(These are my random thoughts for this morning about being forty-and-a-half and the life lessons that have come from the past four decades of experience)
I’m forty-and- a- half. Remember as a child how many kids loved to add that half to their age. Somewhere around 21 after I had achieved all the “good” age milestones, is when I stopped counting down every month. Now I think Social Security and Medicare are the next things to look forward to. I thought to myself this morning, “Why not count the halves?” Why not be happy for every month I made it and who I am becoming? Many times it’s easy to focus on the messiness of becoming who you are, and not enjoy what you have become as a person. It’s took a lot to get here, many lessons to endure to come to the understandings that I have about the world. I have been in dark places in life when times were hard and options were not available to me. Other people who have been there too know what I mean.
I made it through those dark times with my soul and morals in tact. That says a lot about the Divine Intervention that takes place in my life time and time again. I am very fortunate that even in the most difficult and dangerous times in my life there was always a way through it. Some call it intuition, some Divine Intervention, many recognize it as a voice from inside that says, “Go here, stay home tonight, or this is the interview get up and make a good impression.” This is the internal guide that leads a person to the fateful moments of her life. So this has happened for me now, for forty- and -a- half years (maybe a little more) and I’m finally here.
It took me until forty to realize a lot of things about life. What to take seriously and what not to take seriously is one big lesson. I don’t take myself seriously, however I am now aware that I am capable of handling many of the serious things life throws my way. We are who we are, not what people think we are –good or bad. I know who I am now, and really that’s all that matters. That alone gives me peace. I am not the events that happened to me. I am the person who did the best she could during those times. I will not be swayed to become that which others say I should be to satisfy the false hope of having more power over my life, or love and approval, or anything else. I’ve tried that. You know what happened? Everyone around me was happy with me…and I wanted to die. I was so miserable, so depressed, I felt so empty and lost, because I was being what everyone else wanted, but I wasn’t being me. I didn’t even entertain the notion of who “me” might be until my late twenties to early thirties. At forty though, I am much more certain. You know why? Because I found out over the past few decades what I am not. I when through the “what I am not” quest, first-hand, not just theory. That’s how I know who I am now. I am still learning though, it is a constant process. I’m making progress everyday.
So many people don’t have the luxury of this discovery. The discovery of who they really are. What they would do if no one was telling them what to do. They feel like they have to know everything right away and not make mistakes. That they must jump on a career path, go with previously determined beliefs and stay with them. People feel that they must fit to a pre-packaged life. In some ways, I wish I could be that way. It might be an easier way to live. But my soul doesn’t work like that. I don’t do well in captivity. I must explore different life options the way others wear a new shirt or cut their hair in a different way. I like to live in different ways, experience different things. I believe this is part of my writer’s mind. I crave unique experiences. I crave the frontier of humanity. I want to see what’s out there. That can get a person in trouble sometimes. It is not a life that I can worry about the judgment of others, because to me, the experience is more important.
And so here I am at forty, I finally like who I am because I am more authentic. That’s not to say that I don’t have moments of thinking I’m lost or being uncertain about where life will take me. I think everyone who lives mindfully aware of her experience, is going to question herself as well as the world around her. However I have a better sense now of what I don’t want, what I don’t like. I know what makes me happy and what challenges I find fulfilling to tackle. Not everyone gets there at young age, I am a late bloomer and I’m okay with that. I am finally forty. I finally can breathe and be okay with whatever comes my way.