My mom posted something on Facebook the other day about how her insides don’t always match her outsides in terms of age. As in she feels younger than she is – this is a sensitive topic…she is still young! However, she feels significantly younger than her chronological age and most people likely wouldn’t guess her age correctly. She has always had a great sense of style and effortlessly pulls off looking ‘cool’. She’s a saucy minx.
I did not inherit her inherent sense of style. I muddle through and look presentable. I am not effortlessly cool. I lean a little towards soccer mom territory and for the most part I’m okay with this. I mean I would like to be as cool as her but we all know where trying too hard gets a person.
Also we are polar opposites in a lot of ways – and also very alike, but Lana is much more of a free spirit than this list loving girl. My mom is also effortlessly creative whereas I am not.
What’s my point? I understood, totally, what she meant. Even when I hear a recording of my voice I feel like I sometimes sound like a child. I laugh at and often say very inappropriate things – and then laugh harder. I still drink too much on occasion. I don’t care about the news as much as I “should”. In some ways I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 25 and that’s both refreshing and disconcerting!
Aren’t I supposed to have this amazing sense of self as a woman so close to 40? Shouldn’t I be going around gushing how great this is? Shouldn’t I be feeling secure and settled and like I know exactly what I’m doing? Because I don’t.
I don’t fear turning 40 because of the physical aging. Yesterday morning as I put on my make up I noticed the lines on my forehead, my crow’s feet, my ever deepening laugh lines and none of those things really bothered me. I could do without the facial hair coupled with the breakouts but in terms of a few lines and wrinkles? Meh. I am never not going to sit in the sun on a beautiful day. I like to laugh and make faces. I am okay with looking like I enjoyed life (within reason of course!).
I fear turning 40 because of the whole running out of time and wondering if at 60 I’m still going to feel like I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing! I don’t want to be saying “I wish I would have ________ more/sooner”. I don’t want to feel like I failed. Failed what? I DON’T KNOW AND THAT’S PART OF THE PROBLEM SO STOP ASKING ME.
I have a little bit of a perfectionism complex and not in any good sort of way. It’s more in a ‘procrastinate in case I fail/make a mistake/am embarrassed’ way. I hate making mistakes. I don’t like to be wrong (like unhealthily so). I literally feel unsettled until all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed and if I miss one? It eats me up. I have control issues (in case that last little diatribe didn’t clue you in to that).
I don’t like not knowing what’s next. The shift is slowly moving away from the kids and back to me. I still have two to finish ‘growing’ and get off onto lives of their own and of course continue to support as any parent but before I know it they’ll have done just that – gotten lives of their own and then what? Am I going to simply go to work and back every day and hang out with Ryan in front of the TV in the evenings? Continue living for the weekends? Always looking ahead?
Jesus, I hope not. That sounds depressing AF but here’s the thing, even though I don’t feel like I’m really where I want to be, professionally, most of all, I don’t know what I really want that to look like! Being paid to write is my dream but I don’t know how to make that happen or what I want to write about…(as evidenced by the many different directions this blog ventures!). I need more time. I need a plan. I need a drink.
For now I’m going to remind myself what I’d tell any of you: Your life is what you make of it. You are not failing at anything. None of us are as long as we’re trying. If I want something, I’m the only one who’s going to make it happen. Figure out what’s most important to you (that’s easy, my husband and my kids) and then go from there. Age is just a number but time is not infinite so make up your mind and go after what it is that will shut you up already (sometimes we all need a little tough love).
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
If it makes you happy, do more of it.
If you don’t like it and don’t have to, don’t do it.
Write the book. (or whatever it is in your case: get the degree, go for the promotion, have another (or a) child, become a professional boxer).
Get out of your own damn way.
And in summation, let go of any idea or thoughts of “supposed to”. You’re not supposed to be anything other than yourself and you, my friend, are pretty damn great. So there. Go forth and conquer!