Celebrating 40 After the Year of No Fear

Until I hit 39 nearly every decision (or lack of decision) in my life had been directly or indirectly based on fear. Fear of isolation, loneliness, success, emotions, instability. You name a fear and I can probably tell you a decision I made based on it.

Last October as I approached my last year in my 30s, I finally said “fuck fear.” (Sorry for the profanity, but fear is powerful and you need a strong word to combat it.) I deemed my 39th year “the year of no fear.”

In two days I turn 40 and as I look at the past 12 months, I’m a bit awed by the results. Most of the past year, I was more terrified than I’ve ever been. But instead of letting fear stop me, I let it fuel me.

I’m not writing this post to brag about how great I am, though I am finally starting to accept that I am pretty great. All of us should believe we are pretty great because we are and we just get better with age. I share my year in review because if I—a person so ruled by fear—could do all this in one year, then just imagine what someone far more stable than me (perhaps you) could do!

Highlights from the year of no fear:

  • Launched this blog and with it poured out my heart, my insecurities and all my vulnerabilities into the universe, where fortunately very few people read about it. Scary as hell but this blog was the stepping stone to everything that came after.
  •  Celebrated my birthday completely alone at a yoga retreat in the mountains.
  • Took a drawing class for the first time since college
  • Told my biological clock to shove it and finally embraced the idea of mothering only one child
  • Accepted that age spots and back pain are here to stay, but I can still try to diminish both
  • Quit my job of 10 years and became my own boss. Huge.
  •  Moved back to my home state, taking my extensive amount of emotional baggage with me
  •  Drove 1,000 miles across country by myself. OK, technically my husband was in the motorcycle in front of me the entire time, but it was just me, myself and I in the car for 16 driving hours and that is terrifying!
  • Joined the PTA
  • Learned how to use my smartphone’s GPS and Navigator app, how to change the battery in and reset my heart rate monitor and how to insert a photo in my blog post. Huge breakthroughs for a technophobe
  • Left behind the comfort of close friends and forced myself to start making new ones in a new place

And last but most important, I finally began to discover, accept and embrace who I really am: A totally messed up, 40-year-old woman who still feels 32, who has found life’s sweet spot but is still trying to learn how to move gracefully within it and who will always and forever be a dancing queen

Thanks for learning to dance with me.

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