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Life Coaster: Hill Forty

In March of 2017 I turned 40.   Forty, the number that sits perched at the middle of a timeline like the peak of a rollercoaster.  It seemed time clicked away slowly as it dragged me to the top.  The top of of this ride called life. The click clacking of the track as we passed holidays, school days, movie nights, vacations, graduation, true love, weddings, babies, sleepless nights, hectic days, the “I can’t wait untils”. Then suddenly, as if I’d just blinked and somehow the track had been cut and pasted: I am at the top of it all.
 For just a split second my car sits at the top of this fragile thing, on a skeleton of wood and nails.  I can look behind and see all the track I've traveled and then look forward to all the track I am about to plunge through, scared, crazy, stiff, but laughing at every dip.  In those seconds at the top, I can see for miles.  My infinite perspective gives me pause at all the beauty i've been whooshing by in an attempt to have fun.  All the anticipation of “what ifs” are here, staring me in the eyes.  The dreams of my youth now have skin and bones on them, names with faces.
But what is forty? I know for me it’s more than a milestone, it’s a monumental achievement. I was told I may never see 15. Now I’m sitting here at the top of a very precarious situation. I look behind me and I know how far, how fast, how troublesome and simultaneously exhilarating life can be! I look ahead and my heart leaps with anticipation for the possibilities this “still fairly young body”  can still do. I am wise enough to know what is in my wheelhouse and what should be left to the hands of others, but I am brave enough to attempt new things. I am strong enough to stand up for the deep soul mending things that have real impact on the world, but weak enough to know which things are not worth a frivolous fight. I love life and I know life isn’t composed of things but people, but I also know that life is sweeter when you can enjoy good things with great people.
Forty, a new start, a new plunge...probably the best part of the roller coaster remains in the track ahead...the part two.
How does it all go so fast?
I think I'll buy the picture.
-Melissa Pyle

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