Last week I had a big birthday! I turned 40. The funny thing is that it did not bother me, but people assumed that it did. I decided to forgo a party this year, which caused some concern for some friends and family. I received a phone call from an old friend from Texas. He was worried, because he didn’t hear any party plans or see any big 40 OVER THE HILL Facebook updates. I assured him that all was well. I had every intention of having a 40th birthday party. Unfortunately my birthday happens to fall on the week of Thanksgiving, which tends to limit guest lists, dates we can have parties close to my actual birthday, and places that are available. My husband was not thinking about all of these things several months ago, so nothing was planned in advance. By the time we started thinking about any of the planning, my company was moving my office, I was putting in 11 to 13 hour days between my day-job, my website, and my editing position. Once he started asking people about a party, half of the people I knew already had other plans for the holiday that month (most of the IMC people), so I decided to just put it off. I told my husband that I wanted a rain check. I’m not upset about the number or intimidated that I’m four decades old, I just don’t want a half-ass party! I want a party with dancing, and more than a few people who can attend. I also decided not to have a party because I was EXHAUSTED! It was all in the timing. I am in one of those times in my life that I have way too many plates in the air, most of which are things that I love, and I have to be careful not to drop any. Balancing is really hard for me right now, and sometimes I just have to say no. I have to take care of myself and my family, which is a big lesson that I have learned in the last few months. I am still trying to figure out which things I need to let go and which things I need to hold on to.
I am really excited about this decade. 39 was tough, for some reason, maybe it was just a hard year in general, so 40 feels better. It’s a new year, a new decade, a new start! I have big plans for this year!!!!
One of the funny things that Molly and I talked about, Molly is my daughters’ step-mom, was that she just turned 26 and I just turned 40. 40-26=14, which is my oldest daughter’s age. Some women have told me that they would be intimidated by Molly’s age. My ex married a younger woman, and I am now 40, but I really don’t see the big deal. First of all, he and I are on good terms. I don’t wish him any ill will. I have dealt with my anger and past issues. I also don’t have any romantic feelings for him, so I don’t care if he still finds me attractive at any age, so it doesn’t matter what he thinks about my age. I also honestly don’t think that age has much to do with what broke apart my marriage. I think that lack of attention to one another, and a lack of respect of one another’s personal needs is what ultimately broke apart my marriage, but that is another story altogether. The only opinion that matters besides my husband’s is mine, because my face is the only face that I will have to look at for the rest of my life. Everyone else will come and go, whether they are my kids, my husband, my family, my friends or anyone else. I am far from perfect, but I am the best me I can be, and I have earned every laugh line on my face!
I hope that when my girls look at me, they see someone they know they can count on. I don’t just want them to see someone beautiful on the outside. I hope they also see someone determined, confident, and talented that they want to grow up immolating. I want them to grow up thinking 40 isn’t old. 50 isn’t old! Old is just a word, and the word only has as much power as you allow it to have. I am not old at 40. I’m not 26, but I hated my 20’s. They were awkward and full of tears. I had no idea who I was–not fully, and I think Molly is already ahead of me in that area, she knows herself. I know who I am now. I know what I want. I know how to put up boundaries, which I had no clue how to do that at her age. I know how to say no when I have to now, even when it may upset people. I know what is important to me and my family, and in my life. 40 feels good.
I also think I am a pretty unique 40-year-old mom! What other mom writes, loves SlipKnot, zombies, love to laugh out loud, sticks her fingers in flarp, hides fart machines, and various other practical joke materials?
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.