Next week I will have taken 42 trips around the sun. As I stand at the edge of 41, watching year number 42 peak over the horizon, I can’t help but reflect on everything I’ve learned up to this point.
Like most young adults, I spent my 20s seeking purpose and identity. Of course, flying by the seat of my pants most of the time, I made a lot of mistakes in the process. And while I can laugh about that crazy decade now, you couldn’t pay me to relive it.
In my 30s, I became a mother. I felt empowered and pretty badass as my belly grew to make room for my firstborn. How amazing it was to make a human and have the privilege of raising her to find her own identity and purpose and embrace all of the things that made her unique.
Yes, motherhood gave me purpose and some identity, but, like many mothers, I still felt lost and uncertain. I didn’t know who I was outside of being a mom.
I often refer to my firstborn as “the one who saved my life,” because her life gave me a reason to live when I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on living. My secondborn is “the one who made me live,” because it was after his birth that I realized I had to find myself in order to raise him and his sister effectively.
Turning 40 was a little scary, I admit. But, it felt good, too. It felt like I had arrived at some pivotal junction like my life was truly about to begin.
My 41st year was spent adjusting to being a mother and an individual. I began learning how to take care of and nurture myself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I found a renewed joy in this.
And now, as I prepare to walk into 42, I realize that I will never stop growing. As long as I have breath in my body, there will always be something new to learn about myself, my faith, the people I love, and the world.
That would have been an intimidating thought to “the me of my 20s.” It would have flat-out overwhelmed me in my 30s. But, this Ebony … the Ebony in her 40s … is yelling into the wind … BRING IT!
It never hurts to stop and take inventory of your life. You don’t have to wait for a birthday or a new year to do it, either. I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your life. Think about where you’ve been, where you are, and where you hope to go. When you’re ready (or maybe even a little bit before you’re ready), begin taking steps toward the future you’re hoping for, and don’t forget to celebrate wins—big and small—along the way.
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