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Saturday, February 13, 2016

This Is Forty

It's my birthday.  I'm forty and I've been thinking about what turning 40 means to me.  Do I feel old? Is half of my life over? Do I feel anxiety about accomplishing more in my life? Am I disappointed that I'm not where I wanted to be by the time I turned 40?  How do I feel? Huh? Huh?

Well.....I feel good. I feel great actually.  I don't think I look 40.  I don't feel old.  Yes, my body is not as young. I don't bounce back from a night of drinking as easily.  Sometimes I spend days with foot pain from my not-so-lovely bunions (yes I know there's an operation for that). I get tired more easily, things are sagging, my belly is flabby...but I don't feel old.  And I know my flabby tummy and extra pounds aren't just from being oler, they're also from having carried two children!  I'm exhausted mostly because I don't get enough sleep because.....I have two kids!  I don't have as much energy because I'm 40? Maybe.  And because I have two energetic kids under 6!

But what was my point?  Oh yeah, I don't feel old.
Inside, I still think  I'm 25.  And then I remember what 25 was like for me.  What stage in life I was experiencing and I go," Oh shit!  I'm not 25 at all".

I loved being 25.  I lived in New York with Zach.  I was working, acting, partying, traveling.  I was pursuing my desires and my dream.  At the time, I had one dream--to be a successful actress.  Hopefully by the time I was 30.  I'm 40 and I'm not a successful film actress.  Am I disappointed?  No. Not at all.  Ten years ago, when I turned 30, I was disappointed.  Very.  I was in LA, dedicating all my time and energy to acting and although I was acting and networking and practicing, I was nowhere near being a successful film actress.  I lit a fire under my own ass and got more determined. I wrote a short film, directed and produced it with friends.  I was doing it, getting somewhere, I felt good.  Today I'm 40 and I am so far from that dream.

It's been years since I act in front of a camera or onstage.  And I miss it, but I don't feel like a failure. You see, my desires have shifted and I've had tons of success in other areas, like voice over.  In fact, I've had more success in v.o. than I ever imagined.  And it's given me the freedom to achieve other things that were never even dreams, or goals, or anything.

I'm 40 and I'm married to an awesome guy who I started dating a million years ago (well, like 18) because he was sweet and cooked for me (very important!).  I thought we would date for a few months, six tops.  You see, there was this poet guy, that's the one I really liked.  We were going to have a relationship.  Yeah.....whatever.  I don't even remember his real name.

I'm 40 and I have two little kids whom I adore.  Two little kids full of energy, sass, curiosity, creativity, wisdom and joy.  Two little kids who drive me completely insane and drain my energy but fill me with such love and strength.  Who test and expand my limits daily and have taught me more about myself and my life than I ever thought possible.

I'm 40 and I have a successful voice over career.  A career I sort of shifted into when Miles was born and his needs were more imortant than looking good in front of a camera, yet I still had to make enough money to qualify for our health insurance.  How lucky I am to actually make money doing something I love and am good at.  And I have the freedom to be there for my kids.

I'm 40 and I live in LA.  An awesome city that still surprises me with its hidden jewels.  I'm in a great neighborhood, in a beautiful home where my kids can walk to school and I'm surrounded by people I love.

I am definitely not where I thought I would be at 40.  I never had dreams of getting married, having children, being a voice over actor, owning a home.  My only dream was to have a successful film career.  That was it.  Oh.....and to be happy.  That was actually my original dream, back when I was a little girl, like Miles's age.  Even later, as my interests went from wanting to be a marine biologist, to an austronat, a sociologist, a writer, a psychologist....when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I often answered, "I want to be happy".  Because I didn't really know what I was going to do when I grew up, but I knew I wanted to be happy doing it.

Life is hard.  This fucking journey is a struggle.  Like many people, I'm just trying to navigate the challenges and enjoy the positives.  I don't feel happy all the time, but I am.  I'm happy to be alive in this body, with this mind and all that comes with it.  I'm very fortunate. Blessed really.

So....I'm 40 and I have no specific dreams for myself right now.  I have dreams for my children, for my family, for the world.  I do have goals--health goals, creativity goals, career goals--but dreams?  I suppose my dream is to continue to find happiness doing whatever it is that I'm doing.  I feel like I'm just getting started exploring.  I'm excited and nervous for the rest of this journey and my dream is to to always find my happy place.   For me, this is forty.

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