Last November I had a milestone birthday – I turned 40. This is so momentous it needs emphasizing with some emojis.
After almost a year of being 40, it is not at all like I thought it would be. When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, I thought 40 was old. Old with capital letters. OLD. I also thought 40 meant many other things as well. This is a navel-gazing blog post on what I thought being 40 would mean versus the reality for me.
I had thought that at the age of 40 I would have ‘arrived’. You know, have it all sorted. Be ‘there’. Whatever ‘there’ means. Confident. Assured. Successful.
And I am OK with that. If I had reached a destination it would feel at best a little dull and at worst, like a death sentence. Instead I am flailing through a messy life full of chaos and surprise. Things I could never have imagined: Donald Trump as President of the US, professional Pokémon hunters, the popularity of hash tags and selfies. Life is anything but boring.
Multi – What?
I also thought I would be on a career path, have a great job and working my way up the corporate ladder.
I have switched jobs and careers more than I care to admit. I haven’t found exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life and doubt I ever will. I discovered a name for this the other day: I am a ‘multipotentialite’ according to a wonderful TED talk from Emilie Wapnick. I don’t know if I have made all the right choices but at the moment I am having a blast writing books.
I imagined that my kids would be older, maybe even teenagers. After all, I was 16 when my mother turned 40.
Although my kids can be loud, frustrating and downright exhausting at times, I try not to wish away these years. Dylan has just started school. Eloise is in her own bed now. They are still so young but seem to be growing up in a blink of an eye. These times go by so, so fast.
I thought I would know a lot or at least feel like I have a basic knowledge about key things.
As time progresses I feel like I know less and less. Perhaps being 40 is accepting that you will learn the things that are really important and turn to others or the Internet if you really need the answers for the rest.
Here is a random list of just some of the things I know almost nothing about:
- what electricity is
- recognizing dog breeds by sight
- how TV works
- what RSS feeds are
- where all those hash tags that are the same end up – I am fairly sure they can connect somehow
Young at Heart
Being 40 does not mean being OLD in all caps. In fact, I feel quite young. Immature even. It may seem clichéd, but I feel like life is only just beginning. The first 40 years have laid a foundation and now I am finally getting to the good stuff.
In saying that, I do find myself doing ‘old people things’. I wrote a letter to the paper the other day. I have only ever used hash tags as an attempt at wit or irony, not ‘properly’. Like my late grandmother who never attempted to learn computers, I think Bitcoin has passed me by. Last week, I found myself agreeing with another 40-year-old friend who was complaining about millennials.
And I have absolutely no idea what any of the emojis are supposed to mean.