the fullest. I wanted to realize my dreams and pursue them with everything in me. I wanted to live with passion and purpose.

And do you know what? This is what 40 has been full of thus far. So bring it on 40s, let’s do this!

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Cari Resnick

I am a wife to my firefighter husband and mom to three growing boys (two teens and a tween), one rescue pup, and two rescue cats. I’ve wanted to be a writer since the third grade. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, blogging, card making, running, hiking, walking, cooking, going to the dog park, and spending time with my family and friends. I have published two books, Loving You, A Journey Through Forever, co-authored with my sister, and a collection of Poetry titled, The Lord is Good, Poetry, Prayers, and Reflections. I also have stories and poetry in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Just for Teenagers, Mother’s of Angels, Mother’s of Angels Two, In Celebration of Sisters, and Soaring High. You can find me at lifeasafirewife.com or on Instagram at cari.resnick07.

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