I remember waiting until I was 40 because everything in my life was going to get better. I’d know myself. I wouldn’t allow my fear to stand in my way. I’d take the plunge. I had followed the rules and done everything right, so damn it, 40 was going to bring me clarity and it would be like Shonda’s the year of Yes. I was going to live my best life because after all, I deserved it.

I’m 41 and still, it’s not what I expected. I still fight fear and sometimes it wins. As to whether life is better or not, well it depends on the bar of expectations I’ve set. The rules that I’ve followed to the T have not made my life exceedingly better. Is it time to shake up the rules? Is it time to break them? Is it time to accept things as they are and settle?

I really admire the Millenials and the Xilennials and all of those after us. They are able to pave their way and the road as they see fit. They do what they want. Do we have that luxury or do we owe it to our future generation to give them the stability to be able to do what they see fit? Is this why settling sometimes is the best we can do?

I really wish there was a handbook. Not a set of rules. Not a Bible (although I should read mine more). Not required reading, but a place to go when I need help “life-ing” at 41. I need a space to go when I need sisterhood and camaraderie and venting. And a section to go to when I need sisterhood and correction and accountability. A place where I can go to hear stories from womxn and how they’re coping with life. Sometimes I don’t have a plan. Sometimes even being purposeful and intentional doesn’t fill that longing. Sometimes I need to get off my ass and make it happen. All of those realities exist.

Maybe that’s what the other side of 40 is. Coming to terms with the fact that all of these realities do exist. And it’s okay.

Welcome to the other side of 40.

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