Is life over at 40?

I spent an evening with some friends last night and I kept hearing about how “old” they are.  Loss of hearing, reading glasses, vitamins, back and knee pain, grey hair, acid reflux… why do we connect these with getting old?  More importantly, please define the word “OLD.”  According to the dictionary, old means having lived for a long time, no longer young.  I ask, “According to whom?”

I am 43 years young.  I physically and emotionally feel fantastic.  I do not feel old.  I feel like I am finally at a place that I know what I want to do with my life.  Well, no, not really.  But I’m getting there.  Fresh out of high school, I did not go to college.  I hated school. What kid doesn’t?  Many of my friends went on to college, joined a branch of the military or found a job.  No, not me.  I packed a camelback and loaded up my jeep to get the “heck out of dodge.”  I set out on a journey to figure out who Shannon is and what  role I am supposed to play in this game called LIFE.  I did not discover my purpose, what I did discover is that I was more lost than ever before.  “Where in the hell am I, Why am I here, What is my purpose?” There were no smart phones or GPS?  Siri, Siri who? What I did have was a map.  A giant map of the United States.  Spread out across the hood of my jeep, eeny meenie miny mo. “I shall go North! Wait, which way is north?” I traveled all over the nation. To survive I learned how to work multiple jobs, lie and steal.  I slept in my jeep and showered at truck stops.  I learned how a peeping tom got his name. I didn’t know how to use my voice and state my needs so  I bought a pair of black and white Nikes and learned to run away instead.  I was like a gypsy in the night.  My jeep stayed packed for the safety of a quick flight.

Why do we think that our life is “over” when we are older?  Why do we use the phrase, “If I were younger.”  My question to you is “Why not now?”  You see, I couldn’t do the things I wanted when I was in my 20’s because first of all, I didn’t know what I wanted.  I didn’t know what was out there. I needed to experience some of this adventure called life.  Up until my late teens, I had spent my days in school and the weekends swimming in the Chickahominy river.  I didn’t know what was beyond the little town of Lanexa.

Today, at the young age of 43, I am high on life.  Life is so amazing and I want to do it all. All of it!  I sure hope I live to be 200 because I need lots of time to do everything I want to do. Over half of my life has been spent raising 2 amazing children whom I am very proud of.  My son is in the Air Force and my daughter is a senior in high school.  I have loved every minute of the craziness and chaos of raising a family with my husband. They are my diamonds.  Just a few years ago I started to put my needs as equal to my family.  I take good care of them, why not take good care of me?  My life is not over at 40! I refuse to surrender to the haunting word of “OLD.” I am still young when my daughter leaves home and I will not spend the rest of my life working and waiting for the aches and pains.  Recently, I found that I have a love for the outdoors.  Running (towards a finish line, not away from a problem), training for obstacle courses, Spartan, Tough Mudders, hiking, biking, swimming, camping and playing.  I seek adventure.  It fills my spirit and makes me smile. I live life to the fullest at all times.  I have goals and dreams and I plan to reach every one of them.

This is my wish for you. While you are busy making a life, dont forget to live it. We only have one life, HAVE FUN.  You dont want to look back with regrets. What is it that you want to do?  What do you want to try? Go for it, Do it!

I triple dog dare you…


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