The new year – usually it arrives unceremoniously. This year things were different. I’m a January baby. Elvis, David Bowie and I share a birthday. I turned 40 this time ’round the sun. I’m normally not wont to scrutinize age, but still found myself telling people that I was 30 with 10 years experience upon the blessed day. I notice that I’m not alone in my minor anxiety-riddled thoughts brought on by the slipping away of my youth. Every week at least one or another of my high school and college classmates is lamenting the ominous orb of the zero in its role as clinger-on to the four. As my friend Erin quipped, “I had a ‘moment’ when I had to click on the age 40-49 button of a survey I was taking”. I hear ya, Erin. What’s that song say? The first cut is the deepest. I sit here typing and note that the skin is just maybe a tad bit looser on my dishpan-dry hands…and the volume on the TV is just a shade too loud. It’s odd – I knew forty was coming. What I didn’t know, is that a need for introspection would accompany it. I’m not horrified, nor am I depressed. I think I’m just kinda surprised that I am now the age my parents were when I was graduating from high school. It’s bewildering. So I think back and see all that has changed in the last decade of my life. I know who I am now. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I call children “honey” and “sweetheart”. Since having a school-aged child, I attend parent-teacher conferences from the other side of the desk now. I worry less about the superficial things that used to consume me and save my worry for the serious issues that deserve my attention. Even those seem easier to manage since I pray more. I look at my career and see how my professional choices and hard work have shaped me and given me opportunities. I have no idea what my career will bring to me in the future and I’m all right with that. Ten years ago that uncertainty would have put me in a tailspin. I guess I grew up, and I guess I gained enough wisdom to know that I’m constantly learning about myself, those I love, and my world and that commitment to lifelong learning is what makes each of my days worth living. I can look matter-of-factly now at what is important. My family, my work, my writing – the things that warm my soul. For a woman who values order and organization, I have learned that changes can be good.