40: I Finally Made It!
I’m 40. I like being 40. But getting to 40 hasn’t been all fun and games. I’ve had to fight, claw, scrape and fail my way here. But, I arrived, in one piece.
I recently spent a Friday breakfast chatting with another 40 year old who has also bounced her way to this great decade of life. An important part of each of our journeys has been living on our own-without a partner-, discovering who we are, what we want, and that we really CAN do it without the help of another. If we now choose to invite another into our lives, they can bask in our glory along but they cannot drag us down, will not snuff out our flame. This sounds a bit feminist, which I suppose it is, but this is really more about self-discovery.
My story. I was married young. I was an idealist, I didn’t have any idea where I belonged in this world. Just out of university, I thought the next step was to get married, have babies, and live happily ever after. Which can definitely happen, and does. But the happily ever after certainly didn’t happen to me. I lovingly had the babies and they’re turning into amazing people despite the non-traditional life they have had to endure. The rest was work, challenge, emotional upheaval, walls built upon walls of drama and conflict and strife. I’m not saying marriage, relationships, and life in general, aren’t work. They unquestionably are, and they should be. Turns out the missing link during all of that struggle was that I had very little idea who I was. So I kept my head above water and was spit out on this side of 40. Once I reached this shore, I realized I had allowed myself the space and time to discover a bit about who I am, what I want, and a lot about taking risks.
I’m 40 and I’m a student. I’m 40 and I’m an athlete. I’m 40 and I’m a mother. I’m 40 and I work, pay bills, ride the bus, vote, but I’m not bound by what I traditionally should be at 40. Because that’s not who I am.