…oopsy - everytime I think of 40, I think of U2. But that's not what this post is about!
If I could sum up my 40th year in one word, it would be: wow. I never, in a million years, would have guessed it would turn out like this.
It's been one heck of a ride up until now. Partly, I'm referring to the past 40 years, but mostly, I'm referring to the last year. It has definitely been an emotional, soul-searching year for me.
Physically, I'm feeling fabulous. I made a decision a little over a year ago that it was time for me to stop living in the shadow of post-pregnancy and motherhood and start getting myself back to the physical health that I was craving. It's taken a year, but I'm finally seeing fragments of my former self. I even mustered up the courage to sport a bikini again on our recent trip to Florida.
I'm also enjoying physical activity again and have made efforts to watch what and how much I eat. As a result, I am enjoying food again, too. I am feeling healthy, energetic and quelque joie de vivre. It's been good.
Spiritually, I don't think I have changed all that much. Though I have had many occasions to contemplate spirituality this past year, I don't think my spiritual beliefs have been affected. Having said that, my current belief may be that I'm unsure about my spirituality. But I'm as unsure now as I have been anytime in the past, so that's okay by me!
The biggest change I've seen in my spirituality is that death has caused me to contemplate mortality many times this past year. However, the pangs that I have suffered from this contemplation has manifested itself more emotionally than spiritually.
So, I guess I could say I have struggled the most emotionally this past year leading up to my 40th birthday. If I can sum up my emotional turmoil in one paragraph, it would be this:
I have a pretty fucking fabulous life. I have 2 wonderful children whom I absolutely adore. Josh and Aves bring constant joy and love to my life daily. I have a husband who is second to none. Bri loves me and supports me in every way. Sure, our family has it's ups and downs. Our kids are 2 1/2 and 5. It's a crazy, insane time in our lives. But I think as far as family units go, I'm pretty damn lucky to have this one. We are great together. So. How can it possibly be that I am so selfish and ungrateful that I could even contemplate not being happy in my life?!
There. I said it. I have spent the months leading up to my 40th birthday struggling with whether I am happy in this life I have carved for myself. It's an honesty that I've had much trouble admitting to myself, much less blogging about it. But I guess nothing is true until you read it on Facebook, right?!
People I have shared this with have thrown out the term 'mid-life crisis' at me. I don't necessarily disagree with them. I've often wondered if I went out and bought a fast, brightly-coloured car, whether I'd feel happier. Haha.
Joking aside, this is the reality for me as I turn 40. I am constantly questioning every decision I make and whether it leads to happiness. I have had many personal and professional ups and downs this year because of it. I swear people think I'm crazy. Sometimes I feel like I am indeed going crazy.
An old friend of mine paraphrased from a book he read - the author said, like me, she had questioned whether she was living the "right" life. What she discovered was that when she finally stopped questioning whether it was the "right" life and just accepted that this was her life and that she should just live it because it was the life she was meant to have, only then did things fall into place. I get it, but it is a difficult concept to put to practice. How do I stay true to myself and those around me if I don't question things? Being true to oneself can be a difficult and painful process.
So, in these days and weeks surrounding my 40th birthday, I am still working to find that balance that keeps me and those around me sane. The concept of "me time" has eluded me up to now and I'm working on "me time" that rejuvenates my soul. Our Vegas trip was a perfect example of quality "me time". Now I have to work that into my day to day life in a meaningful way.
I am still learning to listening to my gut instead of questioning everything. Which can be good and bad. Lately, I can safely assume there has been more bad than good, but I'm hoping in my heart that this can be the start of something better.
It's ironic that the turbulence I've felt this past year can best be summed up by a quote that I read on a friend's blog after a recent passing. The quote is from the brilliant Steve Jobs. Read it. And then read it again:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
Yes, it's been THAT kind of year. 40. Wow.