At 0 years old, I was totally dependent on others for survival.
By 10, I thought I was so damn smart.
When I was 20, I had no idea where my life was headed.
Though I had direction by 30, I was totally overwhelmed by life.
And now that I’m 40. Do I have amazing wisdom? Am I totally poised? Have I reached the pinnacle of success or am I at least on the path to it? I don’t know. Maybe. But here’s the thing: I just don’t care so much.
That’s why I feel good about turning 40. When I say I “don’t care”, I don’t mean that I don’t care about life, the direction in which my life is headed, or whether I’m making an impact. I think you should care about those things to lead a happy life.
It’s just that, at 40, I understand the value of caring in proportion. I’ve felt the pain of efforting through life and learned that things often work out even if they fall apart first. So, now I don’t have to worry about “being somebody” and can instead just be myself.
To be perfectly honest, I am still totally dependent on others. Though I am damn smart, I have no clue where life is headed. And I am still totally overwhelmed by life. But now I know that this is how life is supposed to be.
I’ve written a lot on this blog about how mindfulness has helped me. Though this aspect of mindfulness is perhaps the most ineffable, it may also be the most impactful. For most of my life, I have been a fighter. I would complain when things were not to my liking. I would resist when things were not under my total control. And I would doubt and blame myself when I struggled.
Over time, mindfulness helped me learn to rest a little more and fight a little less. I didn’t always have to evaluate how I was doing. I didn’t always have to make every experience ideal. I could learn to relax a little bit, let life unfold, and at times let my loved ones carry me.
And when I sat to meditate, over the course of the last ten years, I saw the beauty in vulnerability, the brilliance of a clear mind, the expansiveness of not knowing, and the gifts that desperation can sometimes bring. If anything, this means I don’t feel old because those younger parts of me are still here. Even better, I’ve learn to let them sometimes have a voice.
I also don’t feel sad because I haven’t lost anything. I’ve gained life experience and the skills to face what life brings. So, I feel good about turning 40. I’m proud and happy that this year I can just blow out the candles, enjoy the day, and face with a full heart whatever the next decade brings.
Want to learn more about mindfulness and compassion? Check out my new book, How to Be a Badass Lawyer, which is available now.
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