Well here we are on the eve before my 40th birthday. That’s right, I said 40. I know, it’s shocking to me too. Probably because I don’t look anywhere near 40 nor do I feel it. The only way I know for sure I’m turning 40 is because my birth certificate says 1978.
This is the part where I’m supposed to freak out. And I am not going to lie- I have a little bit, but not in ways you would think. I feel like- where has the time gone? How did I get here? Do I have regrets? Ok, sure. Mainly, I wish I traveled more in my 20’s, but there is still time for that.
When I look at why I may have regrets, I realize that focusing on my education was always my main priority. It took me 10 years to obtain my Bachelor’s while working full time, and another two years to get my Master’s. In the meantime, I’ve had a couple of unsuccessful relationships and dated around a bit. I’ve lived in three states and made a bunch of different friends. I’ve dealt with an eating disorder and battled depression many times. I’ve also lost important people in my life- my grandma and grampy, who I was very close with, and my mom two years ago. It hasn’t been a cakewalk.
Now I’ve started to take the time to look back on my life. Part of this is due to the wellness journey I’ve been on, but also because I’m approaching a big birthday milestone. I used to always follow the rules and listen to what other people thought I should do with my life, but I don’t anymore. People say that there are certain boxes one should check off by now- marriage, children, and owning your own home, for example. I seemed to have missed a few of those along the way, but it doesn’t really bother me.
It has taken me this long to actually figure out who I am and what I want in my life. I have recently found my purpose in the past three years, and I’m working on creating the life I want. I don’t think I’m too old to make these changes. In fact, I think it’s the perfect time. I feel that there are certain views on how 40 is supposed to look and act, but I’m not sure I can get behind that. People make career shifts all the time, finding their true passion later in life. Why should we have to stop chasing those goals and dreams? I don’t think we should.
There are pressures in society, especially on women, to have their life lined up neatly by this age- career, husband, children, etc. We are supposed to stay in and go to bed early, or be judged for a late night of dancing. We are adults, after all (eyeroll). Yes, I know I’m an adult. I have bills every month that prove it. But, that doesn’t mean I have to hang up my dancing shoes just yet, or ever. So, I’ve decided that now is my time. This is the time for me to travel, to try new adventures, chase old dreams, and explore. In the new year I begin my yoga teacher training, so I can become a yoga teacher at 40! But who cares that I’m 40? I look in the mirror and still see a 25-year-old. My secret? A multitude of mistakes, the right brand of moisturizer, and lots of water.
Not every day is care free. There are days when I look around and question the choices I’m making because I feel others will judge me (and they will). Shouldn’t I have more, shouldn’t I be something else? At 40 shouldn’t I have it all figured out? Well the truth is, I don’t have it figured out, and that’s okay.
We need to stop telling people they are too old to pursue new dreams, or that everything must be fulfilled at the point society deems appropriate. Instead, we should encourage people to do what makes them happy, what makes them feel most alive. That is what living is all about. Living isn’t about checking off all the little boxes in a neat row. That’s what I’ve come to realize. It doesn’t matter if I’m behind others in certain milestones or I don’t act my age. It matters that I’m happy with my life’s direction. Again, some days I wish I had discovered my purpose earlier, but we can’t live in regrets. I wouldn’t be where I am now, without living through my earlier struggles. Maybe you wouldn’t be reading this, if you hadn’t lived through yours?
So, no matter your age, take a look around. Is this who you want to be? Is this where you want to be? If not, then change that! Remove the old notions of society out of your comfort zone, and make your life count how YOU want it to. Not how every other person says it should.
Personally, I’m heading into 2019 older, wiser and a little lighter, as I’m letting some baggage go. My 30’s have been about me finding myself and creating my life after I moved to New York City. Now let’s see what adventures I can get into in my 40’s. Bring it on!