Hello, 40.

It’s nice to meet you. It’s been a long time coming, this day, you and I together once and for all.

Don’t misunderstand; I would be okay had this day taken a bit longer to arrive–happy, even. I’d expected to meet you at some point, but to be honest, I didn’t expect the day to come quite so soon. But here we are 40, standing here together, eye to eye, sizing each other up.

There was a time, 40, that you weren’t even a blip on my radar. Your presence never even crossed my mind.

I danced with my childhood years to the happy beat of swing sets and bike rides. I circled the dance floor with my teen years to the cadence of school schedules, part-time jobs, and movies with friends.

I waltzed persistently and steadily with my twenties to the rhythm of work and promotions, effort and striving, heartbreak and loneliness. My twenties and I danced beautifully together at times, but in the end, that dance left me breathless and a little uncertain.

Occasionally I would see you there 40, off in the corner, but I gave you little more than a passing glance as I circled the floor once more.

My thirties and I have learned new dances together. We’ve slow danced through the living room with new love and little ones on my shoulder. We’ve done the hokey pokey, more than a few times, all to garner smiles. Yes, my thirties and I have twirled quickly and chaotically, the pace seemingly faster than my younger years. Around and around this dance floor we’ve gone, with diapers and spit up, with potty training and up all-nighters, with smiles and tears. Though exhausted at times, my thirties and I have danced together which so much love, with grace abounding, and with newfound joys.

I’ve noticed you a bit more often these last few years, standing there to the side, patiently waiting your turn. But mostly I’ve still ignored you. Before today, that is.

Today 40, standing here before you, I can ignore you no longer. And actually, you don’t seem so bad after all. In fact, I’m sorry that in my younger years I thought of you as old, outdated, even “middle-aged.”

Standing here in this bathroom mirror, looking deep into your eyes, I don’t see any of those things. I see a new strength beginning to emerge as you finally step out of the darkness of fear and into the light of faith. I see the beauty of acceptance for others, but even more so, for yourself, where once was mirrored unworthiness. In these eyes, I see brokenness that through time and God’s redemption, has indeed become beautiful. I see struggles, once so raw, that through God’s healing, have brought a deep, abiding faith.

So you know what 40, you’re looking pretty good to me right now.

What’s that 40?

Can you have this dance?

Absolutely. Though I wasn’t prepared to take your hand so quickly, I grasp it now with excitement.

Please know that I wouldn’t miss this dance for the world!

Ginger Hughes

Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother to Ella and Elam, and a part-time accountant.  She is a Georgia native, but presently calls the foothills of North Carolina home.  She loves coffee, nature, and reading, but with two children under six, she struggles to find time in the day for any of the above!   She is a Christ follower and a fellow struggler on life’s journey who seeks to find joy in the everyday. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace, and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children, that we are not alone in our brokenness, and that we are all deeply loved.  You can read more of her writings at nomamasperfect.com