Success After 40
The weeks leading up to me turning 40 years of age have been a big ol’ mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, I’m cool with it and even looking forward to it. On the other hand, I’m more aware of my mortality and all that that little concept entails. Impending old age and death can be peaceful yet terrifying.
It is surreal to think I’m I’ll be 40 years old in a few days. I sometimes still feel like a dumb 20 year old girl navigating my way through life just like every other young’un. And then I think… “Holy shit, I’m old enough to be the mother of a 20 year old!”
And then, I almost faint. ;)
So, the past few weeks have been retrospective, introspective, and every other ‘spective, I’m sure.
As I have withdrawn and retreated into an explosion of reflective thoughts, I have come to realize I’m really tired of the cookie cutter societal rules dictating where I should be in life at the age of 40.
Sure, there are some 40 year old women who “have it all”. They have successful careers. They are supermoms. They’re queen of a 4 bedroom house in the most picturesque of suburbs. They may have spawned some adorable, perfect little geniuses who turned into ambitious teenagers or naive, over-confident 20 year olds.
A lot of women my age have all those things. More often than not, most women are at the very least either Supermom or Ms. Career-Woman.
And ya know what? That’s cool.
I, however, possess none of those things or any of those abilities.
I am a happily married and happily childfree struggling writer, a wannabe novelist, a housewife, and a dog mama who just a year ago moved across the country with her lovely little family to rent a tiny-ass condo in downtown Seattle.
That’s my life. And yes, it’s not all rainbows and ice cream.
Well, sometimes there are rainbows. More often than not, there is ice cream!
Sometimes, there is doubt though. I admit I occasionally struggle with not living up to the expectations of society or the expectations of my inner insecure 20 year old who thinks I should have gone with Door #1 that led to the land of
the stepford wives supermom suburbia.
But to be perfectly honest, I’m insanely joyful that Door #1 barely budged.
There was a Door #2 where I walked through and took a look around for a while. It led to a decent and probably easily accessible and driven career path. It may have paid well. It may have been somewhat enjoyable. It may have been lonely. It definitely would have been stressful. However, it definitely did not possess my heart. So, I made my peace with the decision to walk back out of Door #2.
There was a window. We’ll call it Window 2.5 because why not? This is my story. If you don’t like it, stop reading.
As you can most likely discern, Window 2.5 was an amalgamation of Door #1 and Door #2. As I have probably mentioned before, I love food. I love sweets. I’ve put on a little bit weight in the past 20 years. Luckily, I had the foreknowledge to know that if I went through Window 2.5 and decided I wanted to leave at any point, that it would be pretty damn difficult to squeeze my cheesecake-lovin’ ass back out that window.
(Is this post getting weird!?)
I most definitely would have realized certain things too late and maybe made some slightly regrettable mistakes. This path had the potential to be a robotic day to day existence. A supermom career woman I am not. To those of you who do it and do it happily, I applaud your existence.
Well then, welcome to Door #3!
Door #3 led to a very much open-ended path with no particular destination. Door #3 led to a very personal and emotional space. It was scary. It was eye-opening. It involved more soul-searching, more introspection, and more learning. It involved more trial and error… more experimentation. You could say it even involved more emotional anxiety, more heartache.. but also more love, more feeling, more depth.
On the surface, Door #3 sounds like a terrible door to choose, doesn’t it? But unlike the other doors/window, it is an ever-evolving journey. It is rarely stagnant. It is rarely boring. The journey waited until I was ready to fully appreciate the greatest components of life before it bestowed upon me the experiences of love, peace, and clarification.
And even with all its unfamiliarity and occasional inner turmoil, it is a door that I am happy to have chosen. I could probably leave at any moment if I so desired, but I’ve been sucked in by the allure of the unknown. And for that, I am thankful. Besides, puppies came with this door option. ;)
When I’m feeling hopeless, lost, and honestly, a little down on myself, it usually always stems from the feeling of I haven’t accomplished much… that I haven’t contributed much to society… that I haven’t done much of anything with my life at all… and what pains me the most, that I haven’t made a difference.
It’s really hard to not feel that way sometimes when I hear and read about folks in their 20s and 30s who have started their own businesses or came up with some great idea or product. Or teenagers and twenty-somethings who have published best sellers.
And if you’re like me, nearing 40 and feeling like you have nothing to show for it, you think “Wow. I must be really lazy and unmotivated.”
Which if we were to be honest, I kind of am sometimes. I usually have a few spells a year when I wonder “What’s the point in writing?” What’s the point of going out and taking pictures?” “What’s the point in any of the things I’m doing? Of life!?”
Needless to say, the voices in my head can get pretty emo. Continue reading