Running Toward Forty, Maybe Too Fast and Too Hard

Today, guest blogger Tricia Amiel speaks candidly about reaching forty. Maybe, a bit too quickly…

Tricia Amiel Getting close…almost there, the golden age of 40.  I’m a single, divorced mom of two boys, and a daughter recently “adopted”, a former student from the high school where I teach.  At the moment, I’m consumed by the notion of transition, making decisions, planning for the life I promised myself I’d have at 40…

Somehow, on my 39th birthday this past July, a clock started ticking.  I remembered that I had stated some years ago that if I didn’t have my life together by the time I was 40, I would find the nearest bridge…  I see 40 as a magic age, when all the mistakes of adulthood thus far have been reckoned with, corrected, accepted, dealt with.  But here I am, less than a year away, and life is a muddy puddle of problems, fears, broken relationships.

So I started a mission… preparing a plan to be where I promised myself I had to be by next July.  I began by making a major decision, one that entails difficult disentanglements.  I will, I must, I know, move out of the state.  I don’t belong where I am now, had never intended to be here as long as I have.  Next, as a necessity to step one, I had to think about my “career”.  I’m in my ninth year as a teacher, though not in one arena.  I’ve failed so far to make a career of it, instead stockpiling a host of negative experiences that I’ve determined to use as a springboard for personal growth, finally taking responsibility for the part I’ve played in my backward motion from college instructor to high school English teacher, which has meant, among other things, a formidable loss of salary.  Then too, there has been much more to gain from those experiences; I’ve learned a lot from them, given much of myself to children in need, and have gotten back so much more than I gave.  My daughter, for example, not born to me, but chosen from the swell of troubled lives I minister to in whatever little way I’m able every day.

Of necessity then, I’m considering new possibilities.  I’ve researched a new career in book publishing, and found this possibility a good match, one that excites and energizes me.  Career changes are tricky business, so I’ve considered advancing in my already established career, which has meant deciding to finally finish my master’s thesis, which could take me “backward” again to teaching in a community college setting.  I know that for all my writing prowess, business language escapes me, and I am incapable of writing and formatting a decent cover letter and resume.  Forget about the CV.  More research…I have to hire someone to do this for me…

There is more, of course.  The REALLY difficult stuff of disentangling broken relationships, deciding which are irreparable, which are worth a little or a lot of working on, which to maintain.  Sadly, of the irreparable is my relationship with my mother.  Difficult to disconnect, and painful to boot.  But necessary.  There’s only one to work on, and that one will require deep soul-searching, steeling myself for the possibility that there will be an end point to the work, at which time I’ll suffer another disconnect.  Yet, happily, most fall into the maintenance category, and these are very many.  Moving out of the state, too, will mean reconnecting with a very many good, sustaining friendships.

Still more.  A health issue that has troubled me all my life, and has been particularly difficult to overcome in the past ten years: depression.  I can’t navigate this one at all, it seems, and it has, of course, been the source of terrible dysfunction and difficulty.  How to figure out how to keep that one from standing in my way?

I hope that I’m not overwhelming myself.  I’m rushing headlong, every day, to a state of being I promised myself a lifetime ago…  Forty is coming.  I hope to meet it with a clear head and a keen eye, self-aware and self-sustained.  I know there is no panacea.  I know that every experience lives in the heart, under the skin, becomes flesh and bone.  I hope, above all, that these will be a platform of strength, of growth, of opportunity.

You can follow Tricia on her new blog, The Current

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Blogger, self-proclaimed-philosopher, voracious eater and opinion sharer.

  • I commend you on the courage to open yourself up like this. I did the same when I got divorced, and it was freeing.

  • I commend you on the courage to open yourself up like this. I did the same when I got divorced, and it was freeing.

  • admin

    @Kaling, I felt the same way when I first read Tricia’s post. I think the first step in dealing with raw emotions is admitting to having them. Particularly when these days it seems as though everyone is telling us that forty is fabulous. I believe it can be, and will be for most of us, but being fabulous is also about acknowledging our fears and insecurities. Bravo Tricia!

  • admin

    @Kaling, I felt the same way when I first read Tricia’s post. I think the first step in dealing with raw emotions is admitting to having them. Particularly when these days it seems as though everyone is telling us that forty is fabulous. I believe it can be, and will be for most of us, but being fabulous is also about acknowledging our fears and insecurities. Bravo Tricia!

  • I commend you on the courage to open yourself up like this. I did the same when I got divorced, and it was freeing.

  • Grace

    @Kalin, I felt the same way when I first read Tricia’s post. I think the first step in dealing with raw emotions is admitting to having them. Particularly when these days it seems as though everyone is telling us that forty is fabulous. I believe it can be, and will be for most of us, but being fabulous is also about acknowledging our fears and insecurities. Bravo Tricia!

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