The Dear Old 30sRead Now
Yesterday, I turned 40.
Quietly, joyfully, and feeling completely at peace with who I am, I decided to take inventory of the past 10 years of my life. What did the 30's mean for me? What did I learn, do, try, realize and participate in? What areas are coming into focus as I shift towards my 40s and what do I still need to work on?
So here, I present my 30s inventory. Taking inventory at regular intervals can be a remarkably helpful technique--looking up from the map long enough to see the road you just completed, stopping to take a breath as you carry forward again.
I learned how to leave an intense and hostile love, even when I thought it would cost me everything.
I learned you can’t fix everything with love.
I got married.
I got divorced.
I learned what it meant to have inlaws, the good and the bad.
I learned that ultimately, I had to stop compromising myself because deep down I thought that maybe I was unlovable and I should just take what I can get.
I learned that it is possible to deeply love someone but know that incompatibilities are real and can shake the foundations of even the strongest union.
I learned how to speak up for myself and communicate my needs.
I realized that I can love in ways that I have no words for, and that English is woefully inadequate to describe nuance and subtlety of feeling.
I learned comfort is a prison.
I bought my own home without any help, I only lived in rentals my entire life and I believe I am the first woman in my family to have done so.
I also learned that buying a house right before a market crashes really sucks and life isn’t fair.
I learned how to be a landlord, and I am no good at it.
I earned my Masters degree while working full time, also the first in my family to do so.
I got completely out of debt.
I bought my first brand new car (and paid it off).
My credit score makes bankers drool, very different from my 20s when I was turned away from opening a checking account. I am not a better person, I just learned how to play the game.
I learned the gift of compound interest.
I quit a career trajectory that was not working for me, it was terrifying and all I knew.
I started a business in a field that is totally unique, calling upon my deepest gifts and oldest ways of being.
I learned how to be a small business owner.
I learned how amazingly, incredibly, difficult owning one’s own business is.
I learned that, without office fetters and politics, I am capable of some amazing things.
I realized just the beginning of my own potential and it is growing.
I found out how strong, hard working, and dedicated I am.
I realized how brave I was.
I learned how to truly be of service, that includes being in service to myself as well as being of service when it is the last thing I actually want to do.
I learned how to suck it up.
I've learned humility and letting go of losses especially when they are unfair.
I suffered from a debilitating chronic health condition that almost ruined my business, but I survived intact.
I learned how to live around my chronic illness and to accept the boundaries that it gives me.
I am working on self care and placing limits for my best interest.
I learned how the medical industry works, and I learned how to advocate for my care in it.
I discovered the sanity inducing long walk.
I realized my body needs more care than I was giving her.
I am totally ok with a double digit dress size.
Investing in good skin care products are worth every penny.
I realized later that skin care should have also included my decollete.
I got my gene’s tested so I now have a good idea of what to keep an out for.
I had a run in with a sociopath who was hell bent on my destruction, but I survived and am much wiser for it.
I learned about the way I interact with people socially and was astounded by some of the realizations, I made. I realized how important it is to keep connections intact. In the past, I had a tendency to run away from difficult conversations. I did not know how to navigate complex friend relationships.
I learned how to fight for friendships and also to work through differences in them instead of walking away.
I made a startling realization on the kinds of friends I have attracted in the past and how I was diminishing myself by being in them.
I also made an astounding realization that these friendship dynamics are tied to older family dynamics in ways I never thought possible before.
I learned how to rebuild burnt bridges and also to forgive people more readily.
I committed to accepting people as is.
I stopped caring about being popular or well liked.
I stopped caring that my biological Father doesn’t want me and never will. Some people just don't deserve your light. I am still a worthy person who is deserving of Being, his abandonment does not influence my worth.
I learned about birds, native plants, and mushrooms-- the woods are more alive to me now.
I learned how to play lots and lots of board games.
I learned how to be a better cook.
I learned how to care for and triage wild animals. I know the species of bird just by the sound the babies make in the nest like a funny kind of superpower.
I learned new systems for readings in my business as well as approaches to clients in them.
I also learned more about my limitations, how my inner critic minimizes me, and I also learned how to manage and control anxiety that sought to cage me.
I learned that I am enough.
The desire for a child finally emerged in the last year, at 39 that stirring finally called, I am also okay with it not happening.
Siblings become incredibly important, and more so, as the years go on.
Parents begin to age and you worry about and for them, and seeing them gives you perspective about your own life choices.
It’s ok to ditch family members who have nothing positive to say or offer anything healthy to you.
That money you loaned, you know you ain’t getting it back, and that’s ok.
I still miss my Grandma every day.
Family dynamics are real and enduring.
I do not need to be understood to be loved.
Just when you think you have processed something and are over it, it will come up again for reexamination. I realize that I work on lifetime themes of which there are seasons rather than concrete exercises.
My connections only got deeper with the source of all things over time and I have a feeling it is in my 40s where this aspect really begins to take the center stage as I always knew it would.
I am learning to be less angry, more tolerant, more forgiving (especially of myself).
I no longer need to drive so fast anymore, I take my time, I let people in, it’s ok; I’ll get there.
I do not need to prove my competence, worth, or intelligence to anyone.
I make conscious decisions to step out of internet and social media--intentional slowdowns that have a remarkably positive effect on my spiritual life and outlook.
I learned to listen better to my intuition and also for signs that I am tracking the right course. I also have a much more nuanced view of spirituality and the dual nature of things it brings. I am on the hunt for lessons more than reasons why.
I no longer see things in black and white as often.
I am more compassionate and forgiving of others’ journeys.
I intentionally seek out the feeling of interconnectedness with nature.
I am an enduring expression of the Divine in physical form, so are you.
6/17/2017 05:07:27 pm
Hello Jemma. Your email about turning 40 & your findings over the last ten years, hit a chord with me. I could relate to so many past characteristics of yours, with one main difference. You wisely learnt it in your fourth decade, whilst I am still struggling with some issues that should have been long forgotten... and I am more than 40 years older than you. But you really shook up my present outlook. Well done and thanks for an interesting, honest and down to earth article.
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M.S. in Organizational Psychology and Leadership