My husband likes to say it takes thirty years to turn thirty and thirty minutes to turn forty. Sounds about right.
My thirty minutes are up on Friday.
I’ve finally made it through all the crap and now I get to the good part – the back forty – those hidden acres where the real work gets done. Yeah, it’s tucked away, a little remote, it might require a long walk through high grass, but that’s the beauty of it. The back forty doesn’t have to concern itself with being too showy. The back forty doesn’t give a damn what the neighbors think.
Maybe some people can make it there faster, but not me. I needed to take my time, get my bearings.
Growing up (so, pretty much birth to thirty-six) I was convinced that everyone but me had some secret knowledge about how to navigate the world. It was like they all had a great GPS that spoke to them in a sexy British voice saying, “Turn here. Say that. Believe this thing.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t have a GPS, it’s just that mine was old and unreliable. A hand-me-down. I had to smack it on the head a few times to get it going, and even then it hemmed and hawed, “Er, maybe we should turn around. Nevermind, nevermind, keep going… I think.” Far from sexy and British, my GPS sounded like Woody Allen with a hangover.
So, just like my little girls do when they’re lost in ballet class, I learned to look around the room. Figure out which hand to raise, which foot to put forward. Sometimes I pulled it off and sometimes I didn’t, but I was always aware that everyone knew I was faking it. Laughing at me and my neurotic navigation system peeking out from where I’d tried to hide it in my bra.
Then one day, about four years ago, I got my first inkling that everyone’s GPS was a little glitchy. That maybe no one was laughing at me and Woody Allen. Maybe they were too busy trying to figure out why their Mr. Sexy British Man kept running them into walls, or off cliffs or down dark dangerous streets they never meant to visit. Maybe, when they were unkind it wasn’t because my GPS had given me the wrong instructions, again, but because theirs was all jammed up and repeating, “Be an asshole. Be an asshole. Be an asshole.”
So, slowly, I stopped beating poor Woody over the head. I dusted him off. I began paying attention to when he spazzed out and led me astray, and I started updating those parts of the system. I had to ditch a lot of old code. I installed some new programs that I was sure were going to crash the whole thing and leave me in a gully with my knickers in the air.
It was hard. It was scary. It was slow. And it was so worth it.
It’s not perfect yet. But I’m less concerned with perfect than I used to be. Besides, Woody has taken me some incredible places: Here, to you. Home, to my five kids and my soulmate. Out into the world on roads I never knew existed.
On Friday, we’re going to the back forty.
I’m not sure what we’re going to find there, even though I can see it right out my window. But I got a pocket full of seeds, a good plow, a strong back. I’m ready to make it something amazing.