One day I woke up and I was in my 40s. Early 40s, but when did this happen?
I know the truth is that I forever will feel these four ages: three, seven, fourteen and twenty-one, with bouts of thirty-six. My husband pegs me as having the heart of the second of the ages I listed. After seven solid years of marriage, he’s still in awe of my marveling at simple joys and amusements.
But I think the feeling of forty is creeping up on me. So I anticipate the dawning of wisdom. I’ve heard that’s what happens during your forties. (As long as your forties are not the new twenties. Please God no.)
Looking back from this wisdom-awaiting position, I see my thirties were my pivotal years. I felt the most at peace with where I was headed, because I changed directions. I left my stagnant marriage, had a good divorce, as outlined in the Qur’an, and worked on my self, my deen and my relationships with loved ones. I started this blog in 2006 to capture some of the journey back.
I believe the work I did on finding the best me led me to be able to meet the love of her life. There was no bitterness or defensive chip on my shoulder when I went for coffee with my soon-to-be life partner. I presented myself, the one I’d uncovered.
So my thirties were beautiful.
And my twenties? They belonged unconditionally to my children – I sprang to be The Most Devoted Mother with gutso. I shoved myself, squashed myself actually, in tending to them. My early thirties taught me to balance me & them. My mid-to-late thirties forced me to balance me, the children and my husband.
What do I want of my forties? I want big wisdom. The kind that sees beyond the immediate situation immediately. Not after the fact, when the deed is done, and I’m holed up reflecting. Is it too much to hope for that first-aid kind of wisdom? The type that can stop the flow of blood, the flow of wrong decisions, word-choices, actions with paramedic calm?
I want my forties to be when I get published. Big-time published. I love writing too much to have it sit there accumulating in my dad’s old university bag from the sixties (because it is). In the ten years I’ve turned back to my craft, I’ve learned that I can be patient and that I can plod-on and that I can keep up. Now, it’s time to make my mark.
My son, in third year University, tells me that everyone’s talking about intersectionality. I looked it up and read about it. I couldn’t completely understand it, like I would’ve understood it when I was in University and my mind was in Derrida-land, but the seven year-old in me likes the simple intersection(s) idea. That my identity is made up of multiple identities, a series of crossed lines and the point in the middle is the me no one else is.
That’s the point from which I want to make my mark as a writer.