I'm turning 40 tomorrow.
Just typing that sentence is crazy. Turning 40 amidst all the Coronavirus-ness is even crazier. There's a lot about this turning 40 thing I never pictured.
First, I never pictured feeling so--well--not 40. I suppose everyone feels that way. I certainly don't feel the way I pictured I would when I was younger. I guess what I mean is that I don't feel the way 40 seemed to me back then: old! I don't feel over the hill--I feel like I'm just setting out to climb the hill, just getting started on the REAL journey. There's this feeling like I'm coming into my own, dropping what other think or feel I should be doing, and just living a more free life on my own terms. It feels a little like the dress rehearsal is over and the actual show is beginning.
I also never envisioned celebrating 40 six feet apart from those I love in cloth masks but hey, given what's going on I'm just happy to celebrate another birthday feeling well and happy that those I love are here to say hello, even if from a distance. And, I have to admit, for an introvert with a bit of social anxiety I'm actually finding not having a big blowout kinda cozy. My own parties always end up feeling like a sweaty, nervous, happy whirlwind that I don't end up remembering well later because of the mixture of beverages and being in my own head the whole time. Last night my husband bought all my favorite snacks and we camped in the backyard with strung lights and wine and s'mores. As we laid down for bed my boy whispered "this was the best day of my life". I don't know if he would've said that after the big shindig we originally had planned at the nice hotel on the water with 20+ people. The best day of his life is the best day of mine, so I think it might've worked out better this way.
And there's one more thing that makes 40 pretty great. My whole life I dreamed of writing a book, and I always knew I would, I just never had a clear picture of what it would be outside of knowing it would be some kind of memoir. I know some people feel memoirs are self-indulgent and there's an element, especially as an average Joe (or Jane), of who's going to care to buy a book about your life when they don't even know you? But memoirs have always been my favorite genre, not necessarily because I admire the subject of them but because I've always had a fascination with taking the ordinary happenings of life and gleaming the lessons from them. It's why I blog and it's probably why I majored in psychology and am a fan of biopics. I just find people's journeys fascinating. I find life itself fascinating.
And, after years of thinking "one day" about writing my own, the idea for mine suddenly took shape a few weeks back and something inside went "yep, this is the idea and now is the time". The idea is to simply take 40 short stories from my life--an ordinary woman's life--and compile them. Each short story is, yes, unique to my life, but each also has a larger lesson that's universal. Some are hopeful, some are funny, some are sad, and some may be hard to read. It will include the stories I've never been brave enough to tell. If nothing else, it will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth (so, help me, God, okay? Because I might need it.)
I'd like to call it simply "40". The number 40 has significance beyond just the landmark birthday. 40 is a significant number in spirituality and religion, often representing a period of testing or trial. It is also the length of gestation in pregnancy--the number of weeks it takes for life to take shape and prepare to be birthed. On some level, I've been waiting to "give birth" to this story my whole life, so 40 seems fitting in a literal and figurative sense. I'm hoping the 40 stories will paint the picture of a life that's been hard and easy and complicated and simple and beautiful at the same time--all the things life is.
Prior to compiling my 40 stories, I plan to release each one, once a week, as a blog post. I'm hoping this will give me some idea of which stories resonate and which don't, and having the weekly deadline should break down a goal that feels a bit big and overwhelming into bit size pieces. Each story will be a quick read, with a simple one or two word title accompanied by a simple black-and-white photo.
I have no hopes of it winning any awards for writing, as it will be told in my usual conversational, informal language. I have no hopes of it being a best-seller or even necessarily getting picked up by a publisher, though I'd love if it did (I'll most likely self-publish). But I do have dreams for this book. What I keep dreaming about is that it'll be that book that your friend secretly slips you on your own 40th birthday; that it'll be the book that has even just one line in it that makes a woman feel suddenly understood, as Glennon and Liz and many other women have done for me. I dream it'll be the book that a woman slips out of her nightstand early in the morning before the rest of the house is up to sneak in a chapter to read with her coffee. Ordinary yet extraordinary dreams like those.
40 is also a gift to myself, not just in the sense of seeing a dream come to fruition, but to find meaning in my own journey and to have something to look back on when I'm older so the memories don't fade away.
More liberation, more truth, more meaning. Those are the kind of dreams I have for 40.
I'm Krissy & I'm so thankful you're here. Teacher-Mom life is rewarding but it's tough--we need fuel (& each other) to keep going. I hope this is a place you can go that feels like caffeine for the soul--uplifting & highly addictive ;) Check out the categories below and, if you like what you read, subscribe to make sure you always have good Sunday morning reading to go with your coffee :)