Turning 45

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My birthday is coming up in three weeks. It’s the big 4-5. As we continue to settle into our new life in Montreal, I’ve been taking care of the administrative side of life lately. I feel like things are progressing in a positive manner. While there have been moments since August when I’ve felt overwhelmed, I’ve been relative steady which has me re-evaluating my forties.

Taking Inventory

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I’m not thrilled with my soon-to-be age. Mid-forties. Middle aged. How did that happen? And yet, I’m the best version of me that I’ve ever been. I started to realize how much I’ve grown in my fifth decade. Growth that I had sought out for years but couldn’t attain because I didn’t know how or wasn’t ready for.

I got lucky in 2014. I had an epiphany. I realized that while I could own a home, drive a car, hold a job, have a child and basically present an adult to the world, there was a part of me which was stuck. I ached to be the woman I knew I could be. I hadn’t noticed until then that parts of me were stuck in childhood. I needed to work on those parts so they could grow up and join the rest of me.

Some of the things that plagued me might be familiar to you:

  • Fear of public speaking
  • Being overly sensitive and reacting in extremes like anger or tears
  • Being selfish, cold, stubborn, and unable to empathize
  • Low self-esteem which led to a lot of self-shaming, self-loathing, self-doubt
  • Huge FOMO (fear of missing out) so bad I would avoid sleep

Those are the subject lines. Under those, I could list example after example. When I looked at myself from the outside, I saw a winner. I had a family, friends I could count on, enough money to live and travel, and two careers. As a person, I was smart, funny and capable. Notice the mask. No coincidence that I called my first published story Masks. The face we present to the world is sometimes so different from the truth we live.

From the inside, I was a total mess. I carried so much fear and anger. It had gotten to the point where I felt like those were my two main emotions. This is where I was at age 40 in 2014. I hated it. It was no way to live. How many more years could I keep hardening? I already felt so brittle and ready to break. I had to make some changes and decided to seek out some help.

Journey Vs Destination

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I joined a self-help group. I talked to my doctor. I started therapy. I read books. I spoke to the people around me. Early on, I finally clued in that one of my main beliefs about life was completely wrong. I would never arrive because life is not about getting to the destination. Life is about the journey and how we live it. Up to that point, I had lived it in confinement. I had to release myself from that stifling environment and recognize that I was free. Whether slow or fast, constant growth and development were of the highest importance.

It wasn’t easy facing my fears. After all, they are there for a reason. I had so much proof that they were valid that it was hard to find proof that letting go of them would give me a better life. And who would I be without all the fears and defects? I would be the woman I wanted to be. That was scary too. What if that woman turned out to be someone I didn’t want to be? What if I’d spent my time wishing for the wrong thing?

I wasn’t alone on my journey. I’ve met so many people with the same fears and questions and with different fears and questions, but we were all changing because we had hope.

I still work on myself every day. It’s easier now. I’ve let go of so much baggage that I can more easily unpack an old suitcase because I have the room if you will. I now have the capacity to handle more and change more and even accept what I can’t change. I guess I’ve been building resilience. So my forties have been great. I’ve worked on myself so much and yet, I am so much more energetic than when I stood rooted in my mire of fear and anger.

What have been some of your best years? What made them so good? I love to hear from you. Leave a comment.

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Author: Patricia Caviglia

Fiction writer

2 thoughts on “Turning 45”

  1. I love how you capture the intricate emotional dance of this important decade filled with self revelations if we take the time to stop and examine our life! In all the different roles we try to juggle perfectly as women in our forties- mothers, wives, professionals, daughters, sisters, friends- it’s often to the detriment of “ourself” and the hopes and dreams we carry deep within us. It’s never too late to change the currents and rediscover ourselves, and the fourties are surely a good time to take the helm back! Happy 45th birthday to you my fierce friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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