Yesterday, someone told me that they were upset that they were turning 30; while they felt that they had done a lot, the number gave them a sense of angst. They were focused on all of the things they had not accomplished yet, they felt like a failure.
I shared with her that in some ways, that feeling never goes away. We all feel the need to compare ourselves to others and what we have accomplished. That said, in my 30s, I had barely figured out who I was, and that you could not pay me enough money to make me go back to my 20s. No way. NEVER.
Later in the day, a woman in a Facebook group of over 40 business owners asked what was the most frustrating obstacles that we had encountered being 40 and beyond.
It was then that I realized I really needed to stop and think about this topic.
My 40s have been when I came fully in to my own.
These were the years when I learned that I had spent the previous 10 years trying to overcome a toxic relationship that was long since over so I was never going to “fix” it – and I didn’t need to, I just needed to let it go.
It is when I found my purpose in life is helping women grow their confidence. It is when I found my own confidence in the process. I have never been so secure in who I am as I am now.
It is when I finally learned to eat in a way that is good for my body. I discovered that I am gluten intolerant in the process; by cutting it out of my diet, I regained some of my health. I lost 35lbs. I have enough money to be able to afford the luxury of organic food, and quality meats. Most importantly, I reclaimed the word “diet” to mean, quite simply, meeting my dietary needs. Enough of this being on a diet as if I needed to be punished, or if I was good enough I could then go off of it. I need to eat certain foods to maintain my health. It is a life choice that I will have to keep up for the rest of my life.
I finally got to live out my dream of being a professional photographer (something I had wanted to do since I was about 10 years old), and working as a photographer lead me to discovering my dream job of coaching women to be more confident in both their businesses and their life. In a late night conversation with a group of friends at a photography conference last year, one friend of mine asked each of us what we would do if we could do anything we wanted. I laughed, and pointed out I was already doing it. I was living my dream, I made it happen. I have never been more satisfied with my work.
My friendships have never been deeper and more true. I know that at any given moment, they are there for me. They are good, solid friendships, and I could not ask for better people in my life.
I feel like I understand my parents in a way I didn’t even 10 years ago. I have a better understanding of who they are, not just as my parents but as people. I feel this way about my husband and my son as well. I simply feel a heightened sense of understanding and appreciating my family. These are the people who have made me who I am – I have gained so much from them, and I love them all for all they have shared with me.
I spent 4 months in 2013 traveling around the USA, and 6 months in 2014 doing the same. In my Mini Cooper. Because I wanted to drive, and drive, and drive. I visited the lower 48 states and 4 provinces in Canada. I am still planning to drive to Alaska, maybe this year, or maybe some day later.
I have decided to structure my life in a way that makes me happy; one that merges work, travel, family, writing, coaching – all of it in a way that brings me joy.
Is it perfect all the time? Hell no. I’d be bored to tears if it was. Being self-employed can be stressful. I am my work, and my work is me. I am just grateful that it is work that I truly love and all that I want to do from the time I start my day until I go to bed.
Yes, I am over 40. While my blood pressure has actually improved (see the no wheat thing, decreasing my inflammation in my body), I can see my skin aging. I was diagnosed a few years as having asthma. I have benign nodes on my thyroid, and a nodular parotid gland that keeps causing ear infections in my left ear. I had a hysterectomy at 38. My left hip hurts randomly ever since I fell on a boat dock in Belize in 2009. Also, I have these bumps on my right knee, so I can’t kneel down on anything hard without being almost in tears. My need for reading glasses is right on the edge of needing them and not needing them, so I am constantly taking my eyeglasses on and off and back on again.
So my body is changing – but my life? My life has never been better.
Just something to think about if you too are dreading turning 30, or maybe 40. You get to choose the life you want to live. You can define your own version of success. Are there people who are doing far greater things than I am? Who are changing the world with the great scientific discoveries they are making, or whatever the case may be? Absolutely. That is not the life for me though. It took me until I was in my 40s to figure all of that out.