I’m 40 at the end of this year, 8 December to be exact. Note that down won’t you?
Milestone birthdays change as you get older – 10, 15, 18, 21 – all big years for which you celebrate and dream big. Thirty you’re still dreaming but now with a level of reflection depending on where you are in your life.
Then there’s 40. From what I can see 40 is a big year. Forty is the ultimate stock take except there are no bargains at the end of it.
You’ve been an adult for as long as you were a child and you have quite few runs on the board to prove it. Some have had kids, some are really hitting their stride in their profession, some have seen much of the world and some have even changed it.
And then there’s you. Or, in my case, me.
My intial head-thought is, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’ Followed by an obvious list of things to be grateful for – a husband who loves me no matter what, four children, the best friends anyone could ever have, the ability to cook, that I make really good jam, I have a big heart, that once a week I get up and see what my body is capable of and I can make people laugh.
But at the moment none of that is making a mark on my heart.
At the moment I feel weak and scared, angry and small, trapped, caged, frustrated and disappointed, snarly and panicky with a big fat resounding this can not be my life. Is this it? REALLY? Because this can’t be it. It’s not good enough, it’s not exciting, it’s not daring, it’s not brave and enticing.
It’s run of the mill.
It’s bog standard middle of the road.
I feel hamstrung and mean. I’m blaming everyone else except me.
I’m shooting vitriol at my kids and thinking ugly thoughts about my husband. I had a massive dust-up with my mum today and I’m just about ready to wave the white flag and go ‘I’m done. I am done. Thank you and good night.’
And I now have a much greater appreciation for those that do. Oh, I’m not talking those that end their lives, I garnered that understanding and empathy years ago. This is for the people who up and change their lives holus bolus often leaving a trail of emotional carnage in their wake. I’m all, ‘so THIS is what a midlife crisis is.’
It is a real panic at asking, ‘is the sum total of who I am?’ and seeing an answer that’s not even making the +range. It doesn’t matter how ill-perceived that answer is to everyone else around you, it is so so real in your own head.
That fight or flee emotional scale is real man. And sometimes flee wins out.
But I won’t flee and I won’t give up.
Because I know from this low ebb that I will push back. I can’t help it. A wave in me will find momentum from somewhere and push me forward. Fall down seven times, rise up eight as I say.
But today? At the moment? This week/month/period of time? It’s just so bloody hard.