I suppose if I am going to pause and take a moment to unleash my writing voice after months of stifling, now is a good time.
It is 3:45PM on May 27, 2017 and tomorrow morning I turn 40.
There is soccer on the tele (an MLS game between Seattle and Portland), my dog by my side (Charlie, who is reacting to my spending the last 24 hours at home by creating as little space between us as possible as if to say, FINALLY), and beautiful flowers on the coffee table from one of my favorite people on earth (Hi, Auntie D).
The living room is silent. I hear nothing but the rumble of a refrigerator. I have a lovely roommate now, a rather odd development after living on my own for the last 12ish years, and she is gone for the weekend. My neighborhood for the last 6 years (after a brief, 6 mos stint on the UES) is Chelsea. It will be Chelsea until the end of June, when my sublet ends and I choose not to take over the lease. Next steps: TBD.
It would be not only impossible but unfair to start running through my 30s for the high and low lights. This only sets me up for some kind of judgmental assessment, and I am already judgy enough about my own life on a daily basis. It already feels like New Year's Eve and Erev Yom Kippur, so consumed am I by desire for a fresh start and need for atonement.
I prefer a more macro than micro look. They, my 30s, were surprisingly more difficult than I expected. I thought the 20s were supposed to be hard-ish but fun-heyyyyy, and your 30s that time when you come into your own, give fewer fucks, and see more things falling into place. This inevitably results in a happier, more evolved existence, yayyyyy 30s! I suppose I have some of that in my experience, but my 30s were also shaky and rumbly, with dramatic stops and starts. My 30s were not romantic. They were not lavish. My 30s had so much effort, I am actually exhausted looking back on what I did and how I did it. It also had energetic and spiritual efforts, like the ones to overcome deep insecurities and let go of self harming behaviors. There were many days I took zero steps in the direction of my dreams because I felt so unworthy and many moments I spent in the shadows.
That said and true to my Gemini nature, my 30s also bred deeper confidence and courage, many steps in the direction of my dreams. I did. Do. A LOT. A lot of acting, a lot of writing, a lot of fitness, service, light worker work, dreamy cool shit, a lot of risky new steps, a lot of WORK. I have worked. I do not know how you do it, leisure set. I came of age doing things not posting from an appearance of doing things. The only influencing I did involved the people directly exposed to my work. My 30s were absolutely my coming of age in the age of social media. (I would've buckled up for that at 29 if I knew it was coming like the hurricane it did, hashtag people are legit in relationships with their phones.)
My 30s were the age of Obama, of mostly peace. After the Bush Era it was a time to feel prouder being an American. Then, on the precipice of seeing a WOMAN become president, I thought this could lead to some changes. Ones that would align even more with my politics and beliefs, that would personally at least partially make up for the times I was overlooked due to sexism and mistreated due to sexual harassment in the workplace. And what woman would want to turn 40 while single and under a Trump Administration?
What's that saying about what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
I am on the doorstep of my 40s home about to knock and be let in. Lately, it has felt like a rainy night, 39, but on the bright side it feels like there is something in 40 that will shelter me from what I've been going through. A relief. I made it. I did it. The first 40 years of my life, done! Aced? Not quite. 99th percentile. Uh-uh. Prom Queen? That was a longgggggg time ago. The old paradigm of judging success / failure like how I grew up clearly out dated, and finally retired.
In my 30s I remained vulnerable. I still believe I have the plague of caring too much and being so sensitive but it's better than being hard. True to my Gemini nature I could be at once incredibly strong (to the point of people never thinking I need help) but also easily hurt and disappointed. Maybe the house of 40 is the place where even less fucks are given, you come more into your own, and even more falls into place. Maybe there is more happiness and greater evolution. I hope there is more fun, more leisure :) and more LOVE. I pray there is not bitterness and cynicism from loss and disappointment. When I have flirted with that, I learned quickly it is not a good look.
There will be no hiding my age from people, because I think it reinforces a very DANGEROUS and TOXIC element of our culture -- the one that affirms women are better younger, so you better hide that number. Those of you who know me personally know I am capable of very hearty FUCK YOUs, well directed and expressed with love, so if I can direct one in this post anywhere it is towards that particular cultural disease. On a very superficial level, a woman is not better than another woman if her skin looks less lined. Jeez. Maybe she is wealthier and can afford all the work, maybe her genetics predispose her to more youthful appearances, maybe she stayed out of the sun while I was running around playing sports, on beaches, sweating, who knows. But if my value is connected to anything these days it's not how I look, but who I am.
At 39 I do not have a husband, I do not have a child (except Charlie, who is a dog technically), I do not have much in the way of financial wealth, and my career has a lot of hyphens. None of these are bad things, necessarily, but they are all unexpected. I am surprised, as I've written before, how things are going (not how they turned out, since 40 is not a finish line) and I remain open to growth.
One other thing to address before I close is my spiritual life. My 30s saw a lot in the way of self discovery and exploration of Divine Source through meditation, yoga, 12 step work, retreats, seminars, reading and writing. What I realize now is that turning 40 has actually been a spiritual experience. I have had breakdowns of egoic thinking, openings into my depths. I saw this coming from the time I turned 39 #foresight. I have had dreams and even sensed certain energies over the last few weeks which, without sounding too woo woo, have felt like Angels guiding me into this next phase of my life (apols to the portion of my readership I just lost). I have felt the STRONG presence of a higher power reaching out to me in my darkest times and allowing me the support I needed to stay in the darkness until I felt ready to come out. I have looked up from the concrete, garbage, rat-infested streets of Manhattan (still love ya) through the trees and up past the tallest buildings of downtown to see a STRONG GEMINI Super moon, and I have felt its energy. I have always felt like a throwback, like a gypsy soul in a Long Island Jewish girls' body, Stevie Nicks with leather and lace (and tambourine) or Madonna with cones (and occasionally, a guitar, yeah Madge) my spirit animals. I have never felt like me, which sounds like a funny and odd thing to write. I have always felt like my insides did not match my outsides but in this arrival at the doorstep of 40, I FINALLY gave myself permission to be exactly who I am these last few months, even if at times a very sad LBD. You may or may not have noticed, but I did and that is all who really matters.
I am coming out to the other side. I have joy in my life and love in my heart. I have love for the work I do and for the people in my life. I will determine my next steps. I will determine what I can determine, and roll with the punches of the Universe. I will also open up to more gifts from the Universe, both by appreciating the ones already bestowed upon me and being willing to receive more. I will let desires come through. I will absolutely reconnect with my writing voice, I WAS SO BLOCKED AND HIDING. I will continue to do my best to enjoy the moments and weather the challenges that are part of life, part of the agreement we make to be here on this planet for a brief period of time. I know this doesn't sound very sexy. I don't have a sexy selfie for you either (for that @lbdactor on Insta).