It’s here. My 40th birthday. I have been looking forward to this day for about 7 years. Yes. For that long.
See, at that time, I had a coworker that most people saw as annoying and high maintenance. Her name was Giselle Dove. Goodness, I miss her! She passed away about 3 years ago to lung cancer (she never even smoked!) and she was in her forties. One phrase that Giselle always used to say when she got frustrated if she felt undervalued or disrespected was “I’m over forty!”
Most people did not understand her and probably thought she was being cocky. I didn’t get that from her; probably because I had extensive conversations with her outside of work and knew her better than half of our other coworkers. I think she had some experiences along the span of her life that formed the woman we met. Giselle was simply a woman of strong boundaries.
She knew exactly what she wanted. She knew how it looked, how it felt, how it smelled, what she would wear, and the type of people that would be around her. She knew what worked for her. But, more importantly, she knew what would definitely not work. And she was strict about not allowing near her the things or people that just would not work.
There was something about her self-certainty that appealed to me. I wanted to know myself that surely too! I knew turning 40 had something to do with it. And I wanted in.
So for the past 6 years, I set out on a mission of self-discovery, reflection, and acceptance. Whew! It was rough! There were parts of me that I had to be real with myself about. I love to say "you can't heal what you continue to hide". I still have some healing to do, but I now know many of the areas that need it.
I have the Giselle-esque confidence I was hoping for! It didn't happen magically upon turning 40. It came from asking God to help me look in and at myself with clear lenses. I learned many lessons along the way. MANY. Hey, 40! Looking kinda Gawjuss!