So, tomorrow I am going to be 40 years old. Not sure how I feel about that.
It's not that I am depressed about the number. Sure, it kinda sucks to have to check the box on surveys when your age is listed as " 40 to 65" or "40+" like anything over the age of 40 isn't worth tracking anyway.
But really, I understand that it's just a number. I have friends that have been in the 40's for several years now (thanks for smoothing the road for me, guys!) and I have friends that won't be here for many more. I'm still me, same person I was yesterday.
I guess, if anything, it makes me take stock. Look at the tally sheet, see which side is winning. Overall, my life is pretty sweet. Can't complain (but in the immortal words of Joe Walsh, sometimes I still do). But am I where I thought I would be, when I had been 40 years on this planet?
Nope, no way. Na-uh.
When I was growing up, I knew I was going to work with animals. Be a vet. Oh yeah, then school got in the way, and I realized I hated my biology teacher through high school and the cost of attending 8 years of university became a reality and veterinary school quickly went out the window. I thought I wanted to be a game warden. That one came closer. I went to college, took the classes. I even got accepted to my 3rd year for Wildlife Law Enforcement. And then I looked at the employment rates with the MNR (less than 10% of my graduating class got full time jobs in the field). I weighed that against the cost, and the fact that I had a steady boyfriend (Geoff). I knew if I wanted to work in the field, I was going to have to move. BC, NWT, Yukon, even northern Ontario. Geoff didn't want to go, so it was a go without or stay with. For a multitude of reasons, I chose to stay.
Today, I am a financial analyst. I work inside on a computer for 8 to 10 hours a day. It's good work- I can telecommute, they give me a laptop to work on. I get to make my own schedule and it's flexible enough that I can make 90% of Sebastian and Sawyer's appointments without having to take time off. It pays well, and I have built up a shit load of experience in the corporate world. I have made a little bit of a name for myself, and a good one at that.
But it's not what I had imagined I would be doing when I was 40.
I have 2 kids. That pretty much lines up with my vision, although there was a time when I didn't think I would have any kids. I'm married, but that wasn't necessarily part of my vision either. I wasn't a girl that dreamed about her wedding and planned it out in minute detail as a girl. Sure, I had thought about it, and like every little girl, I played bride sometimes, but I also remember talking with friends in high school about how it would be perfectly fine if I spent my life single. It really wasn't an issue at all for me.
But, here I am, married, 2 kids, a dog, cats and fish. A mortgage, a mini-van. Am I a sell-out? I think my pretentious 15 year old self might have thought so. But, she would have come around after a while.
So no, I'm not where I expected to be. But that's OK. Where I am isn't half bad.
I still have my ideals, a lot of them relatively unchanged from when I was young.
I am still a bit naive. I tend to believe the things that people tell me. It backfires sometimes, but sometimes it gives me great stories. And helps me make great friends.
I am strong. The independence and strength and grace that I craved and started to build as a teenager is rooted solid in me. It's a core of steel. I believe that I can do pretty much anything. Even when I have my doubts. Even when I do fail. I am always surprised that it didn't work out perfectly.
I am kind. I am loved and I love back. I have friends. I have my family, plus new family. I still dye my hair ridiculous colours. I have tattoos. I still fight with my dad. I still drink beer and eat pizza and wings- sometimes for breakfast.
I still goof off when I should be working. Sometimes, my room is messy. I forget to make my bed. I snort when I laugh. Sometimes, I wait too long and almost pee my pants. I lose shit, because I didn't put it back where it belonged. I don't do my homework. I doodle and daydream when I should be paying attention.
I have nightmares. I cry in movies. I want to buy things that I don't need. Money can burn a hole in my pocket. I like to swing on the swings and slide on the slides. I stick out my tongue behind people's backs. I roll my eyes when I think someone is dumb.
I want to adopt a million puppies and kittens. I like to eat my dessert first. I complain about my chores. I am lazy. I like to nap.
Deep down, I am the same. Just a little bit different. And I'm 40.
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "now- midlife crisis!!"