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How I'm Going to Embrace Turning 40 Despite My Illness

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This is 40. Many people rue the day they move out of their 30s. Not me. I joyfully said goodbye to 39 without a glance back in the rearview mirror.

The last few years of my 30s were less than enjoyable, they were years of less. Feeling less beautiful because my hair was falling out by the handful. Feeling less human knowing that parasites were living in me and making me so sick. Less loved because I felt dead inside and as though my heart had turned black. Less of a mother because I had to give my kids more screen time so I could rest and heal. Less confident, less sure of myself, embarrassed and ashamed because I got sick and lost my health. Less fun because I wanted and needed to sleep all the time. Less quality time in my marriage because I had nothing left to give at the end of the day after somehow keeping myself and our children alive every 24 hours. Less human because I was terrified to leave to the house. Less real because when I did leave the house and engage in social situations, it was all fake. I played the part of a healthy person so well and downplayed my illness.

“Oh, are you feeling better, Sarah?”

“Oh yes, I’m feeling much better.”

Never explaining to anyone that my definition of “better” was
that I wasn’t dead yet… so sure, “yes, I’m doing just great. And you?”

Those days are mostly behind me although I still have setbacks and will be on a lifelong healing path.

Forty and on is going to be about more. More realness, less bullshit. More acceptance of me, more forgiving of myself when I need to rest. More “no” so I can “yes” to the things and people that make my heart happy. More nourishing foods, literature, positive people and influences. More helping others who want to help themselves heal. More being a positive role model and a beacon of hope for those who feel lost, broken, like they can’t get out of their current health crisis. More nature, more time playing with my kids. More openness and
transparency with my friends and family on how I’m really doing. More acceptance of my beauty, strength and self-worth. More vocal about what I choose to feed my children and my family even though it goes against the norm of what most people eat these days. More time to myself, more time to write my book, to share my entire ugly beautiful story and how I saved myself from dying or taking my own life in hopes that it can help even one person get through whatever they are going through. More self-care so that I can be the best wife
and mother for my family. More appreciating the small victories. More love, more meditating, more yoga, more education on how your mind really does have the power to heal your body. More living.

Photo credit: Pradeep Thomas Thundiyil/Getty Images

Originally published: January 12, 2020
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