When I turned 27 was when I felt like a true adult. By that time in my life I already had 4 children, 6 years old and younger. But it was in that year that I felt like I could no longer make excuses for shit. I used to tell people when they asked my age that “I am old enough to know better and too young to care” well, at 27 I started caring. It was then that the weight of the world finally hit me. I realized that there was no stopping it, no turning back, and that no one was coming to my rescue. I was responsible and would be held accountable for my actions, and not only that but I also was responsible for the 4 children of mine that would some day become grown ups.
So, my focus shifted. My outlook changed, but the people around me did not. They were the same on August 24 as they were on my birthday, August 25th. There was also a lesson in that that I would not know until many years later. The lesson was that even though we all live, work, play, and interact with hundreds of people in our little bubble, each of us individually is but a blip in the whole scheme of things. No one is paying very much attention to any one else because everyone has their own little bubble that they are tending to. As important as I think I am, there are 6 billion people that think the same thing about themselves and the immediate people around them. This was a good lesson to learn.
I couldn’t wait to turn 30 when it came around. I always thought that 30 was when people would take me seriously. If I could just get to 30 years old I would be considered an adult. I think some of this thought process was because I carried some baggage about being and looking so young. I was THE youngest person to graduate from my high school class. I was a year behind in privileges of everyone around me. I started college at 17. Add to that a “baby face” and the fact that people thought I was the babysitter when I took my kids out. Yep, 30 couldn’t come soon enough.
My 30s were great. I mean if you take out the diagnosis of a mental illness, my life was pretty much perfect. I loved being a mother and a wife. My husband and I were very much deeply, blazingly hot in love (as we still are today). No one took me any more seriously than I took myself. Yeah, I learned that lesson in my thirties. It wasn’t up to anyone else how I felt about myself. I chose how and when I held myself accountable. I figured out that I decided what was right for my family and me. I learned that the only opinion that mattered was mine. The trouble with that is that I tend to be very critical of myself but that’s another lesson waiting to happen.
This year I turned 40. Yes the big 4-0. I had so many people asking me if I was “okay” with turning 40. Uh, yeah, I am. They keep telling me nothing would ever be the same (it’s a damn good thing!). My body would fall apart; my brain would start failing. So far, forty is FREEDOM and LIBERATION. A number on a calendar does not hold me down, puh-leeze! I accept that things change and it’s beyond my control. But things CHANGE and that is exciting to me.
I am 100% authentically me. I am aware of my impact on others, and can decide how much others will have an impact on me. I am capable of lifting others up and encouraging them through some of life’s challenges that I myself have faced. Yes, a lot did change when I turned 40, but every single bit of it was something that needed to change inside of me. I am working out the kinks, and have not yet reached my goals. The lesson on my plate currently, and has been for a couple of years, is that we are all connected. This may sound easy, simple, and cliché but I am learning how this philosophy plays out in reality, how it looks when practiced. I’ll keep you posted.