This week, I turn 40.
39 was the hardest year in all of my thirties.
A year ago, on March 1, I was so excited for my next year. I wrote in my journal, "39, bring it on! I'm ready to love you and live you!
I had (and thankfully still have) my health, a growing coaching practice, incredible friends, and a cozy condo in one of the greatest cities on the planet. I was leaving that next weekend for an adventurous trip to Iceland with my boyfriend. I was in love with him and waiting for a proposal any day. Life was pretty dreamy a year ago.
39 did not turn out the way I hoped.
There was a lot of surprise sadness and stress throughout last year, starting with my dear cat getting sick soon after we got back from Iceland. Twelve days after noticing a limp, I had to let him go.
The most dramatic example of 39 came in October. My grandfather died, my condo basement flooded, and my boyfriend broke up with me... all in the course of one week.
I was a country song.
A year ago, two of my dear friends gave me a birthday card. I recently re-read what it said in that same "39, bring it on!" journal entry. I'd written about the card because it meant so much that my friends thought this of me.
Their card said, "The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.”
If you knew me in my twenties, you would not have said that about me.
I was the least resilient person I knew back then.
I had a lot of difficult challenges in my twenties and they each took me years to move through.
Being resilient doesn't mean we get to skip the sadness, disappointment, anger, and other feelings that are triggered by a stressful situation.
Being resilient means we spend less time in those feelings. We have them, but we don't get stuck in them. We feel them, move through them, learn from them, and move on.
As hard and disappointing as 39 was, now on the verge of my 40th, I'm grateful to report that I'm a-okay.
As hard and disappointing as it was, it was actually a revelation that I'm stronger than I've ever been.
I'm not where I thought I would be at 40. Of course, I have fears.
Will some of the things I want most in life ever happen for me?
I don't know what will happen, but once again, I'm so excited for next year.
Don't worry. I'm not setting myself up for disappointment. I don't have expectations for exactly what will happen.
I realize that 40 (and my forties) won't be perfect.
It's all good. I'll continue to put one foot in front of the other, learn from everything that happens, and revel in all that's to be celebrated and appreciated.
I'm going to write the same thing in my journal this birthday as I wrote when I turned 39.
"40, bring it on! I'm ready to love you and live you!"
Sheila Devi is a career transition coach. She helps clients all over the world to move through career transitions with resilience -- so they can step into what they want most in life and enjoy it.
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