As I sit here, the day before my 40th birthday, I marvel at the last decade in all of its tumultuous glory. With “the big day” approaching, I find myself constantly being asked how I am doing, or how do I feel about turning 40, or my favorite, “Are you ok?” The truth?…
I feel fucking fantastic!!!
Yes, my life is not exactly how I pictured it would be at this age. And yes, I am noticing new wrinkles on my face, a few more stretch marks, and new aches, as my body recovers a little slower from workouts. But because of all the hard work and learning that occurred in my 30’s, I am reveling with these new friend, as my badges of honor and wisdom.
When I reflect on all of the experiences and growth of the last decade, I am not only incredibly proud of myself, but I have come to the realization that my 30’s were really fucking hard!
I have raised two amazing daughters to the ages of 10 and 12 (with much more to come, of course); lost my identity, beat myself up with years of shame and guilt after a few affairs; walked away from a “cushy” marriage; suffered through bouts of depression; gained and lost over a hundred pounds, and then yo-yo’d a bit more; fractured my tibia where the ACL attaches; became a triathlete a year later; rebuilt my life; trained to be a boxer; got my first tattoo; owned my home without the anyone else on the mortgage; sold my home, when I felt I was damn good and ready; started my own business; had 5 jobs simultaneously; worked through anger, shame and guilt, and low-self esteem; rebuilt my life again, started a yoga and meditation practice; let old friendships fall away, because they no longer served me on my path; made incredible, new deep connections with friends; fallen in and out of love a few times; fallen in and out of lust many more times; rescued two rats and a pooch; healed tremendous wounds; learned to shoot a gun, left my victim story in the past, and so so much more…
Most importantly, I learned to love myself.
Out of all of my achievements, this is the one that ties everything together. Learning to love myself affects every aspect of my life and thus, my relationship with myself and men is the accomplishment most noted at the conclusion of this era.
While I still have so many dating and relationship stories to share, and I will get to them eventually, I have consciously made the decision to be on my own and not in a relationship. I have kept to this promise for 8 months now, and am beginning to deeply appreciate the benefits.
For starters, the last man I was with turned out to be a complete psychopath. In fact, the few before him fit that description to some degree, as well. I was even attracting crazy business partners who were women. At that time, I needed to take a hard look at myself, and instead of the self-judgment blame question of “What is wrong with me that I am attracting these nut-cases?” I asked the gentle, loving question, “What is the lesson I need to learn in all of this?”
The answer came as loud as can be:
YOU NEED TO LOVE AND RESPECT YOURSELF! AND UNTIL YOU GET THAT FIGURED OUT, YOU WILL CONTINUE TO ATTRACT CRAZY PEOPLE!
So, I began my year of chastity and a no-crazies diet. Surprisingly, it wasn’t challenging. I thought I was going to suffer greatly each month, as my hormones screamed at me that it was time to go and get laid, no matter the cost. I found solace in a few good Netflix series, and spent my alone evenings with my imaginary TV boyfriends. If needed, I could always rely on my box-o-toys for a good release, but didn’t feel the need for that very often.
I actually found myself at peace during this time of cocooning, and was given the gift of time to work on myself and my relationship space in a deep way.
In the past, I have so easily given myself away to men, out of lust, or my deep, wounded 14-year-old girl issues, or the ever favorite, “he wont like if I don’t put-out” phenomenon (guessing that one is from high school as well). It finally sank in when my life coach reminded me that I am a soulful being, and a sexual being as well. Anytime I have sex with someone, I can’t help but give a piece of my soul away to that person, whether it’s the hot, one-night stand with the ripped football player, or a weekend of ecstasy with someone I am deeply in love with. This begged the question of who do I really want to give my soul away to? Certainly not the douchebags from the past or any that cross my path in the future.
As the months passed, I began to recognize that I was ready to attract the right partner, and nothing less than that would do. Because my celibacy has lasted so many months, I knew that I would not allow deep intimacy with just anyone; I would not rush into any lustful or sexual situations, because I feel like a virgin again. And only the right man would be granted access to the temple. I was so excited by this premise, because my first round of losing my virginity didn’t go so well, and set me up for years of poor decisions and self-esteem issues.
I get to lose my virginity all over again! And this time, I make the choice to do it in a healthy, conscious and loving way.
And, thus (coined by a good friend), I celebrate my birthday as a 40-year-old virgin!
After a good laugh, I sank into the idea. I welcome 40 with open arms. I have no plans or expectations of when and how I re-lose my virginity, but I do know it will be my choice, out of love and not desperation; and definitely not to please someone else.
And so, my answer to the concerned people of my turning the dreaded 40 is, “Damn straight, I’m thrilled beyond belief to turn 40!” I enter this new phase of my life with strength, confidence, wisdom, and most importantly, self-love.