Today is the last day of May. May 2017 has been my motivational target for the past ten years. It has been the carrot that kept me moving through many moments of failure, heartache and disillusionment.
I had a very disappointing thirtieth birthday, nobody’s fault, just an unmet expectation which caused a little internal crisis. May 7th, 2007, I drove an hour in the wrong direction along the 401 (Trans-Canadian highway). With tears streaming down my face, I turned around and gave myself a good, stern talking to: I promised that turning forty would look and feel different. In order to make sure it was so, I decided to do a few things to set in motion a decade that would end in success.
Firstly, I was going to make absolutely sure that I didn’t take any more bullshit advice. I would not override my gut ever again. You see, in my twenties, I ‘submitted’ myself to a group of leaders, and even though their intentions were good, they gave, Mike and I advice (lots and lots of it) which almost shipwrecked our family. I knew, with every single decision, that we were walking further and further away from where we were supposed to be. I ignored my intuition, we were doing what we thought was honourable. It has taken ten years to work ourselves out of those decisions, and the same many years to re-learn how to hear our own thoughts and trust them.
Secondly, I would figure out what I had a natural aptitude for. I had no clue ten years ago.
Thirdly, I would learn. Learn something, anything— I would get to May 2017 with a new skill.
Finally, I decided that I would be tough on myself, and others. I would question my every thought, every belief and action. Why became my mantra. Why are you anxious? Why are you going to church? Why do you believe that? Why do they believe that? Why are you married? Why did you have children? Why? WHY?
Questioning is not a popular sport. It’s dangerous— you might not like the answers. To spectators, it may come across as disrespectful, presumptuous and self-righteous. Most people don’t play it, and they most certainly don’t like to watch. But I committed myself to it, and so here I am Questioning Champion.
Ten years felt like a century. It was a long hard road. But I’m super thrilled with the destination, Today (with a capital ‘T”).
Today is a great day! I’ve had a FANTASTIC birthday month (cause if you’re going to turn forty, you may as well make it a thirty-day long celebration). I’ve arrived at May 31st in the shape I had hoped to arrive:
- I have learned and achieved an academic certification in a new skill— I am a writer. I’m good at it!
- All the stupid decisions I’ve made recently… are my own! Yes! I own my mistakes, ’cause I didn’t listen to someone else’s bullshit opinion about my life. (That’s not arrogance, that’s just the pendulum swing against a decade of stupidity.)
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. ~ Ernest Henley
- And Today, I am still asking, Why. Why are you still a chubby bunny, Nats? Why can’t your children read? Why are you living in the Canada? Why is your house still a shit show? Lots and lots of questions I need to answer. But, at least I’m asking the questions.
I love being a forty-year-old woman; a woman in her forties! Yes! So sexy, right? I have a new list of to-dos for the next ten years. It’s going to be a doozie of a decade. I’ve begun well— I’ve started this website, I’ve enrolled in a full-time college program (yes folks, I’m going back to school in September!), and I’ve started swimming training (maybe a little competing is on the books?).
Success, for this cougar (I’m forty and married to a younger man… I’ll take the designation and wear it well), is having done something. Something, anything, is better than nothing.
To all my friends who have turned forty this year: here is to ten years worth of extraordinary Somethings! A decade worth of trying! CHEERS!