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.
Happy Happy Birthday! Beautiful Post!
We went to see this movie a couple of days ago and I gotta say, it totally impressed me. So lovely and poetic and funny.
Happy Birthday, Rapunzel!
That’s all I have to say.
What a lovely post. I know where you are coming from and our dreams are very similar (is it all a Sagittarius thing afterall). You have been given 40 years to fill with life. What a lucky gift. I hope you are given as many to continue to dream, write, and fulfill. Cheers!
Ooh. You intrigue me. Hope our paths cross again soon!
Happy Birthday what a great post!
Happy Birthday Fadra! I am so happy you have found this path in life and it has led to us being friends. 🙂
Such a super sweet thing to say. You never know when our paths will get closer!
Happy Birthday girlfriend! What a wonderful and truly inspiring post. You are doing exactly what you are meant to and SHINING. LOVE IT!
I loved that movie too!
You are awesome. If I never told you this, I’m SO glad we met in Philly.
Ooh, “midlife awakening!” I’m totally stealing that one.
Please do 🙂
Happy Birthday! I hope I can be this introspective when I turn 40! And I also hope I look as good as you do. 😀
Keep working at it and maybe you will look as good as me (hee hee)
Beautiful! Happy 40th. I will remember this in 2 years.
If not, come back and I’ll remind you 🙂
Happy Birthday Fadra! So glad you are writing and doing what you love and that you are closer than Mexico! Funny I printed out that song after we came home from the movie and I so totally cried at that part. Those words really hit home.
That scene, huh? I got tears in my eyes. It just spoke to me. Why haven’t we planned time to get together?
Happy Happy Happy Birthday Honey. That was a very sweet post. It is good to finally see.
Just keep making some money so I can follow my dream 🙂
Happy Birthday to someone who gives true meaning to the phrase, Fabulous at 40! 🙂
Aww, such a lovely thing to say. From one fabulous babe to another 😉
I’ve been so busy today that I’m just getting to this – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
I need to catch up with you too. I don’t even know what state you’re in!
Love the point of view that it’s your awakening. and Happy Birthday 🙂
Better than leaving my husband and buying a red Corvette 😉
Happy Birthday!!! You DO NOT look like you are 40. Loved this wonderful post!!!
Can you come back every year and tell me that?
Beautifully honest from within…you are right where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are meant to do. I am so very proud of you, my beautiful daughter.
I think so. Thanks, Mommie.
Awesome post. I must say one of the things I loved about this post the most is your imagination, your ability to dream about different things. Many individuals don’t have that ability so I’m always in awe of someone who does.
Happy Belated Birthday!!!
You. Are. Awesome. Really. I love your comments 🙂
Happy Birthday! I turn 30 on Saturday. I definitely feel that sense of searching still going on in me. Thanks for your perspective.
I did everything late in life and only found some sense of settling well into my 30s. Give it time!
Happy (belated) Birthday!
Happy (belated) Birthday!
Happy belated birthday, Fadra. I hope that your day was lovely.
Thanks, Nichole. I had a lovely birthday!
Much of you post sounds like conversations I’ve had with myself in my head. I wanted to be Miss America. And then an actress. And then be important and do good deeds. I’ve often lamented that I haven’t found my passion. Congrats on entering your 40s. I’ll meet you there in a year and change.
Wait, are you pulling my leg or are you serious? If you are serious, we need to talk. I wanted to be Miss Universe (no talent required) and then an actress. I think passion emerges when we clear the space to let it emerge. A true luxury.
Now that’s a post worthy of 40 years!
Now I feel all nervous about writing something for my upcoming fancy number (25) now that I know you’ve upped the standard.
Which, as I’m quite lazy, you should know I don’t appreciate.
Don’t worry, Megan. The bar is much lower at 25.
Happy belated birthday, Fadra. I hope it was a wonderful one.
Thanks, Catherine! It was wonderful.
i hope you had a great birthday! this was a beautifully written post.
So here I am weeks late…of course, sorry! But happy belated birthday anyway! I hope you had a fantastic day. And as a lady who’s 41st birthday is just next month I can honestly say 40? It’s really, really good. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
You are right, and this is a stellar post. Can you shop it out??
It is an awakening..and you realize you have just so much time and you wish you would’ve started on your dreams earlier and you wish you wouldn’t have been so scared…
Love this post.
Great post! I think many people, including me, share those sentiments!
Fadra, you are beautiful and so talented! Remember “every step of the journey, is the journey”! At 40, you are just really beginning to know yourself. The best part, it gets better and easier. I never dreamed that I would love being 53 and I love it more than being 52 because of the changes within me. Your “little old blog” (as you call it) is reaching people you would have never have touched otherwise. Your words and stories carry your gentle but powerful messages along the way…
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Even at 40, I still need reassurances along the way. But I will tell you, I had a friend the other day tell me she enjoys 50 so much more than 40 and could never have predicted that!
I love this! (And I would have guessed you were 32 or 33, not 40, btw).
Oh Shanna. That’s exactly why I wrote this post! I need people to keep
telling me they think I’m younger 🙂 So great to meet you BTW!
thank you for sharing this with me. It’s so on point for me, and my mother actually. It’s so incredibly comforting to know I am not alone in many of my thoughts. Hopefully I will be able to come to terms with where I am in my life sooner rather then later. I just want to find more of my purpose right now. Who knows what it will be…writing, being a wife, a mother… or a multitasking combination! Thanks again for the words of wisdom!
Happy SITS day!
This is a beautifully written post…reading it, I suddenly realized that I’m going to turn 40 in a couple of years…and I’m still living my life like I’m 20 and have eons ahead of me to do all that I want to do! It’s time for me to wake up and smell the coffee, I guess!
