Life After 40…Can You Say “Adjusting”!

When I was eight, I wanted to be thirteen; at thirteen, I wanted to be sixteen; at sixteen, I wanted to be twenty-one and now that I am forty, I want to be twelve again. Twelve: an age when most things were still new, when creating peer groups was a way to exercise parental defiance, when adults seemed unreasonable and controlling and all of life’s ‘real’ options seemed possible: a doctor, a lawyer, a business executive – careers that would make me ‘rich’ and afford me a life of excess. Yet, I settled first on social work, then workforce development, then education, then culinary arts and now ‘useable’ nutrition education – careers that foster societal awareness and facilitate individual and community growth and longevity but that won’t make me rich. In fact, there is a very thin line between doing the work and being a client. A line that currently feels more like a tightrope and I am no acrobat. . .

It’s been six months since my last blog entry and I absolutely cannot believe that it is the third week of October. Well that makes one rumor true: time does speed up after forty. And speaking of forty, thanks to you all and to each of you for making it an incredible celebration! I laughed. I cried. I danced. I sang out loud. I played and then I slept. I cramped up. My legs cramped so badly after dancing all night long that is was utterly embarrassing – a fact that was only magnified by the presence of a twenty-six year old guest. Not cute! But I survived and in hindsight, it was totally worth the pain. And now, halfway through the first year of this new decade, I sit confused, unmotivated and tired of adjusting to life’s challenges…

Back in January, when I initially started this project, it was centered primarily on my desire for support around my fitness goal – one stomach by age 40. And I am proud to report that I made it. Although it didn’t happen by the exact day I turned 40, I have nonetheless met my goal. And so again, thank you all for your support. However, with that goal behind me, I am faced with creating new ones, a fact that often paralyzes me. I have hit a crossroad and can’t seem to get my “mojo” back.

Over the course of the last five months, life has taken me on an intense roller coaster ride. A lack of work, increased housing costs, depletion of my savings, a broken heart, non-supportive and/or overly demanding relationships and lost friendships have all contributed to my current state of mind: funky. To use a cliché, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Or at least, that is how it feels. Help! I need to get back on track.

Ironically, I talk a lot about my contradictions of being, at least the ones of which I’m conscious, and that acknowledging the ‘truth’ can and often does present challenges. And while, in large part, my current process should be no different – an opportunity for introspection – it mostly feels like failure. At 40, I am divorced, barren, under-employed, single again and living in someone else’s home (two hours north of my beloved Brooklyn and a foreign country in comparison) – a complete 180 from where I was five years ago…

So I am adjusting. I have contemplated my “Thelma & Louise” moment, played the violins, had the self-pity party and sang the ‘woe is me’ ballad long enough. Now it’s time to get up and get back in line.

I need work/clients/paid projects. I need a business plan. I need to maintain an exercise routine (although I have tried to get in at least eight miles of walking each week). And just for the record, if I had to fall flat on my ass empty-handed, I could not have asked for a more supportive place to land. I live in an incredibly beautiful place with dear and supportive friends. So yes, there is a blessing in every storm. But now I must begin again. I need sails for this storm and a secure plan for the raining days ahead. I am optimistic!

Anything I missed? Any ideas? Thoughts? Referrals?

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