It's my birthday! I'm 41 today - an age that seemed really old to me, way back when, but seems not at all old, now that I'm here.
I'm happy to be 41 because it means that I'm not 40 anymore. I hadn't thought that it would be such a big deal to be 40 because age is just a number, right? Well, yes, it is, but that number is how long a person has been alive, and it turns out that 40 is kind of a tipping point. In our youth-driven society, 40 is a demarcation point: on the one side is youth and on the other is definitely not youth. Our society clearly values youth, since there are so many products and whatnot that can make someone appear youthful or be youthful, and to be on the other side of that line is difficult.
It wasn't just that all of a sudden I was not young, but that I realized that being older meant that some of the dreams I had would be unfulfilled. When someone is young, there are lots of opportunities and dreams and doors that are available. As that person ages, those doors close, the dreams end, and the opportunities disappear. Other options appear in their place, of course, because life is continually unfolding and changing, but the youthful dreams are gone.
So I've spent the last year grieving for all those things I could have done and can't do now. It's been a long process, but I've come to accept the life I have now and the opportunities and dreams that come with it. I'm definitely happier and more content now, and I'm definitely looking forward to this next year!
I'm reminded of the song Susan Boyle sang at Britain's Got Talent, Les Miserables. The last line goes, 'My life has killed the dreams I dreamed.'
That's a very sad line :( To me, it's saying that the dreams are gone and they'll never come back, and so all there is to look forward to is disappointment and unhappiness.
As my life has changed, so have my dreams, goals, and aspirations. Each new phase of my life brings new hopes and dreams with it. So my life hasn't so much killed my dreams as created opportunities for new ones.
When I was grieving for the dreams I had before, I was really grieving for the person that I was when I had those dreams - ie my young self. In a way, it's sad to not be that person anymore but I'm happy to be the person I am now with the life I have.
Happy Birthday to you. I hope you had a nice one.
The age of 41 can be great:
We are getting old only in our head.
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