Tuesday, February 05, 2008

40...Over the Hill, On the Hill, or What???

I mentioned in yesterday's post that my husband is celebrating his 40th birthday this week. I too will celebrate my 40th birthday in just a few short months. I do not think about birthdays a lot, except those of my children. I don't fret about age. When I was in my 20's I used to get irritated by people who treated me like a child even though I had two children of my own. They acted as if I barely had sense enough to get in out of the rain. When I hit my 30's, I was looking forward to being treated as a respected adult. My 3o's were the most enjoyable years of my whole life thus far. Part of that was because many of my dreams had become realities in my life. For instance, I always wanted several children and a wonderful marriage. By the time I was 30, I had 4 children and my marriage was great. Michael and I started seeing many of our plans and dreams come into being such as getting out of the military and making a home on a farm. I loved the settled feeling that my 30's brought to me. While I still had to budget, I could go the grocery store without having to take a calculator with me. If I over spent a bit, I could adjust some other areas of our budget to make up for it. (In our 20's if I over spent, it would have meant over drawing at the bank)! My 30's have brought some sad times in my life... I spent a year watching my father live life to its fullest while his body was being slowly starved away by cancer. I spent those last few months of his life caring for him in a way that I never thought I would care for the man that had always cared for me. I grew by leaps and bounds in those months, and the Lord met me every step of the way. The Lord gave me unbelievable treasures during that hard time in my life.

I recently saw a report on the evening news concerning people in their 40s. The premise of the report stated that people in their 40's were the most unhappy people on the face of the earth. Basically it said that by age 44, people realized that they weren't going to become CEO of their work place, and many dreams that they had were never going to come to past. Apparently this is not just common in modern day America, but this is found all over the world. (Great news for 2 people that will be 40 soon. This gives every person in their late 30's something to look forward to)!

I started praying and asking God why I was different. Why wasn't the age 40 and beyond bothering me? I believe that the answer is found in the Lord Himself. I have never spent My life making My plans and My dreams and My wants and My desires. I have always wanted HIS will in my life. I have tried my best not to put MYSELF above everything here on Earth. I find that I am walking in the very purpose of God Himself so I am not worried that I am not on the cover of Good Housekeeping. I am being obedient to the Lord and living a quiet life building a family and a home without worrying about all the cares of the world. My life is deliberate and I choose to live the life because I believe that is what God would have from me. I don't worry about my teachers certificate becoming null and void because I didn't teach in public school for 2 years and complete my masters degree. Oh well, God didn't have me teach in public school. He allowed me to take my love of teaching and pour it into my own children. Truth be told, I was probably out of His will when I went to college. (I don't think college is bad, but I don't believe it is for each and every child. I know at least one of our children will go to college because of what God has gifted him to do. However, I finished college only because of the pressure of the world. Michael spent the next 10 years paying for my college education and guess how much money I earned with that education. NONE)!

I also purpose each day to Enjoy the Journey that God has put me on. Some days it is easier than others. I remember when I would drop Michael off at the pier for him to leave on the submarine. I would cry so hard because I was being left with a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn baby. I had no family in the area so I always felt alone while Michael was away with the Navy. I had to choose to enjoy those days that seemed so very long. I would not cook much while Michael was away so I enjoyed that break. I would take my extra time and develop friendships with other ladies in my situation. We enjoyed each others company and some great friendships were made. Other days are much easier to enjoy. I love the farm life so of course I enjoy the days spent here doing farm things. It isn't about the daily happenings, but a choice that I make to enjoy the life that God has given to me.

I plan on living my life in the next decade as I have lived in the past decade...I plan on seeking the Lord and doing His will every chance that I can. When I get off course, I know He will be faithful to guide me back to His way. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty". I believe that it is the Spirit of the Lord that brings such freedom and peace to live a life without the wordly mile markers that bring frustration. I don't judge my life by what career things I have accomplished or by what our bank account holds. Instead I look at my life and I hold it up to the Word of God as my standard. In the areas that I am lacking, I find scriptures that will help me along the way. I make a choice to make a change in those areas of my life. It may be hard, but it is well worth the effort.

For me, 40 isn't over the hill or on the hill either. I don't even see a hill if I am honest. I just view life one day at a time as a gift from the Lord above, and I am responsible for how I spend the time I am given. I can choose to waste the precious time that God has given me or I can choose to live it to its fullest being in the very center of God's will. So my question to you is the same as the one I ask of my 16 year old..."What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life"?

grace and peace,
julie

4 comments:

Leah S said...

"Basically it said that by age 44, people realized that they weren't going to become CEO of their work place, and many dreams that they had were never going to come to past."

That really caught my attention, because it describes my dad to a degree. In his thirties he made plans to takeover ownership of the company he was working at. This plan was apparently agreeable to the owner of the company and they set up things to make it happen. The deal was approximately 10 years long. It was actually 12 years before my dad realized that the owner wasn't going to follow through on his end of the bargain, so at 44 my dad left to start his own company.

That was 4.5 years ago and now my dad is successfully running his own company. My mom has been with him every step of the way (a true helpmeet!). Ironically enough, the stubborn owner of the other company spiraled downward and finally after 4 years, he sold the company for 28% of the value it was when my dad left.

All in all, I think my dad is really enjoying his forties! He finish building his house at 41, started his own company at 44 and in the past few years he has been enjoying an "old love" of his, backpacking (and managed to get my mom to join him too!). All in all, I can only hope mine are half as interesting and successful as his. :)

TnFullQuiver said...

Leah,
Thanks for sharing your dad's story. I think too often people think of the 40s as their life is half over instead of looking at the great things ahead. I have so enjoyed my children, but I have to admit I am looking forward to being a grandmother. As a grandmother, I could still enjoy my grandbabies AND I could enjoy hiking with my husband. Seems like the best of both worlds to me! I guess it is all how you look at it.

By the way, I enjoy reading your blog. I love seeing pictures of your farm and children.
grace and peace,
julie

The Bradshaws said...

Julie,

I'm 45 now, and am happier than ever. Life only gets better. Like you, I've never thought much about birthdays or age, but simply live life as God gives it.

Mary Susan

TnFullQuiver said...

Mary Susan,
I think you and I have the same philosophy on life! It is all in Him and all for Him! By the way, I am glad your soap turned out good. Michael and I need to make several more batches. It has been over a year since we made any soap. There are just always so many things competing for our time.
grace and peace,
julie