"I'm beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
When I entered my thirties I was so excited. That was the decade of life when everything was going to come together. All the uncertainty and instability of my twenties would be left in the dust while I crossed the threshold into a more confident and assured stage of life. The perfect combination had been struck between making long strides forward while still being physically young enough to thoroughly enjoy them.
The promise of the 4th decade of life played out beautifully in many ways. I finished a PhD, survived a heinous graduate experience and fulfilled my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I married my very best friend, survived the death of my mother and dove headfirst into the uncharted (by me) waters of motherhood. I moved to a new city, started a new chapter and built friendships that have sustained me. The part where I would feel confident and sure has been partially true - I suspect that I will always struggle to some degree with insecurity but it has been better.
What a powerful decade it has been...so far! Yesterday I turned 39 years old. Looking back at every wonderful thing that has happened over the past 9 years makes me more determined to finish off this decade well. In the coming year I hope to become a mother again, my husband will finish training and we will move again to create a life in the place where our children will grow up. The place they will forever refer to as 'home'.
Just as I have enjoyed this empowering decade, I have also accepted that it's OK to slow down a bit and savor it. I am no longer motivated by a deep need to be the biggest, fanciest fish in the pond except when it comes to my personal relationships. Rather, loving my family and friends, doing right by my clients and patients, and being a generally good person is just fine to me. That is my current definition of success.
Where my thirties played out to be more-or-less what they were promised to be, I suspect that so will my forties. It would seem that as my 40th year of life begins I have a decision to make:
1. Embrace the mental programming has led us to believe that after 40 we are 'over -the-hill'.
2. Go with the newer vision which claims that the forties are the new thirties!
I don't buy it that once I hit 40 the downward spiral is set in motion. So I'm imagining what the next 10 years will look like. Luckily, I have a whole year to cook up something good. For others who have been here or who are here, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you imagine for the next 10 years? What do you want to do before you turn 30 or 40 or 60?