Let me tell you, those days of my teens and twenties don't feel so far away from this point in time than they actually are. The rear view mirror really is distorted.
What I know about me now that I didn't know, say 20 years ago:
I can succeed at anything I put my mind to - I just need free time and the desire to put a priority on it. Just look what I've accomplished in the last year. A major move, I kicked ass at my job and did a hell of a lot of kick ass parenting. I've redecorated most of the house on a shoestring budget, and learned how to sew on the fly to make up for what we couldn't buy custom made. I've nursed my child back to health for months and seen her through a challenging surgery. I've seen myself through the challenges of surgery and am exactly where I promised myself I would be before turning 40 - as in, not the weight I started out last year weighing.
I am whole. I have what I need, and while I recognize the struggle I have with never being satisfied will never go away, I am more at peace today with what I'm blessed to be and have, than I ever would have been 20 years ago.
My nephew, who is in university and thinks he's found all the answers to life's questions, posted a letter to himself from the future on his facebook the other day. He talked a lot about uplifting himself, and reminded himself that he, just like Stuart Smalley, he ``is good enough, he is smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.`` I tried to take an opportunity to remind him that the letter one writes themselves at 40, sounds quite the same as he's written, but adds a lot more about humility and acceptance of the things we can not change and the lack of necessity there is in succeeding at everything. I know humility has been a bit of a theme for me lately in life, but it's really ringing true this week. He's 21 and has to argue about everything, because you know, he knows everything. But one day, maybe he'll remember it. Or maybe not. The beauty of turning 40 is that I no longer give a shit if he really heard me.
I've spent the better part of my life striving, fighting and clawing my way to achieve the things I've done. Nothing has come easy. Graduating high school, hard. Graduating University, hard. Getting work, frigging hard. Changing jobs has been impossible, so growing in place and developing my career and building a salary has been freaking monumental. Finding a husband, collossally difficult. Getting pregnant and becoming a mom, heart-breakingly painful, difficult, impossible and then miraculous. Being a parent, ridiculously challenging every single moment of the day. Moving, hard...growing up, Shyeah - Right.
"No one said life was fair. No one said life is easy." That's what they say. I've proven them right time and again. I've tried to learn my life lessons both through doing and living, but also by observing and watching others. It's served me well, and will continue to be the way I move forward in my life. BUT, it can be easier. I firmly believe that.
And at 40, I'm going to guess that the answer is 50% optimism and 50% apathy at the outcomes of what we're trying to achieve.
So I`m spending my 40th birthday with the person who should really be celebrating it. My mom. As a mom, I have come to learn that this day, my birthday, is less about me, than about what she gave up to have me...the monumental, overwhelming joy of bringing a life into this world is hers to cherish. It`s her day as much as it is mine, and since (aside from my husband) she is my best friend and confidante, we belong together on this day more than any other.