The second part of last year, I become very unsettled. Of course, there were many aspects of my life which attributed to that sense of losing myself, but the bulk of it was my inability to accept that I would soon be turning 40.
I went through a range of emotions – sadness, disbelief, fear – but most of all, I just simply didn’t want be that old. I wasn’t where I wanted to be at that time in my life and just refused to accept that I was going to be 40 years old. WTF had I done with my life.
In my 20’s, I did what a lot of people do; I spent the decade being selfish and having no clue what I wanted to do with my life. It was the “WHAT AM I DOING” decade.
In my 30’s, I did what I thought I was supposed to do. I got married, had a baby, bought a house and lived that American Dream we all chase like fools! It was the “I’M BEING WHO SOCIETY WANTS ME TO BE” decade.
Yet with all that, I wasn’t happy. Was there something wrong with me?
As January 2015 arrived, something strange happened. I remembered that not everyone is lucky enough to have made it this far. So I began to not only accept turning 40, but to look forward to it. I realized that being 40 years-old doesn’t mean the end of my youth, but more like the beginning of living. And I mean really living life the way I want it.
There is something freeing about turning 40. At this point in my life I’ve lived enough to discover who I really am and what I really want from the time I have left on this planet. And it doesn’t mean sitting in a rocking chair watching the world of the young pass me by. I’ve had some awesome, and some terrifying experiences, and they have all made me who I am today. So it’s time I embrace that person with open arms.
Turning 40, to me, means I am at a place where I can be the person I was meant to be. I can leave that positive mark on the lives of those around me and hopefully inspire others to live similarly, whatever that means to them. That’s was this 5th decade of life is going to be about. Not reminiscing on the past, wishing I had those seemingly wasted years back, but challenging the years I have to come. Because those were NOT wasted years. They were necessary in the act of unearthing who Irene is. And now that I know, there can be no stopping me.
The point is, embrace where you are in the journey that is your life. You may not be where you want to be, but you are always moving forward. Don’t allow what others say determine the path you take. Be it your family, friends, or the captions on the covers of your favorite magazines – don’t let them influence you away from what you want. And, if you have no idea what you really want, that’s okay too. Experience life, all of it. But don’t allow your age to dictate what you “should” be doing.
I’m turning 40 a month from today and I feel blessed!