Is 40 harder than 30???? It might be like comparing apples and oranges.
Today is my 40th birthday and I’m trying to wrap my head around how I feel about it. I should begin by tell you that I cried the day I turned 17 and probably every birthday after that, until my early 30s. The reason? It’s never been about getting “old”, more about growing up. I would have stayed 16 for ever! Drivers license, fake ID! 16 is old enough to be independent and work part time but not so grown up that anyone expects too much.
30 was devastating. When I was growing up I imagined 30 to be this magical age where suddenly I would know all the answers, I’d have a beautiful home, great career and I would know if I did or didn’t want kids. As the years passed all my friends were confidently having kids, had careers and beautiful homes. I felt like I was becoming more and more confused. When 30 creeped in I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up and the pressure I put on my self to decide about kids was almost unbearable. There are not many women in my age group or older that have taken this path. I didn’t feel like there was many trail blazer of childfree living. I’m sure there were, just not celebrated ones. To make matters worse, I felt more and more distant from the friends I’d had for 20 years. Feeling like I had nothing in common. No child delivery stories, no breastfeeding tips, no child rearing advice…..on top of all that, my struggles with anxiety and depression seemed to be peaking. Life seemed a little out of my control.
At some point in my early 30s, I came to the realization that there was no 30 year deadline on having kids or a career. Once I took that pressure of myself, it all seem to work itself out. I fell into a wonderful groove.
Here I am a decade later, enjoying childfree living. I think I even have a career! My 30s were really difficult at times but pretty incredible as well. There is definitely a confidence that comes with this decade. At least there has been for me.
Up until a few days ago, I thought 40 would come and go, no probs! I think the panic started to sink in about a week ago. This time, it’s not about growing up. Lets face it, I’m full on adulting! The fear I have is missing out. 40 has always seemed so far away. How did I get hear??? Why do I still feel like a teenager inside but have all these responsibilities…..
My father passed away fairly young and today I feel extra sad about all the things that he missed. Weddings, grandchildren, celebrations, travel and all the simple day to day things that make life so wonderful.
A lot of my anxiety revolves around illness/death. I don’t worry that every cold is cancer. I prefer to be more of a dooms dayer. I worry that I have an illness and don’t even know because I feel fine. I’ll find out only when I have 1 week left to live.
40 makes me suddenly feel like I’ve got some many things I want to see and do. What if I don’t make it? What if I don’t have time? Mr.O tried to reassure me that we have time. I told him that I feel bad for him cause he’s gonna feel like shit when I do get sick and have to say I told you so on my death bed.
Logical me: you’re tired, take some Wellbutrin, eat some vegetables, get a good night sleep and tomorrow will be better
Crazy me: quit your job, sell the house, and hit the road
Logical me: what about your mom, sister and nieces and nephews?
Crazy me: what if they die when your travelling? You can’t go anywhere, you’d hate yourself if you weren’t here for them
Third voice in my head: Can you really tell which voice is crazy and which is logic. Maybe your wrong……?
Lately, some form of this conversation happens daily. Is this just a normal mid life crisis? Do normal people worry so much about being normal?
At the end of the day, what choice do I have but to keep plugin along. Promise myself I will travel, make a point of doing more, feel less overwhelmed about trying new things.
Oh my, I can imagine how 50s gonna feel.