This is 40

I was excited to turn 30. It was, and still is, to date, my best year. I’m not feeling any particular type of way about turning 40.

I have lots of feelings. Obviously. I am who I am, after all.

Introspection has become part of my daily life. It’s how I take care of myself. I walk 45 minutes each way to and from work every day and, although I listen to podcasts, my brain is constantly churning. Sometimes sparked or provoked by the podcasts but often in spite of or at least parallel to. John laughs at me for my overactive mind but he also helps quiet it. He might be the best part of this milestone.

Lately, for the past several weeks, through the unwelcome remnants of unsettling dreams or human apparitions of heartaches past, I keep thinking about exes. Maybe not so much them, as men or as personalities or even individual qualities, but their impact on my life, for better or, more accurately, for worse …… it’s hard not to imagine my 40 years of life within the context of the things that have shaped me the most. And, with the most brutal truth, shaped the absence of roles I thought I would be playing by this point in my life; roles that seemed and still do, to some extent, innate and inevitable. And yet, roles I may never and likely will never get to try on. Having a child of my own, with John, or g/God forbid, someone in the future, seems unlikely at this age. I’m not in a rush or, I guess, I am not in a place where it is feasible. I live in 385 sq ft. My guy still weirdly lives with roommates. I am not moving to the suburbs. Tiptoeing across the threshold of 40, these are the things I regret and yet, I do realize that it’s silly to regret something you really did not have control over. You’re allowed to regret missing out though, right? I don’t know. This isn’t like a trip to Cabo that I chose not to take.

Relationships, for me, have had the single greatest impact on my four decades as a human, particularly the past two, and I don’t know how to really sit with or accept that reality. Although, even as I type that, I know that isn’t really true. The first one in college, the one after college, the one when I moved here from Pittsburgh … they all still hurt. It isn’t hard for me to recognize or admit but I would guess that, to anyone other than me, even those that know me best, this statement would be utterly unbelievable or, at the very least, induce an eye roll or a casual shrug and a hair flip. To me though, looking at past relationships, and even many friendships, is like being stuck in a hall of mirrors at a county fair. Unpack that as you wish.

So, this is 40. Seems a lot like both 20 and 30 in my head and heart. Wonder if 50 will come with a wider lens. And instructions on how to use it properly.

Author: tigerlilyvegas

Former high school counselor, left of center, lover of grilled cheese, black coffee & IPAs. Equal affinity for turquoise water & white sands and the quiet, calm, green & wooded heaven that is western PA. Passionate about equity, justice, and requited love. And crucifying cheaters.

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