Being the overly introspective type, nonetheless, this landmark birthday does give me pause. What does it mean to turn 40? What does it mean to move into this new decade? I didn’t want to let this one go by without a good ponder. And my dear friend Tina feels like I am some sort of trailblazer as I am a year older than her to the week, and one year older as a momma. She called me last night to remind me that I had not yet shared my musings. I was so honored that she even wanted to hear them that I am trying to oblige her now.
I asked a few of my personal trailblazers: how was or is the 40th decade? And what was your favorite decade? I received the expected mix of answers, but almost all of them asserted that the 40s are a good decade, a year of coming into to your power as a woman, especially. I like that. By 40, you finally feel confident enough of yourself to be yourself. And to like yourself. And to know what you need and when you need it and then go and get it. I like all of this. I can see why it would be true.
I am a little sorry to leave my 30s behind though. The first 5 years of 30 were pretty good. I had an extremely fulfilling run as “Urban Artistic Single Woman” who was all hip and had all kinds of adventures and had freedom and a large community of friends and activities.. I miss my very sweet apartment, the 3rd floor of a triple decker in Somerville, filled with sunshine and my artwork and my cat and my books. My time was my own – a concept I suppose you never appreciate until it’s gone. Then I met Mr. Right and oh my goodness, it has been a whirlwind ever since. I won’t bother tracking all the changes (most of which have been tracked in this blog), but let’s just say I’ve gone from “Urban Artistic Single Woman” to “Suburban Exhausted Working Mom Who Can Barely See Straight.” In some ways, all my childhood dreams have come true. And in some ways, the transition has been one of the two toughest times of my life. My world is definitely much smaller and much more chaotic. I also think becoming a new mom later in life has its advantages (maturity, gratitude, stability, lots of friends with help and advice) and some disadvantages (less stamina is a big one). So my age does have an impact on my parenting.
I’ve always envisioned my 45 year old self as this wise person who looks back in time at me and smiles, both a little ruefully at all the flailing about I do, but also with encouragement. That it will turn out OK, that I’m doing fine, that it will be fine in 10 years … now 5 years. She looks calm and has found the place where I need to be. So now I’m that much closer to finding her, even if I feel like I’m a bit frayed around the edges these days. So yes, 40 is just fine with me.