(Blogger has decided to hold my blog hostage and is not allowing me access to any of my content. Therefore, I have made the move to WordPress. I will try to add older posts on here as time allows. Thank you for your patience!!)
Today is my birthday. And it’s not just any birthday. It’s a big one. Today I am 40 years old. Forty. “The Big Four-Oh.” “Lordy, lordy, look who’s forty!” And all that other nonsense.
I’ve never been a big birthday person, but I have had a few memorable ones. Like the requisite bocadito parties as a kid. I distinctly remember a “Donny & Marie” party sometime in the seventies, including tambourine and microphone set, and Donny and Marie dolls in matching white and purple outfits. I think there was even a Charlie’s Angels party once (that one might just be a figment of my imagination, though). As an adult, there was the “yay, I’m divorced!” 28th birthday. And I vaguely recall dancing and flirting with a cute ex-Marine at a South Beach nightclub at my 32nd birthday celebration. Oh, and my friend drove all the way down from Orlando to surprise me for that one (that was fun).
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. So I’m 40 today. And what that means? Well, I’m not really sure. Yes, I’ve read all the women’s magazines that proclaim ‘40 is the New 30!’ on their glossy covers in bright pink, 32-pt Helvetica. And of course, there are scads of gorgeous 40-something celebrities pasted all over the checkout stand gossip rags and prancing about on every other program on the E! channel. Yeah, okay. “40 good.” Got it. Now get the hell away from me.
See, here’s the thing. I never imagined forty would be like this, here, where I am. Did I imagine what it would be like? Well, no. Not really. But I’m sure if I did, it wouldn’t be this.
I’ve said before that I’ve never been one of those girls that grew up daydreaming of meeting the perfect man at 18, married by 21, 2.2 kids by 25, plus house, dog, minivan, etc… But just because I didn’t actively think about it doesn’t mean that I didn’t think it’s where I would end up. I mean, isn’t that a given? It’s normal, right? To have all that? But, instead, here I am: forty, divorced, childless, living in a rental, in debt, with a dead-end job (to clarify, I like my job, but it is “dead end” in that there is no room for advancement).
But I have Fanless and I am crazy in love with him and adore him with all my heart and soul. He is the most wonderful thing in my life and I am grateful every day that he is with me. He makes me laugh. A lot.
And I have my friends and family. I love them. They are great and beautiful people. I don’t see them as much as I would like, but they are always in my thoughts and my heart.
Most importantly, I have a job that pays the bills and keeps a roof over my head, and an employer that makes me feel valuable and appreciated. Thank goodness for that, and knock on wood, with the current state of the economy.
You see, it’s not necessarily that I feel like I have to be married and have kids and buy a house and be a CEO. But I feel like I should want and have all those things. Like it’s what’s expected of me. Like I’m a complete oddball, a social outcast, for NOT having those things. Somehow I can’t help but feel like I’ve majorly screwed up. Like I lost the map a long time ago, and turned left when I should have gone right. Why didn’t I meet the perfect guy at 18, and get married at 21? Why didn’t I have the 2.2 kids? Why didn’t I stick with school and get a degree and pursue a real career? Why didn’t I just budget myself better and get rid of that debt years ago? Why not? Did I consciously choose this road, this life? Or did I just let it “happen” to me? Did I just wait to see where the chips would fall? Or did I pick up the chips and set them down, right there in that spot?? I think it was a little of both. But, yeah, there was definitely more that I could have done. I’m not stupid. I know that. I could have tried harder in school. I could have not married a total asshole out of desperation. I could have not applied for that new credit card.
There are lessons that I have learned over the past four decades. There are things I would do differently. There are things I would avoid altogether. And there are things that I would still live through. But at this stage in life, this age, this “phase,” I find myself questioning a lot of decisions and choices, turning them round and round in my head, wondering if things would have been different, if I would have been different.
The bottom line is that I will never really know, will I? There is no crystal ball, no psychic vision. I can only know what I know. And I have to be okay with what I know. I have to be okay with who I am. I have to be okay with where I am. I don’t think that is necessarily going to happen today. But I’m hoping that I will be able to cut myself some slack. Eventually.
Check back with me at 41.