I’m not sure if you are happy or not happy with living your life like you’re 20. If you’re trying to hold on to your carefree youth, that’s okay. But with age comes wisdom and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Three cheers for becoming comfortable with who you are. I am 20 years older than you . . . and found the 40’s to be very similiar. Happy Awakening!
Glenda – since you’ve been where I am, I just need advice on handling on the changes in my body. My mind is full and alive! And my body just wants a nap 🙂
Wow, this one is wonderful! I love the mid-life awakening! I completely agree! I think as we get older we tend to feel bored with our everyday lives. It is funny that it takes a kids movie like Tangled (which I loved, by the way) to put things back into perspective. And then we realize how awesome we really are! Great post!
I just watched Tangled again last weekend and feel in love with it all over again. It’s a beautiful movie and even my husband liked it! My mom always reminds me that Mary Kay started her cosmetics company in her 60s. I’m okay with really finding out who I am now!
Wish I was still my own boss! But there wasn’t enough money in it in recent years.
Happy Birthday all the same!
Thank God I married well and I have a husband that believes I am going places. I hope he’s right!
Looks like I’m about a year older than you. There. I hope that makes you feel young today.
Actually, isn’t this kind of a nice place to be? More confident in yourself. Less worried about all those things you used to think were important but turned out to not be. I’m enjoying my forties. I hope you are, too.
I love being my age. I love the confidence. I especially notice it at blog conferences when I’m sometimes the oldest one in the group. Now, if I can just get my body to cooperate with me…
Wow, what a beautiful post. It is amazing how we wish and wish and wish, only to find that all our wishes were already granted, just not in the ways you expected.
Oh, you said it so perfectly. I remember having a co-worker that constantly complained about phone calls interrupting her trying to do her job. I finally told her those phone calls WERE her job (or at least part of it). Yes, sometimes we just need a different perspective.
I am turning 31 this month and this post has really inspired me. I have felt the same way you did. Not sure what I was destined for and never really had a talent for much accept talking.
Thanks for posting this it has really helped me see that what I like doing is not minuscule or boring but important.
I think we get lost if we don’t have that ONE career we feel destined to do. I like lots of different things and I’ve done lots of different things. I think it’s all brought me to this place where I have a lot of experiences to draw upon for my writing.
I had the worst 40th birthday ever. My beloved cat, 12 years old was dying from kidney failure. I looked back at my blog and I didn’t even do a birthday post. I had more important things to do than to turn 40, there were no celebrations.
Yours was a beautiful blog, and in a few weeks I will be turning 42. I think in our 40s we find ourselves more comfortable in our own skin and are not willing to suffer fools. Sure there are things I wish I could have done with my life, but my blog has been quite satisfying. Doing it is one of the joys of my life.
Happy SITS day!
Oh Emily. I’m a big cat lover. I just lost my companion at 20 years old in February. And trust me, I’ve had plenty of birthdays that I just wanted to forget. But this birthday, I think I just let go of expectations and enjoyed the day. I don’t know how things will go this year but I’m thankful for that one day of perspective.
Love that! We do really become wiser as we get older. I have one more year until I hit 40 and I hope that I can close to your perspective.
You create your own perspective. One of the smartest things I’ve ever heard was a speaker who asked if the glass is half empty or half full. And the reality is, the glass is both. We choose how we want to see it.
I turned 60 this year and the joy is that with each year, each milestone, we/I awaken more and more. What a wonderful birthday present you gave yourself ~ thank you for sharing your sweet experience and here’s to us all taking care of ourselves in the best way we know how and awakening to how very special we are!
Patricia – I love that you have such a wonderful perspective. I know plenty of people in their 60s that are pretty much waiting to die or living in a state of regret over what they never had. Loving ourselves is the best present we can give ourselves and those around us.
A mid-life awakening. Absolutely beautiful post. Have a wonderful SITS day too.
Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. I really liked writing it.
A mid-life awakening. Absolutely beautiful post. Have a wonderful SITS day too.
Do you really think 40 is “mid life”?
These days, I would have to say yes it is. Almost exactly midlife. The life expectancy is always going up, especially for women. But really, YOUR midlife doesn’t have to be the middle of your life. I think it’s simply about when you mature and gain perspective. I’ve always considered myself a late bloomer so maybe some people have their awakening sooner (if at all).
I really enjoyed this! Isn’t it great to get honest with yourself and love yourself, flaws and all?
I do love myself. Except for that spare tire around the middle. But mostly, I love myself!
Oh my gosh I love this! The poem is beautiful. Happy belated SITS day by the way. After much thinking and debating I’ve finally found a way to do what I love too. It’s a wonderful feeling. That is for sure!
Jennifer – so happy for you! It’s a great feeling to figure out your “special purpose”!
Happy (almost) Birthday! I would say belated, but I think once you’re 6 months out, you should just go ahead and buy a card for the following year and vow to never forget again. So, almost wins.
Also, this is a fantastic post. I think we all go through this, and more than once in life, too. Every year in our twenties is a giant question mark, for example! It’s a great feeling, though, when you finally find your niche, isn’t it? Those lyrics explain it perfectly.
Thanks, Kallay. Yup, I’m getting close to another year older! But a year later, I still feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
Stopping by from SITS. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading!
I love 40. It’s been 5 months now and I love it. I still remember when my mom turned forty and I thought she was ancient and so out of touch. I still sort of think that – hey, I’m hip.
Visiting from SITS Girls
I like to think I’m semi-hip. I don’t think it’s because I look so incredibly fabulous. I think it has more to do with my approach to life. Have fun, then worry (in moderation, of course).