Written by Shelley Plett Tuesday, 10 January 2012 15:07
“Cause you don’t know what you don’t know….” —Taylor Swift
“Well, at least it’s not 40.” These are the words I remember telling myself 10 years ago, holding onto age 29, horrified to enter the next decade. It was the only comforting thought I had to console myself. Next month, I turn 40. Looks like the joke’s on me.
The worst thing about turning 40 is that at first mention, it does sound a little old. I mean, seriously…40? Forty! But once I deal with that self-deprecating thought, I get to the only real problem I can see. I can’t go back and change anything. And given the chance, I’m pretty sure I would. So I deal with that self-deprecating thought as well and then get to the good list.
This list is more fun and slightly more realistic. A win-win. I’m not 25 anymore and I’m OK with that. I enjoyed my 20s, although the first half is a blur. I had a lot of fun wasting a lot of time.
The second half brought me back to smaller-town living, navigating my first baby, and a new job. My 30s had its moments with baby No. 2 and a career flip-flop. The second half, a complete life rewrite. And so, here goes the 40s, and I welcome them with open arms and a sigh of relief.
These are a few things I knew in theory in my 20s: People will let you down. You have to make decisions, like it or not. Change can be good. Giving birth to one or more children is painful. Parents should raise their children in a controlled and orderly fashion.
In my 30s, I revisited all of these topics first-hand and these are my updated revelations, from practice, not theory: People will let you down and you’ll let them down, too. You have to make decisions—or not. Sometimes living in denial is easier, albeit temporary. Change can be bad, then good. And slow. Giving birth to one or more children is perfect and humbling. Parents should raise their children in a controlled and orderly fashion in public. In private, you survive with threats, yelling, bribery and improvisation.
Now for my 40s. I can’t say what I know yet, cause I don’t know what I don’t know. But I know this: I know who my friends are, I know that I have no time to be judged against anyone else, coming from myself or others. I know I’m a mess and I have a lot to learn.
On the flip side, I know I’m smarter than I was 10 years ago, or five, or one. And that makes me better than before.
Forty? Bring it on. At least it’s not 50.