OMG: How did I become 40?

0656I’m about to turn 40. It is something on the calendar that I’ve been dreading for the past few months – past year, really. I think it’s harder for women than for men, and it’s been hard for me, harder than I thought. When I was a little girl, I couldn’t imagine being 40. I had this image in my head – as many girls do – of having this beautiful wedding, living in a nice house, and having two or three children. I often wonder what’s wrong with me, why didn’t this dream of getting married, having children, and having a nice house ever come true for me? Instead, I’ve been getting by, paying my way, sometimes scraping my way, into what I have. I know for sure that my path is different than my Mom’s or my Grandmas’, that I have opportunities they didn’t have, and I’ve taken advantage of choices and paths that have come up – taking me to destinations that have shaped me into who I am.

I never apologize for anything I’ve done. Never. Everything, every experience, every person I’ve met, have all shaped me into who I am now. I am strong, resilient (there’s that word, Dad), emotional, caring, intelligent, curious, and aware. Alert.

I’ve had my heart broken not just once but several times in the worst ways possible. I miss being in a relationship, and I keep positive, hopeful that the next date will turn into something new and great, or that the next smile at the grocery store will be magical. But love can’t be rushed. Online dating isn’t the same thing as shopping for shoes – and online dating is growing, this is something new that wasn’t around 20 years ago. I worry sometimes that I’ll be an “old maid” at 50, 60, 70, 80 – still unmarried, no kids. … And then I breathe, and let those panic thoughts go away. This isn’t 1890s Victorian society. I’m not sitting in the corner dressed in a high collar for afternoon tea, while the family negotiates on “Auntie’s” behalf.

It IS strange to me that my Grandma was just a few years older than me when she became a grandmother (42). Or that my mother was younger than me at my high school graduation (38) with four kids, and an 18-year-old daughter about to go to college.

So, I went to college, and was focused on school and journalism … and having fun … and living in San Francisco, spending time in the Haight and North Beach. Fast-forward 22 years later … and I’m in Oakland now, loving my work, and still occasionally hanging out in North Beach with my friends.

I’ve had to change careers, leaving journalism, and put myself through graduate school during the Recession. I’ve met incredible people through my second career of nonprofit work, and even more resilient clients with amazing stories that beat our own. It makes me smile to make others smile at work, to playfully flirt with a senior client, or say “thank you” to a volunteer. My work is important to me – as I spend more than 40 hours a week, plus commuting. ~

And my health is pretty good right now. That’s important to me. I eat well, go to the gym, walk a lot, yoga, and meditate. Drink a lot of water.

Above all else:

I am blessed to have the family that I have – and I love my family ~. We all got together on Saturday to celebrate this 4-0 number, and help me ease into the transition. Thank you, my lovely family, and everyone as I become OMG 40!!!

 

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Author: cliasca

I live in Oakland, and write about my life.

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