This past Saturday I hit a milestone. I turned 45.

I’m not one of those oh-my-God-the-sky-is-falling kind gals when it comes to age, but 45 is kind of a big deal to me. There is something about the five in 45 that makes me wince.

But I quickly found out that 45 years old is just, well, 45 years old. Turning 45 means you’re old enough not to feel young anymore, but not quite old enough to complain about it. Mostly the feedback I heard when mentioning my upcoming milestone was “That’s nothing. Wait till you hit <insert speaker’s age here> then we’ll talk!”

A little tip for the masses: don’t utter that phrase to someone who is expressing trepidation about a birthday. Basically you accomplish nothing more than shutting the speaker down and making their feelings seem irrelevant. (Or so I’ve heard. AHEM.) Also, don’t ask females if they are having hot flashes yet. You’ll probably get murdered.

Heavy sigh.

Turning 45 is like the middle child of ages: no one is impressed or thinks it is a big deal but you. On the up side, there is usually wine involved and that makes everything a little better.

Because of this lame-milestone-birthday, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’ve changed over the years. I’m a very different person than I used to be.

I don’t shy away from conflict like I used to. I’m way more open to having uncomfortable conversations but much more considerate of other’s perspectives during those conversations. I savor experiences more and place less value on “things.” I’m wiser, more compassionate, more worldly and definitely less afraid to be my own self.

I count my blessings daily and value each and every moment with my boys even if it is just them begging me to feed them AGAIN. I don’t dwell on other people’s faults but instead concentrate¬†on their strengths. And I try each and every day to make someone’s life better.

All that being said, I still find myself trying to do to much and be too much for other people. If there is a problem, I’m trying to find a way to solve it, whether you’ve asked me to or not. I take too little care of myself and feel guilty when I spend any time pursuing my own passions. But I am getting better at celebrating “me” and valuing the unique individual that God made me to be.

I’m not 100% where I want to be but I’m getting there. And with age comes the understanding that if I want something then I need to go out and get it. I’m responsible for my own happiness. If I’ve learned one thing in this life its that no one will hand you your dreams, you need to relentlessly pursue them for yourself…. right NOW.

I mean, I’m not getting any younger, right?