Last year, I counted 40 weeks to my 40th birthday. I just wanted to know. Deep inside, I assumed that I will take these 40 weeks and transform myself: sort my unfinished things to prove that I am grown up enough for the next decade and put my body into a shape reminding me of my late 20s (ha ha on that one) or at least back before daughter was born.
I didn't realise that I will still be sleep deprived, that starting nursery will take its toll, that I will be depressed and undecided whether I should grab my life and transform it or carry on with trying for another baby, miscarrying, worrying, crying..... I still don't know. And as yet, 40 weeks past, I am not a new better version of myself. I am myself. I am working on my novel day by day. I get my house in order every morning and going to nursery is fun, not an issue anymore. I meditate and exercise, I can go to swim once a week which is an unbelievable luxury for a full time mother (as is anything you can do for and by yourself - 15 hours childcare a week is a blessing).
I am not panicking about time running out. I don't think I worry about getting old, although I do see a wrinkle or a grey hair every now and then and my weight doesn't seem to be moving in any way. It is just sitting high, too high. I put it on after full time breastfeeding, while still sleep deprived, eating too much basically. The food substitutes bad sleep and there is too much bad or no sleep. That is it.
I will be 40. I never had list of goals, I was lucky, life was good, things were happening. I am a different person. Life seems more stationary, settled. It is a good thing. I don't like people who insist staying in their twenties mode, who don't want to grow up and change. I reflect more now. Reaching 20, I was looking forward. The only backward glance was towards the realisation that I didn't make it as far in the modelling industry as I once hoped and I knew that 20 was more or less the threshold. Once my booker said I would be great to play the mums in TV ads, I knew I can pack it. Only years later was I happy about the fact I never made it to the desired measurements which wouldn't be possible in any way for a woman of my height - to have as narrow hips as imagined by designers I would somehow have to change the structure of my hips as I was not fat (although I was called fat many a times). It was nice not to have to dream about loosing 10 kilos I never needed to loose, to give it all a finger. It hurt at the time, it is so not important now.
I remember how happy I felt after 30. I finally had stable relationship, I could make plans for my future. I was very happy in my skin. All of my late teens and twenties, any other female around was a competition, even a friend. By 30, I lost the need to be the prettiest girl in the room, the slimmest and tallest and best and most popular one... I was happy to pass the baton and watch the new girls to steal the limelight and I didn't care. I wished them well but I could finally see how little it all matters. Being first in anything is nice but it doesn't mean that it makes one happy, there is much more to that. Only in my thirties did meditation, reflection and silence make sense to me and I started needing it.
So what will 40 bring? Everything changed in the last decade and I can afford a little bit of nostalgia now, but looking to the future is tricky. Around 30, there was a map - finding love and moving in together would logically lead to things like setting up home, building a career in a new country and hopefully starting a family. Now this is all done. So what can I look forward to? How will our relationship continue? Most aspirations and worries are for my daughter, not for me, I know I will manage. I just want to be healthy and find a way to fulfil myself. As for looks, I want to be strong and happy in my body, I don't want to go back to my 20s thank you very much. I am still learning to live in my post baby body, realising what I can and what I can not do for real, not because of lazy excuse... But what will I be really managing in the next decade remains to be seen...