It’s no secret that today is my birthday. And it’s no secret that it’s a big one. I’m turning 40. In fact, I have actually turned 40.
I’m looking back at who I am today versus who I was one year ago. I tend to be introspective like that. And I feel like I’ve changed big-time. I think I’ve become more selfish in a way. I feel like I’ve finally found my way in life by actually taking the time to pay attention to what I like to do.
I’ve spent most of my life professing that I’ve never found the one thing I like to do. I never dreamed of being an accountant. I haven’t wanted to be a doctor since I was three. I didn’t have a natural talent for dance.
I liked acting. I thought about becoming an actress. I enjoyed becoming another person. In restrospect, I think I was probably looking for an escape from my life. I wanted to be someone better, prettier, more popular. A beautiful, strong, experienced woman. What I know now and couldn’t have known then is that I could have never made it as an actress. I didn’t have the experiences to draw upon.
I dreamed of traveling to faraway places. I dreamed of winning the Olympic Gold medal in skiing even though I had no talent for skiing. I dreamed of becoming an archaeologist like Indiana Jones. I dreamed of working for Greenpeace and changing the world. I dreamed big but never really knew how to realize those dreams.
I followed career after career. I worked as a teacher and hopefully changed some lives. I followed those dreams of traveling and I’m fortunate enough to have visited many countries. I dabbled in acting. I was successful. I found the American Dream. House, car, family, kid.
Still, I couldn’t avoid that deep down feeling that maybe I was supposed to move to a remote town in Mexico and become a writer. I was supposed to get lost in the world. A free spirit. A wanderer.
Here I am. Working on my little old blog. Loving writing and inspiring and interacting. I’m doing everything I’ve always loved to do. I just never realized that I’ve been doing it all my life. It’s not about the job I have. It’s about what I do and how I feel about it.
These days, I am doing the things I love. The difference is that I’m my own boss. I dictate what I write about and who I interact with. But I’m still the same person. I’m just more comfortable with that person.
In celebration of my 40 years on Earth today, I took my son and myself to see the new Disney movie, “Tangled.” I couldn’t have made a better choice. It’s the story of Rapunzel. It’s her 18th birthday and she wants to see what life beyond the tower is like. In a beautiful scene, she is sitting in a boat watching paper lanterns light up in the sky and she sings.
All those days watching from the windows
All those years outside looking in
All that time never even knowing
Just how blind I’ve been
Now I’m here, blinking in the starlight
Now I’m here, suddenly I see
Standing here, it’s all so clear
I’m where I’m meant to be
And at last I see the light
And it’s like the fog has lifted
And at last I see the light
And it’s like the sky is new
And it’s warm and real and bright
And the world has somehow shifted
Now that I see you
I’m surrounded by my friends and my family. And my birthday has come and almost gone. All this time, I thought I was building up to a midlife crisis. Turns out it is simply a midlife awakening.