Well, it happened yesterday. I had a guest arrive who decided to move in permanently. I was surprised when I answered the door and there she stood. I eyed her warily, wondering how she found me. We looked at each other for a few moments, she waiting for my reaction, me, wondering how she got to my front door. There was a long pause and then we embraced like old friends. Her name? Forty. We decided I deserved her and she deserved me.
Forty is an interesting number, infinitely more interesting than thirty-nine. And, I quote, from some extremely knowledgeable internet site, “Forty is the number of trial and privation. Other negative associations for forty are:
40 years of Hebrew wandering in the desert
40 days and nights of the great flood.
40 years of Philistine dominion over Israel
40 days of Moses on Sinai
40 days of Elijah’s journey
40 days of mourning for Jacob
40 days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown, said Jonah.
40 days of Lent, the period of fasting, self-denial, and penitence traditionally observed by Christians in preparation for Easter.
40 day period of isolation in the Roman port, which survives in the word quarantine.”Christ also was in the desert for forty days and forty nights. That couldn’t have been too great of an experience either. Talk about “trial and privation!”
So, why, despite all the negative connotations associated with forty, do I feel so wonderful? This wrinkled, long-breasted, freckled, creaking body of mine has finally said, “Love me” and I feel like I’ve finally come to a place where I can unabashedly say, “Okay.” The temple in Salt Lake City took forty years to build, the same amount of time like it has taken my temple to evolve into what it is now. Its been in the arms of the man I love, borne four children, travelled the world, danced in strange places, eaten Belgian chocolate, and been sunburned by a Mediterranean sky. What more could forty ask for?
How do you feel about your age and body?
(And just for you old-timers, let us not forget that volatile year we came from: 1969- Nixon becomes president, Man lands on moon, Woodstock, Charles Manson murders, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Sesame Street begins, Internet created, Judy Garland dies of overdose, 250,000 protest in Washington, death toll reaches 34,000 in Vietnam, Smothers Brothers Comedy is cancelled, Melonie is born. Whew, what a year.)