Today marks 10 years since I stood by my father’s bedside, my hand resting gently on his leg, as he took his last breath. That was nine days before my 30th birthday. I ventured into my thirties with a heavy heart and a profound sense of loss. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a decade of life changing experiences.
Three years later, at the age of 33, I sat in a hospital waiting room, holding hands with my brother, while my mother slipped away on the other side of the wall. Six months after that, my grandmother died of a broken heart, never having gotten over losing her daughter.
In 2008, at the age of 36, I uprooted my family and started a new life in a new place. For the first time, I was really a mom to my kids. I wasn’t just the parent who picked them up from day care and fed them McDonald’s before kissing them goodnight.
I gave up a lucrative full time legal career and downsized myself to a part time independent contractor and began writing. I mean really writing. I made sacrifices to follow my dream and I published my first book in 2010 at the age of 38.
Now I sit on the brink of turning 40; nine days from today to be exact. It’s a bittersweet feeling. I don’t fear wrinkles, saggy boobs or gray hair. After the pain, struggles and epiphanies of my thirties, I don’t live my life so shallowly. I know what's really important.
I treasure my family and the support they’ve given me. I’m in awe of the friendships I’ve made, some of which were forged from shared grief, pain and understanding. I value the people who’ve walked beside me in both the good times and the bad. I give thanks for all the love I’ve known, even the love that’s been lost.
Fuck crow’s feet and laugh lines. Who cares? They’re just evidence that I’ve hurt, that I’ve laughed and that I survived. I made it. So, 40? No sweat. Bring that shit on.