This is 40

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on This is 40

This is 40

I’m not sure exactly what I expected 40 to be like.  I suppose it would have mattered at what age you’d have asked me.  At 10, I pretty much hoped to be like my parents– married, kids, steady job, living in the suburbs.  By 20, I’d added in the hopes for travel and a PhD.  By 30, I’d set aside the PhD-of-Anthropology plans, and even my hopes for children weren’t going well.  My “steady job” wasn’t making me happy in the way I’d imagined a steady job would.  I guess I had hoped 40 would just have me doing things differently.

I had always thought of aging as a decline, a collection of losses.  But perhaps ironically, definitely unexpectedly, with each year that I age I feel an accumulation of gains.  I’m more active and engaged with life now than I was at 20.  I’ve shed a lot of what held me back in my 30s.  I’m less anxious and self-critical; less driven by expectations.  I’m more accepting of others and grateful for my lot.  I see life more easily for what it is as well–filled, by nature, with challenges and set-backs that I now know won’t kill me.  I’m not sure they make me stronger, but they definitely won’t kill me.  It’s a powerful thing to know in your bones.

A lot of people find themselves morose or melancholy as they leave their 30s behind.  But I’m happy to move on.  I know myself so much better, and I listen to and respect myself so much more.  I am beginning to recognize the importance of my own needs and am learning to give myself a voice (without hating the sound of it).  I feel lucky to have such amazing friends and family in my circle.  I’m so lucky to be healthy and capable.  I am grateful to have the support and means for my globetrotting addiction, to live in a world class city, and to have a venue to teach and share what I love with others.

Where 20 was defined by insecurity and 30 by disappointment, now is about knowing better and doing better.

Last night I squeezed out of our darkened room where the boys slept, carried my boots in my hands to keep quiet.  Slipping them over my bare feet, I stepped out of the muted hotel and onto the street.  I crossed the harbour road to the marina and walked in what felt like daylight.  Here, in Reykjavik, on the solstice at midnight, the clouds were lit up pink by the sun, and I wore a sweatshirt without feeling cold.  I stood at the end of the jetty and watched the sky light as I turned 40.

All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.