“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
I just celebrated my 39th birthday last week. I’ve been pondering who I want to be in this last year of my 30s as I face moving into the next decade of my life. What I realized recently is that not only am I excited to turn 40, I’m grateful for the last decade to have learned the lessons to bring me to who I am today.
One year left in my 30s and society may tell me that I should be married, own a home, have kids, or have a successful career. I should strive to “have it all” with also being physically fit, maybe running marathons, or climbing mountains.
To be honest, I had these thoughts and strived for most of these things in the past. I pursued relationships that were unhealthy just to see if I could get the right “box” checked, I tried to be someone who wanted kids or someone who should be running marathons. But that’s tiring, trying to be someone else when I’m just me. It’s better to just be me.
The Journey leads to many paths
I could look at the last 10 years of my life and see the changes, compare myself to others, or compare to my past. None of it matters. It doesn’t matter what “society,” says, because if I worked to please “society” I wouldn’t be where I am today, and may even feel inadequate.
What’s great about my journey is that I’ve done a lot of work to walk into my 40s being the person I’ve always envisioned, even if I didn’t know what that looked like for a long time and that person I strive to keeps changing.
10 years ago, at 29, I finally was working in journalism full time, after years of freelance, I was writing and making photographs, working with an editor, and doing the work I’d dreamed of doing since I was in college. I had taken control of my life and lost about 50 pounds, was getting fit, and had a budding career as a photojournalist in my future.
Little did I know that a few years later, I’d be fired from my job at a daily newspaper, and leave journalism all together. The point is, I had a “rebirth” of who I was (an overweight waitress in my 20s) and who I became (a fit photojournalist in my 30s) and identified myself as this new person, even before I was actually successful.
Flash forward to the present; I’m working in sales full time and have a good salary making double what I did as a journalist. I’ve paid off all debts, $46K to be exact, have a savings account, and health insurance (something I didn’t have for 13 years).
I’m looking for an apartment to create a new space to step into my newly-found singleness and adulthood with the responsibility of paying rent on my own. (I’ve been living with roommates or family for the last decade)
As for my health, I’m mentally and physically fit. I’m off birth control and antidepressants. I quit smoking and I’ve developed a habit of eating healthier. I’ve spent the past three years focused on putting my needs above anything else. I’m no longer working to “please” others, whatever that means. I’m letting go of all of the past and stepping into my future with open-minded awareness and calm.
I’m tired of playing games with my life. I want to live an amazing life full of surprises, challenges, and success in my business and personal life. I want to challenge myself to be better, do better, and become more.
Gone are the days of giving up on my dreams, or not believing things are possible. As I step into the next best 40 (hopefully) years, I’m smarter, wiser, stronger, and believe that I can do what I set my mind to do, and most importantly, I deserve the most awesome life possible, and it would be a shame if I gave up on that and left this world without trying my best to step into the world as that person.
”Metamorphosis has always been the greatest symbol of change for poets and artists. Imagine that you could be a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next.” – Louie Schwartzberg
Changes and Taking Action!
I’m stepping into my discomfort zone in the next 12 months and challenging myself more than I’ve ever done. I’m going to be pushing my understanding of self-limiting beliefs about what I’m capable of mentally, physically, and emotionally. As I see it, this year is going to be the hardest and the most rewarding. In a year, I hope to have been successful, but even if I don’t achieve all the goals I’ve set, I know I’ve tried. That’s the biggest difference in my life now, I try. Beyond that, I set high standards for myself and work to raise my own bar. I’m no longer satisfied with “good enough” because I know I can do better.
Here’s my most recent BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) I’m building physical strength to do things I once thought impossible. I’m taking a two-day intensive kayaking class AND training to be a white water rafting guide. This is going to be a HUGE adventure and challenge for me this summer and I’ve got goals for my body that I’ve never set before.
I’ve also just launched my new website focused on travel writing and I’ll be working to develop a new business focused on sharing calming destinations in Pennsylvania and beyond. Check it out and give me any suggestions, feedback or thoughts.
I’ll see you on the other side of the discomfort zone!
Books I’m Reading