The Wrap-Up Chapter

A friend of mine told me that she thinks of turning 40 as beginning a new book. Although she was thinking of the idea as a life comprised of two books, to me this seems like a good way to think about decades–books in a series that make up a life. A series may have common characters, but each volume has different themes, plot twists, and crisis moments. Much like a decade, don’t you think?

IMG_7211This week I turned 39, which opens the final chapter of the book of my 30s. In final chapters, writers close loops, wrap up long-standing conflicts, and underscore themes. And in a series, the end of a book also sets up the next installment. All of those descriptions feel appropriate as I plan for 2018.

My 30s have been full of adventures in finding out who I am, exploring what I want to do professionally, figuring out homeschooling (and how to balance that with work), and building a family. I’ve enjoyed tremendous blessings and suffered significant setbacks, and grown through them all. My outlook is broader. My thinking is deeper.

I’m fascinated by how this drawing down and ramping up are taking shape. After nearly 13 years pregnant and/or breastfeeding, soon I will have more flexibility for travel, more ability to attend work-related events and conferences, and even the chance at more date nights. I’m finally processing some of my health issues and putting common sense plans into place for dealing with them long-term. We’re moving into whole new worlds of independence with the big kids that already have a big impact on how we do school. And all of that opens my mental space up to consider new angles for my work.

IMG_7212In the past couple of years, I’ve been surprised at my need to mourn the end of some 30s themes. It was harder than I expected to finish the baby stage, and simultaneously figure out how to handle pre-teens (I still have not figured this out–good thing I have a year left!). And yet I find that I’m newly energized to tackle age 39. It helps that I think middle age starts at 50, but the prospect of my 40s isn’t phasing me for now. Some things are winding down, but I can see all of these new possibilities opening up, and it will be exciting to see what new themes and challenges are in store.

When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.

I had that Tuli Kupferberg quote on my wall in college. I still have no idea who Tuli is, but the quote still seems apt. So here’s to the winding down and opening up–the denoument of a decade and the foundation of the next!

Do you see your decades as books? If you’re just beginning or ending one, are different themes opening up?


4 thoughts on “The Wrap-Up Chapter

  1. I’ve followed your blog for a few years. I’m a quiet person in real life and on the Internet, so I don’t think I’ve commented before. But I’ve wanted to tell you, both how much we have in common, and how much of a blessing you’ve been to me. And I also didn’t realize how close in age we are! I turned 39 on the 7th! This year we welcomed our 6th baby. I spent 11 weeks on hospital bedrest with major placenta problems. I knew ahead of time that I was going home with a hysterectomy. Having known your story, I came back to it many, many, times for encouragement during those 11 weeks. When Eliza (yes I told you we have a lot in common!) was born I lost 6 liters of blood and had 21 units of blood products transfused. It was very scary for my family for a bit there, but praise God, I’m still here! We also homeschool. My older kids are teenagers, in fact my oldest is a senior this year. But I’ve loved seeing all the parts of your life you’ve shared here, loved watching the kids grow, loved all the homeschool encouragement, and I especially appreciate your story. It really gave me hope when things looked hopeless. Thank you. And I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and a joyous new year!

    1. Thank you, Jamie, what a thoughtful comment. Congratulations on Eliza’s birth and happy birthday to you! I’m so glad that you are ok and hope that your recovery is swift. It felt like such a long road to me, but hopefully in your case the bounce back is faster and easier. Or, if not, I hope that your family can help. Thank you for reading and for leaving such an encouraging comment. It’s hard to know sometimes if there is much point to blogging, but I’m glad I could be of some help and encouragement to you, too.

  2. Yes, although I didn’t have the circumstances you did, I still think it was harder to say goodbye to the baby years than I’d always imagined. I think I’m getting more used to it now. I think I should adjust my thinking to the decade long book…..that way there will be (might be) more than one more book to look forward to. 🙂
    Blackberry Rambles recently posted..December 15

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