Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Big Four Oh !

Sigh . . . it is getting close. . . the next decade.

If you asked me how I was feeling about turning 40 I would honestly say, "Fine. I really feel like a 25 year old." It is true. I was talking to someone in their twenties a couple of weeks ago and I made the mistake of saying we were in the same generation. He quickly reminded me we weren't. On the surface I really do feel young at heart. 

But I can't lie. I am definitely struggling in many aspects of life and I wonder if it has something to do with entering this new stage. It is so cliché to mention the (ahem) midlife crisis...I thought those were only for men dying their gray and driving red sports cars.

When I was in my twenties I was a college graduate who was focusing on my career as a teacher. I had two young children and struggled to balance life. Our marriage was a work in progress as he commuted and worked long hours working his way up the ladder and trying to provide for us. My domestic urges tugged at my heart strings.

In my thirties I decided to focus my energy on being a mom rather than a teacher. Although there was a major pay cut which led to stress, we both knew it was the right decision. I felt satisfaction serving my children, maintaining my home (a passion of mine) and taking time for myself with exercise and social functions. I spent a lot of time volunteering at school, working part time teaching and volunteering in church services. 

That leads me to this point. It appears that I lead this amazingly adventurous life. It is true and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given. However, somewhere over time my dreams have been achieved and I forgot to make new ones. My dreams were short sighted as they consisted of cute little kids and a happy marriage. I really didn't look beyond that. Well, those cute kiddos are grown now. I am in a country where volunteering at school is slim to none due to distance and my passion of homemaking is very limited as well. I still volunteer at church and have a fairly active social life. When I sit back to analyze hobbies and interests I quickly realize it has been so long that I'd invested time in those I don't even know what they are anymore.

I know I am not alone in this. As a matter of fact, I am sure this is quite common. I used to be an independent, strong, confident woman who knew exactly who she wanted to be. Now I am a dependent, indecisive, insecure woman who tags along with everyone else's dreams. I hope younger women can learn from me and prevent this from happening, if there is a way.

Being a mother is the most rewarding job in the world! The giggles, adorable sayings, and sweet hugs fueled me through the sleepless nights and tantrums. As they grow the rewards are different. The affection is few and far between and the relationships become more complex. All of a sudden our "payments" aren't as much or as frequent. 

This takes a toll on me. I have always been one that needs recognition and appreciation. While being a mother is rewarding, it is also thankless. By nature, moms look for ways to make the lives of our loved ones easier and happier. We don't always get it back in return. We are supposed to be okay with that. If we ask for too much society labels us as difficult or high maintenance

I don't know what this next decade has in store. After all, I never expected to be living in China !  That proves that anything can happen. It is up to me to make sure that I continue to be grateful for all the positive in my life. It is up to me to make sure I combat negative feelings and find joy in the journey. It is up to me to find my own dreams and follow them. 

Click here to read what made me smile about turning 40!


Leslie said...

I think it is all in the attitude. You don't want to be in a funk at want to be FABULOUS at 40! Which I think you are. Look for the good in everything, even when life is chaotic. I love you.

tammy said...

Seriously, the 4-0 is nothin' but a number. I've learned so much about myself and now I can speak my mind without worry of reprecussion because....I am the elder person everywhere I go. I agree with Leslie...40 is oh so Fabulous! Be who you want be. I still feel like I am in my 20's but I have the experience that keeps me head and shoulders above the rest. Love to your whole sweet family!!!