So today is the last day I'll spend in my thirties. Weird. Amy turned forty three days ago. When I talked to her that day she said she was fine with it until she said it out loud and then it just sounded so OLD. I said "it sure does, glad I'm still thirty nine!" We are BFF's so she puts up with me. Unfortunately, I have not heard a word from the Ellen show or from Rick Springfield himself. So, I'm afraid I might need to begin accepting the fact that at no time tomorrow will I open the door to see my idol standing there with his guitar ready to seranade me on my fortieth. Disappointing, but worse things have happened. And who knows, maybe it could still happen. Keep hope alive!
Anyway, I'm finding myself feeling a little introspective about this birthday. I remember feeling despair when I turned twenty five because I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. That's really the only birthday I can remember affecting me besides this one. And I don't feel depressed about forty. I feel a little wistful for the past, a little uncertain about the future and very grateful for the present.
I decided to look up the meaning of the number forty. Here it is straight from the internet.
The number forty in Hebrew was written with the letter mem (water, flowing or coming from). Forty is the number of trial or probation. When viewed as a time cycle, we find that Israel spent 40 years being tested and tried in the wilderness. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tested of the devil. The number 40 can be viewed negatively in terms of the full 40 days/years of trial, but it can also be viewed positively in that it is the END of the time of trial or testing. In the positive sense, then, forty (i.e., mem) speaks of Israel crossing the Jordan River (water) after 40 years in the wilderness. In that sense also, Israel came from the wilderness and flowed into the Promised Land.
Forty is the product of eight and five. Eight is the number of New Beginnings, while five is grace. Thus, forty can be seen as entering grace after a period of trial, as well as the beginning of something new. Obviously, these are both factors in the cases of Israel and Jesus.
At first, I was all WHAT? So turning forty means I get to experience trials and tribulations? Uh, no thanks! Because that was what my twenties were for. I have never been as happy to leave a decade as I was to leave my twenties. The thirties were great. I discovered a passion for teaching, got to live my dream of living by the ocean. Heck, I even got to WORK on the ocean! It was great. And I finally met the man who agreed to marry me after so many years looking. All of this followed up by two adorable kids. Maybe you can see why I'm not so excited to leave thirty behind?
But, if I stop and think of forty as a time of "entering grace after a period of trial and the beginning of something new" then it seems pretty cool too. I get to figure out what's next for me. Maybe the children's book I've always wanted to write? Who knows? Today while cleaning jelly off of every square inch of Emma's body I came up with a pretty cute song about jelly. Maybe my forties will be a decade of creativity. Can't wait to find out!