It’s been almost 3 months since I turned 40. Yup, the big 4-0. Over the hill. Geezer. My bones creak. I fall asleep watching TV. I am getting older and it apparently shows. The other day I bought beer for my beer braised sausage and kraut, and the checkout clerk didn’t card me. He just slid that beer across the scanner and bagged it with my other groceries. I was so insulted. Sure, sure, I’m way past the legal age to buy alcohol but come on!!! I normally get carded and really, really wanted the ego boost. While I didn’t expect him to actually think I was under 21, because anyone with good eyesight can see that I am not that young, but it would have been nice if he had at least hesitated and apologetically asked to see my license.
After his failure to recognize my youthful vitality, I went home and pouted about it. Complained about it to my parents who so gently reminded me of all those times they told me that some day I would be glad everyone thought I was younger than I really am.
Yeah, yeah. You were right. And just another sign I’m getting older. Everything my parents told me is coming true.
Truthfully, though, that wasn’t what really annoyed me. Sure, it would have been extremely flattering had he carded me because again — I’m 19 years above the legal drinking age. 🙂 But what’s really creating my angst isn’t whether I look 40, but more about the state of my life at 40. It’s not where I want it to be.
The Little Girl Vision of Adulthood
I remember playing with Barbie dolls as a child and dreaming about being “big”. Man, life would be so awesome! Nobody to tell you want to do. You could stay up as late as you wanted. Eat whatever you wanted. Do whatever you wanted. Grown-ups had it made. I’d get married, have a nice house, a good job and a great cat (kids were never on my list but cats always were!). This was my American Dream or version of Happily Ever After.
Fast forward too many years for me to count and I have the great cat. Maybe the good job because I like what I do but need to do more of it. 🙂 And I wonder – is this it? Is this my life? Because to be honest, I expected to feel more fulfilled.
Life is a Journey
One thing I’ve realized in my 40 years is that few things in life are ever really done. Life is always changing and evolving. I still want to get married, but I don’t regret waiting to find the right person versus settling. I’ve had friends settle for various reasons and it hasn’t worked out well for them.
I’m still trying to figure out what my purpose is, when I thought I’d know by now. This is what bothers me the most. We define ourselves so much by what we do or our purpose. I feel a bit adrift. There are certainly areas that interest me and that I excel in doing. And yet, I long for that neon arrow to point me in the right direction. The path that leads to success, fulfillment and joy. Where I fit and belong with absolute certainty.
Can You Hear Me Knocking?
By the time I reached 40, young Tanya was confident that I would have found my place. Carved out my spot and proudly claimed it. But I’m not sure I have. My friend, Mackenzie, wrote a fabulous post, If It Doesn’t Open, It’s Not Your Door and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Have I truly been knocking on doors or only going through the motions? Or am I knocking on the wrong doors? Or both?
The answer: I don’t know. It’s probably a bit of both. I’ve been knocking but not loudly and with confidence. And it’s also possible that I’m knocking on the wrong door or the right door with the wrong message. Last week, I started putting together plans for the remainder of 2015 and what I want to accomplish in 2016. It’s given me a greater sense of purpose and clarity. It’s also helped me find where I feel energized and where I don’t, which are signals I need to pay attention to as well, because I’m going to start knocking on doors and expecting answers.
Tanya: In Progress
Young Tanya thought there would be a time (or age) when she was finished. Complete. Old (or oldish or young at heart) Tanya knows better. We are always in progress and that is okay. It can even be exhilarating, if you let yourself go and see where life takes you.