Hello 43 Pic 2 - Scraps of My Life - By Andrea Walford

Hello 43! I’m happy to see you!

As that thought crosses my mind, the realization of it startles me. Am I really? Is happy really the right word?

I take a minute to sit in quiet reflection, examining my heart, examining my mind.  There is only silence, a feeling of peace, contentment, and surprisingly… happiness.

I certainly didn’t approach 42 with such equanimity. Or many of my other birthdays before that, for that matter.

Life is so busy, and I have been so busy living my life, that it wasn’t until I was in my late thirties I suddenly realized I hadn’t paid enough attention to life itself. Almost half my life had passed me by and I felt as though I had missed a lot of it.

Sine then, I have been having some epic struggles coming to terms with the passage of time – fighting to hold onto, to enjoy, to savour, to treasure, to remember each moment and each experience. Yet as hard as I try, each second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year…continues to march relentlessly forward.

It only got worse when I hit 40. In fact it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was no longer a twenty-something, or even a thirty-something.  Now teens and twenty-somethings were calling  Ma’m.  My children were growing up so fast. I was the mom of 5, and one of them was a teenager. I actually had to color my hair in order to hide the gray, I couldn’t just part my hair a different way any more to hide it.

Worse of all, I felt old.  Mentally and physically.  I was tired all the time, stressed all the time, headachy all the time, I slept poorly, I had a poor self-image, I was consumed by my responsibilities – both real and imagined, I might add.

So what changed?  I did. Mentally, physically, emotionally, even spiritually.  Instead of allowing the currents of life to simply pull me along, in my 42nd year I finally stopped complaining about and obsessing over the currents, picked up my oars, set a course and started rowing (metaphorically of course).

I’ve been rowing hard for the last 10 months. I won’t lie, it’s been an effort. Some days I ask myself it it’s worth it.  Some days I want to give up. But then I see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown along the way. And I am happy.

I think the old saying that age brings wisdom is true.  Or at least it is true to the extent that you are willing to see and accept the wisdom that age brings.

As I begin my 43rd year I feel calmer, more grounded, more at peace with life and with myself. I am writing a new story for myself and I am excited about all the possibilities that this story holds. While I am sure that my struggles aren’t over,  I am equally sure that with God’s help I will continue to move forward through my story.

As I am passionate about creativity and art, I have decided to celebrate and document my story creatively with a brand new project I am embarking on which I am calling Scraps of My Life.  You can see my first page below.  I will share more details and more stories in the days to come.

Hello 43 Pic 1 - Scraps of My Life - By Andrea Walford