So, this is 40. Huh, I guess most people either say they thought it would be different or things have worked out as they planned. But, I didn’t really think about it at all until a few months ago.
Every few years I do something to acknowledge being a year older. In the last decade, I celebrated three birthdays. When I turned 30, I went out for one of the best meals of my life at my favorite restaurant in San Francisco and then wandered around before heading home with the man I would marry soon after. It was memorable and nice. I had a party for 35 because I had a small child and birthdays were a thing for her that year. I celebrated 38 because after two rough years, my divorce finalized that weekend. But, in general, birthdays have never really been a big thing for me. They are a great excuse to eat strawberry shortcake for breakfast and I like having good food, drinks, and the company of people I truly enjoy being around. But, like any introvert, being the center of attention is usually not easy or fun.
So, what do I do about turning 40? How do I feel facing a new decade? Well, I could focus on all the challenges of the last decade. My marriage ended, thankfully. I fell in love again and lost it, unfortunately. My career has completely shifted focus, successfully. My health has declined and then improved, slowly. I have lost friends, unexpectedly.
But, if I focus on the things that are part of my daily life, well that is a different story. I have family and could not be more grateful for them, especially my mother. I have lots of friends who are some of the most loving, caring, people in the world. Some I talk to daily, some every few moths or years and it feels like only a day has passed. After years of being the only girl in a group of guy friends, I have a plethora of fierce ladies who have each others backs and hold together our little community of weirdos. I have an amazing child who reminds me everyday what it is to be happy and how I need to do and be better. I like my work and have creative outlets that feed my soul.
With all of that, I also have myself. It sounds silly, but I didn’t for awhile. I lost myself in vices, in marriage, in motherhood, in depression. But, after all of that, I know who I am and I really like that person. Don’t get me wrong, things are still hard. Some days more so than others. But, I have an open heart that can stay compassionate through heartbreak and sadness, as well as love and joy. I have the world to explore and the ability to make that happen. I have the belief that if things stay the same, I will be fine. If things change, I will be fine.
I am not looking for anything but to live my life as it presents itself and not let anyone but me dictate what that looks like. I know that living for love, adventure, and passion feed my ability to show up for my daughter, my family, and my friends. I know that I can be with myself alone or in a crowd. I know that when I connect with someone new, that person is worth my love because it is a rare occurrence and they have a lot of amazing people to be compared to. I know that there are worse things than being alone. I know that love doesn’t have to fit into anyone else’s idea of what it should be. I know that loving myself is enough.
I am 40 years old and my challenges haven’t gotten me down. I still know how to enjoy travel, music, dancing, food, drinks, and falling in love. I know that the people who want to be in my life are worth cherishing and those who don’t, deserve kindness too.
Is my life perfect? No way. I struggle with easy choices. I cry all the time, out of both sadness and catharsis. I make bad decisions about what I put in my body. I have no patience and I am prone to negative snap judgements, especially with new people. I don’t let people help me when I should. I keep things to myself for too long before sharing them. I take chances and then don’t follow through. I am damaged and insecure at times. But, I love all of that stuff about myself too. It is what makes me who I am. I know I can always change if it makes living my life difficult. I believe people can change. I know I have.
So, this is 40 and it is just as it’s supposed to be.