The sun is shining and reflecting off the East River. I’m sitting on a bench in Brooklyn looking out onto the New York City Skyline while reflecting on what a crazy ride this has been for the last 39 years. I definitely wouldn’t have thought I would be sitting here at this moment in my life.
39 still sounds young. But not the big 4 0.
I am turning 40 this year in October, 2020 the pandemic year, a year where everything is different for everyone. The trajectory you thought you were on may now look different.
We all have been through 6 months of a virus that has shaken the world. And all of my plans have been sliding down the rollercoaster into a dark hole. I started acting classes in New York City, started to make contacts and was ready to finally get my green card after waiting for 2,5 years.
I’m eligible for it now but there was a backlog in issuance that caused the delay.
Everything that I thought would happen this year for me is further away than ever. The Green card is suspended until who knows when and the acting classes and theatre jobs in NYC all seem like they are at a far distance.
So now I’m sitting here, turning 40 and two voices in my head are battling it out. One praises me about how much I have accomplished in life until now, and the other one thinks I’m a total loser. I know the second one very well, it has been my companion since I started my performing career 20 years ago. It is the critic. (Oh wow, to think of it 20 years sounds long!)
The voice of doubt is a natural occupier of the mind once you become an artist.
And I would say that’s the hardest thing to overcome in this career path.
The new covid normal offers the voices in my head a lot of space to debate. No jobs means a lot of time for the mind to play tricks on you. As the saying goes: An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. As the author Elizabeth Gilbert said it before: If you don’t give your mind something to do, it will find something to do. And it won’t be pretty!
So now I found myself in the predicament of turning 40 which for a woman is a strange age. To be honest I feel young, fit and excited about life. But I guess I’m also older now. Someone in their 60s says „Oh darling you are still so young!“ while someone in their 20s says „Dude, you’re getting old!“ So which one is it? I guess it is all a matter of perspective.
Society would label me like this:
She looks young and acts young, while still displaying a naiveté in her behaviour. She has done fairly well for herself, making a living of a hobby and a dream, by dancing, acting and singing. Recently even writing, which opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Moving to London and then to New York made her tougher and sometimes a bit more shy too.
The only problem with her is:
why isn’t she a mother?
That’s the one big elephant in the room when you turn 40. She is married so why doesn’t she have kids? Well, why not? My life hasn’t been boring at all, so I didn’t really feel the urge to be a mother. I had so many other things to do and had experiences that challenged me so much, that being a Mom wasn’t on my radar. I do start to wonder though how young my ovaries and eggs are by now as the bigger number approaches. It is more real and in your face once 40 is on the radar.
I get freaked out some days of the thought of missing the chance to get pregnant. But then I also trust the universe and myself that the right thing will happen no matter what. And if my life history is any indication becoming a mother would be such a big deal and disruptive change that the universe would like to send me that challenge. Or maybe I just want to make myself believe that, so I don’t have to worry.
To be honest with you I could live a fulfilled live without having a child I think. If you don’t know what you miss out on, there is nothing to miss. My life is full and I have so many dreams that having a child would probably make that part harder. But I also want to have the chance of being a mother. If it doesn’t work out, it will be my destiny and that is also ok.
Isn’t it strange that you approach a number that will measure your existence, but that number means different things to different people? Some people feel and behave like they are old when they turn 30 while other people are in their mid 60s and start a whole new career, like my parents did.
I loved being in my 30s. I had a crisis at first but then I loved the feeling of knowing what I want and who I am. And the search of finding my true self is still ongoing and a constant process. So what should really change. The day after my birthday will be just another day and life will go on. Just with a new label. The way other people see me when I say: „I’m 40.“
Ok saying that out loud now is totally unrealistic to me.
So today while the sun is shining on my face and the Manhattan Bridge is roaring with subway noises behind me, I’m proud of who I am and I’m ready to be 40. A new decade, a new chapter. New York has made me more of a bad ass and I like it. We can all be rockstars and just enjoy the crazy rollercoaster ride called life. The car that I sit in will ride through a big gate with a big 40 sign on top. There will be a short loud ringing sound
Applause you made it to 40. And I will just keep riding along in my rollercoaster, wind in my hair, sometimes holding on tight sometimes waving my hands in the air waiting for the next unexpected inversion.
And in the end of it all, while mean voices talk in my head and people share opinions about my age, one thing is for sure.
I’m lucky to be healthy and get a chance to see another decade. Others have not made it through the 40 gate and we owe it to them to celebrate life with all the twists and turns.
So cheers to all the people past 40. We made it this far, we know the importance of time and are done with people who want to waste ours. Life is just a bit more real and honest.
New decade I’m ready for you! Hit me with what you’ve got.
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