Today is my 40th birthday.
40. Here I am. Down here. Up here.
An old friend of mine once said that we all live with a “little me” inside of us.
Here me out.
That “little me” is like a black hole, which nothing can fill. Ever. No person, no addiction, not shopping, not alcohol, not drugs, and definitely not other people. If you’re interested more in this “little me” insight, check out Jeff’s amazing website: http://www.jengalife.com/
The “little me”? It’s just this empty little thing living inside of us. Loneliness? Maybe. A strong desire to be understood? Maybe. Our soul? Maybe. I don’t know what it is. It’s ineffable.
Nonetheless, it is a little part of ourselves.
The only thing that helps assuage it, is to acknowledge it. Once you realize it’s part of you, of me, of all of us, of being human, it’s okay. It’s there. So we learn to live with it.
Somedays it’s little. Some days it gets bigger.
For the first time in my life, this big 40th birthday has really fluctuated the size of mine.
Some days I was super excited about turning 40! A second marriage to my best friend coming up in my 40’s! He thinks of me, dotes on me–all of the time–in every decision he makes. And he considers not only me but also my children. He makes me laugh heartily and frequently. He’s someone I really look forward to being around–he creates a soft place to land–and with whom I see a warm future. Thanks, Matt. XO
And look at all I’ve done! I’m not bragging: I’ve worked my ass off for this stuff. I have a blog! I’ve been published! I have a side gig at a magazine in NYC! I have a growing IG account! I have two legit (thanks, Kate Lawrence Baker and Kathy Reason) talent agents: The i Group and Productions Plus! And I’ve already had two auditions.
Things are looking up!
But then other days, I’m like…shit. Is my life really half over? And things are looking down.
But that black hole feeds on this. And it grows that little me into a bigger part of me.
It’s then that I begin to feel stuck.
Maybe that’s why they call it mid-life. Like middle child syndrome: you can’t change your life too much in your 40’s. And you realize it.
I’d like to take on some of these side gigs as new careers…but with my teaching career, I have benefits, vacation time, a pension, a retirement fund…and most importantly my students, with whom I hopefully make a positive impact on for not only their futures, but the world’s as well. I’m not being hyperbolic: I see what they can do.
And they always make me feel better. An emotional bonus to my job that feels better than any other kind of monetary bonus I could receive in another profession.
So when the black hole begins to grow, I think of all I have. Do I still feel stuck? Sure. I’d love to move to Hawaii to be with Amy and Harper. (Hey, a girl can dream.)
But then there’s the financial and psychological aspect of moving. And more importantly, my kids have roots here: their home(s), their dad, their schools, their friends, their routines, their landmarks. Matt and his kids are here. My brother and his family are here. My life is here.
I am here.
My sister is not.
And after visiting her and my niece–well, perhaps that’s the impetus for this blog. How beautiful life is there in Oahu and with Amy. What a different culture. What a different lifestyle. Slower. Happier. Sunnier. Warmer in more ways than one.
And now that I’m back home, away from Amy…black is back, a bit.
So I wrestle with this restlessness.
And I’ve come to realize this is why people have a “mid-life” crisis. Because our wants and desires cannot come before the needs and wants of those we love the most–our kids.
This is why I can’t move my kids to another state. This is why Matt and I have decided not to move our kids in together, even after we are married.
To give in to my whimsical and wistful desires at the expense of our children’s well-being? Thanks, but no thanks. To each his (or, ahem, her) own.
So I shelve things. We all do. We’ll save them for later. Maybe when we’re empty nesters or shining in our golden years we’ll get to them. It gives us something to look forward to.
My mom used to say we should spread out our fun, anyway.
In the meantime? I’m having fun with my new side gigs. And Matt has us thinking about our wedding and looking for a place in Florida to share our time at times.
And with fun, and goals and dreams, I feel gratitude for the place in which I sometimes think of as “stuck”: a new marriage, a steady and fulfilling career, a consistent paycheck, the health and happiness of the kids, my cozy home–which, thankfully, I need not, abandon. So many good things.
Not “stuck”, but rather “attached“.
And no matter what age we are, we always need to find the fun.
And sometimes it’s hard to find. You really need to seek it out. So find the thing that’s looking at you as hard as you’re looking at it.
It doesn’t fill that black hole, but it sure does shrink it back into its rightful place…teeny, tiny, little, shitty speck it is. Down, boy.
Cuz I’m up.
And at 40, I’m not done yet.
And neither are you.
Because today, and every day, is our sun day. Time to shine.