I am exhausted.
I'm not talking about the my eyes are kind of heavy and I need a catnap kind of tiredness. I am talking about the full body, full brain, and full consciousness kind of exhausted.
You see, I have been on a journey. It's been a long journey. I have had times when I was euphoric at the progress I was making and feeling like I had it all in my hat. I have had days when I felt blocked and the hurdle was just too big to leap over. I have had days when everything seemed to come crashing down, endangering my journey and my chance at reaching my destination. I have shed tears, pulled my hair in exacerbation, thrown my hands up in the air, and laughed like a madwoman to keep from losing my sanity -well maybe I lost a bit of sanity along the way, but that's another story for another day.....
This journey wasn't the journey of raising my kids, although that has been one amazing journey. It wasn't a journey of hitting a physical goal like completing a half marathon - although I've done a couple of those. It was not a journey navigating through a major life disruption and crisis, although I have had plenty of those too. It wasn't even a journey through marriage, financial woes, or friendships. It was the journey of writing a Senior Paper for my Bachelor's degree.
This evening, I put the final period on the final page of my complete draft of a paper that has been my existence for the last three months. Of course through this part of my existence I had to negotiate every other part of my existence (my kids, household, job, family, husband, etc) yet still manage to live, breathe, eat, sleep, and write this paper. I truly felt like I would never finish or survive long enough to finish it. But, I existed in this paper a few steps at a time to get to where I am with it today. This evening I reached the point that I can say that I only have hours of editing left to do instead of weeks of writing. The final period marked the turning point of just a few more steps to go. With that last key stroke, the exhaustion came upon me, and tears began to roll.
This paper process is a lot like life in fortyness. In this phase of life, we have experienced so many things that we thought we could never manage or get through. We have had crisis, responsibility, duty, even goals that seemed impossible. We were tired, haggard, beat up and exhausted from the trip. But we got through them a few steps at a time. We stayed the course, looking a few paces ahead with the end goal somewhere in our consciousness. By just putting one foot in front of the other, we can now look back and see how far we have come. We have reached our goals, or can look ahead and at least see the finish line.
In fortyness, we need to be conscious that many journeys are reaching mileposts, or coming to an end. There are many of those journeys - the uphill climb journeys of raising small children, the "I can't wait to get to this point" journeys, the raising teenager journeys - that when looking back have passed in the blink of an eye. It is a bittersweet thing. There is rest in front of us, but, the journey is where we have learned all the things that make us who we are today.
In my fortyness, I will look back and treasure most of the journeys I have been on. I recognize that not all of them were happy ones, but I will at least be happy that I finished each and every journey that life has taken me on. I am a better person for taking those few more steps to the destination.