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Sudie Crouch: Heading into a new decade
Wout Vanacker, unsplash

My birthday is fast approaching, coming up this week as a matter of fact, and to say I have mixed emotions is an understatement. 

It’s my last year in my 40s. Those cusp years always seem to hit me the hardest. 

Sudie Crouch
When I turned 29, I felt the pangs of restlessness that made me uncomfortable, knowing I wasn’t quite where I was supposed to be yet. 

My 20s had gone by so quickly, taking me from what felt like childhood into adulthood with barely a pause. 

The day I turned 29, I took the day off from work and went to the gym twice, thinking I was fighting the laws of gravity and gravy. 

I told my dearest friend at the time I didn’t want a big celebration, but more of a quiet, subdued affair. I wanted to ease into that last year, so I could plan an attack on the next decade. 

But, the following year – a mere month later actually – brought a divorce. Even though it was an unfortunately needful thing, it was still a painful one. 

The previous decade had been full of the ex; this new one was going to be one where I was trying to find out who I was and what that meant in the bigger scheme of things. New starts can be painful in a way, much like giving birth. 

The divorce led to me being fired by the jerk I was working for, another needful thing. It was a small miracle of sorts I had held my tongue during my employment, so my being fired was kind of a godsend of softs.  

That firing led me to the job where I met my husband, and into my 30s that were filled with more changes. 

A second marriage, starting my own business, having a baby, and then a major move to a town where we not only didn’t have family or roots but didn’t know the first person. 

That decade held several challenges, too, I just didn’t have the foresight to see them coming at the time. There was lots of good stuff too, and in retrospect, the good outweighed the bad. 

Everything set me up to move forward and led to the cusp year of my third decade. 

As I turned 39, I thought my career was going in one direction, only to find it wasn’t. Instead of finding myself settling into a role, I found myself unemployed. 

“What are you going to do?” a friend asked. 

“I’m going back to school,” I declared. 

Mama was concerned about my midlife crisis. She thought I should have maybe just bought an extravagant face cream or maybe dyed my hair red again. 

That year started a decade filled with grad school and searching for a job that fit all that learning. 

Of course, Mama reminds me daily I’m still not a lawyer. 

So approaching this last year of this fourth decade is leaving me a bit reflective and hesitant in a way. 

I’m worried about what my 50s may hold. My 40s held so many challenges and changes, but the 30s did, too. 

Maybe that’s just how life is though. 

No matter how much we plan and expect things to be a certain way or follow a certain path, life has a way of giving us detours, roadblocks, and often just flat out dead ends to make us change course. 

Sometimes, those diversions lead us to something better, we just can’t realize it at the time. 

We find out who our real friends are, and find new ones along the way. 

We realize that time is really short and that we never know when the last time we see or speak to someone may be. 

There’s always, always something tough we have to endure. 

There will always be pain. Heartache. Sorrow. Guilt. 

But there’s beauty, too. 

There’s laughter, growth, and when we finally get on the other side of whatever challenge we’re in, by some grace, we’re able to see the goodness in each of those moments and see where we drew our strength. 

Here I am. 

Stepping into the last year of my 40s, without a clue what the 50s hold. 

I’m scared, but just a tiny bit excited, too.

Mama assures me they will be great and the best years I’ve had. I wonder. 

I hope she’s right. Not just for me, but for all of us.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.