Friday, April 27, 2012

Dreading 40? Read this.

When I turned 40 almost 10 years ago I was excited. Leaving my 30's behind me meant re-evaluating my life and gave me a great opportunity for change. It was a fresh, blank journal of  time, just waiting for me to fill it with direction and accomplishments.

The How of Change was a big mystery to me. I still had a child at home, although he was in preschool, but I knew that his going to kindergarten the following year would alter my days and give me some space to figure out the changes.

My 20's had been about meeting the grown-up me, and finding someone to share her with. My 30's had been about babies and toddlers and children. The challenges of having them, the challenges once they arrived, and the challenges of raising them.

My 20's and 30's had been spent learning, I was always a newbie at something. New at self-reliance and career, new at being a wife, new at motherhood, new at babydome. In the 10 years of 30, we moved several times and I always felt like the new guy. This newness brought certain anxieties. The new was a hurdle and only in retrospect can I say that I didn't feel comfortable with all these hurdles.

While I wasn't looking forward to leaving the springiness of youth behind, I wanted to not be unsure and new any longer. I was ready for the changes of 40 even if I didn't know what they were.

If you have been following along in this blog you know: the big change was another child. Days before turning 42, I gave birth to Noah. The year prior, I had a miscarriage late in my first trimester. So the beginning of my 40's looked an awful lot like my 30's.

But, sometime after I turned 40-even while it still looked like my 30's- I realized something: I didn't sound new anymore. The words that would tumble with a power beyond my control from my mouth and fingers sounded wise. (OK, wise with a dose of wise-guy.) Apparently along the way I learned something. It continues to shock me each time it happens.

My 40's ended up being about using that acquired knowledge to learn MORE. Ask more questions, develop new interests, meet new people. Being new to things wasn't a stumbling block any more, it was a stepping stone. I was no longer worried about looking like the new mom, the new woman, who didn't know much and had to prove herself. I was the experienced person who had a base of knowledge and an eagerness to learn more.

I had wonderful experiences all through my 40's- even when it was bad and hard, life was developing me to be something. To do something. And I did what I could when it was presented to me. I didn't hesitate, I leaped.

Because of those leaps, I have landed where I am today. It may not be any grand, highly visible stage, but I am happy with where I am. Internally, it feels great and that is all that matters to me. I feel like I am, again, at the precipice of some changes, and I am looking for the next path. The path that will lead me to 50 and beyond.

You see, in less than a year I enter my 50's. Right now I have no idea what path to follow next. I am trying to look ahead, see which  steps will be the most rewarding- which are right for me. I know that I am on that journey even though on any specific day it might not feel like it. Change is slow and best viewed farther down the path. I try to make changes as I see fit: some little, some big, but I change while still holding tight to all that is dear to me.

I may have stepped into my 40's but because of what has happened in my life in the last 10 years, I don't plan to step into my 50's.

I plan to stage dive.


  1. What a fabulous and inspiring post. I just turned 40 on April 1 and really recognize that eagerness to try new things and learn more. The greatest gift I acquired in the past year was the realization that I didn't know it all. I can only hope my 40s have me taking some of the cool risks you have undertaken (although I'm not quite sure about the baby at 42, just sayin'). Can't wait to watch you dive into your 50's!

  2. Happy 40th! I'm not recommending a baby at 42, it's scary- but I'm sure you'll have your own leaps over the next 10 years! 40 rocks. Pure and simple.


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