Turning 40 hits everyone in different ways. It’s that mid-life crisis year, right?… Men get cars and women get…what’s the stereotype here? A rowing machine?
My fear of turning 40 actually started before I turned 39. I started mentally freaking out about the milestone of 40. I became so desperate for knowledge that I would ask every 40 year-old I knew what the hell was good about it. I was struggling to find that silver lining. Quitter gave me this: You truly stop giving a shit.
It seemed like a romantic notion but I also felt like I had been doing that when I was 24, 31 and 36 (but only those years…the rest of the years , I did all the caring). What I mean is, for as long as I can remember, I knew not taking too much stock into what other people thought of me was the way to go. Except, the philosophy was preaching in my head but was I living it? Nope. For those years, 24, 31, 36 and all of them in between (and before), I gave a serious shit about what people thought of me. How I looked. If I said something stupid. I’m a people pleaser (a term I oddly only heard for the first time about 5 years ago) and struggle with people not liking me. Not giving a shit seemed impossible. I gave too many shits.
But as I turned 39 and creeped closer to 40, another intervened.
I had started reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” which is an exploration of creativity, how humans might be looking at it all wrong, and the gift it provides when you truly embrace your passion or simply create for creating sake.
I love to create in many different forms but writing has always been top. But why did I not pursue it? I switched obsessing about turning 40 and began obsessing about why I was holding back with writing. And I think like most of us when we question why we’re holding back, it always leads back to fear.
So I was fearing turning 40 and I was fearing sharing my writing. And like a cosmic pancake batter in my brain that finally mixed together so I could make a damn pancake, I realized reading that book AND turning 40 were both going to be gifts. To be able to share my writing and my whacked out thoughts, I had to stop giving a shit.
And that’s what I’m working towards. Becoming a better writer AND giving less of a shit. They had to come together. They did for my birthday.