Today I turn 40! Yes, and I have been asking myself one question. What’s the big deal about turning 40? Just what is it?
I know the Bible does show a number of instances where 40 signified a period of trial and/or testing. And outside of it, there have actually been many debates as to the significance of the number, with many arguing that it is just but a number. But is it? Is it?
I’ve been on a journey of reflection as I turn 40.
In my last article ‘Kigumz at 40’, I highlighted my first 30 years of life. Today, I talk about the other part, the phase that I really grew into the woman I am now.
This period of my life has been a combo of experiences. Spicy hot and tasty, exciting and painful. It’s the phase I began to accept that marriage, even though I desired it, was not meant for me, due to the biological clock. Yet God, being who He is, would have His way and I would finally meet my husband. Lesson: God answers the desires of our hearts.
It is the time I changed jobs after working for a bank for 10 years, with many around me wondering whether that was a great move. (You know banks offer[ed] cheaper loans to staff members). Personally, I had gotten tired of my job and the stress that it was causing in my life, particularly the negative impact it was really having on my family. I had 2 choices, as my husband rightfully guided me. Stay on and not complain, or do something and look for other opportunities. I made the bold choice and took control of my situation, an advice I would hope many of us would take in. Lesson: Take a leap of faith if you are tired of your situation. Just make sure God is in control!
This has been the age where I have formed some solid friendships. I love being around people. But friends, I have very few, those that I can count on to be there for me without any attachments. Now that’s a lesson I have my father to thank for. A lesson that I learnt the hard way through pain and tears. A lesson he taught me many years ago, yet I had considered it redundant and outdated. I usually don’t get to see some of these people everyday, but boy when we meet, there’s talk, laughter, prayer, more laughter.
I accept that some friendships are seasonal, and ain’t nothing wrong with that. You see, I used to get stuck in ‘mourning’ over a lost friendship. Right now, I am wiser. Why? Because I know that some of those friendships played a key role in my life and for a particular season. Lesson: Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you and want what is best for you.
In my thirties, more than ever in my life, I have learnt to cherish my parents dearly. Spending time with my family is key. I appreciate that both sets of my parents are alive, and I don’t take that for granted. I seek out their wisdom and I value their love. As a result of having a family of my own, I have come to treasure what my parents did for me even more. Thank you. Lesson: Honor your father and mother. Do not abandon them in their old age. Love them.
This is also a period I have become particularly close to my siblings and their families. You see, we grew up together but that does not necessarily mean that we loved each other dearly back then. We have been there for each other through good and tough times, and I appreciate the love and presence of my siblings now. Lesson: Family Matters!
I am grateful for my teenage daughter. Her presence in my life has made me a solid person. And since two and a half years ago, I have been super grateful for the son that came into our lives. Raising a son is special, you know. Raising a teenager and a toddler at the same time on the other hand is, well, dreadful! But thank God for His grace. Lesson: temporary insanity is real, people. I’m glad these kids are still alive! Parenting however is a true joy.
This has been the phase that I have had great and challenging moments in my marriage, moments that have caused me to run to God many times, moments that have made me wonder what’s more to life. Moments that have, when I think back, made me grateful that I am loved, made me want to do life with this special man in my life. My husband. Lesson: Marriage is like a rose, though it has thorns, that doesn’t take its beauty away. (A Thorny Flight to Rose County)
In short, I’ve gotten so much perspective in life especially on what matters, what is important. God. Family. Work. Friendships. Impact.
One thing I love about growing older is that you tend to listen to lesser noises, lesser voices out there. Voices that give you pressure regarding your status in life, voices that offer guidance to you based on the opinions they have formed about you. I am loving that I am becoming more confident about myself and what I want to do with my life.
I learnt from a speaker at Strathmore Business School about the stages of life, quoting Gail Sheehy’s Passages book defining them as follows:
Tryout Twenties (you are trying out everything and trying to fit in the society). Turbulent Thirties (you feel there is an urgency to make it, so it’s a season of make or break for you, especially with family, work and finances). Flourishing Forties (time to take stock and reassess yourself, and a great opportunity for self-discovery). In respect to the content of the book, I leave you to be judge.
I love what I hear people say that life begins at 40. Flourishing Forties! I look forward to flourishing in my forties, because I am more aware of myself, my strengths and weaknesses, my abilities and limitations.
I look forward to a time of making great impact in people’s lives. I am on a journey of discovering other areas where this impact may happen. And, most importantly, I want to work more with God on that journey.
Happy birthday Kigumz! Here’s to many more! God willing.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12.