Turning 40 is a right of passage, its getting closer to middle age, which can elicit panic and fear amongst many people. I didn’t want to be the person to freak-out on her fortieth birthday. The number is a big turning point. So like most things in my life; I set some goals. On my 39th birthday, I became reflective and introspective-asking myself, “What have I been ignoring or placing on hold that I need to connect with, so I can embrace and welcome my 40th birthday?”
The answer was clear-I had a yearning and desire to write which I had put on the back burner for decades, I had been pursuing graduate school, work and raising a family. All beautiful, meaningful aspects of my life, but something was missing, and that was why I started to feel the mild panic of turning 40. Instead of focusing on the number, I thought, what is this trepidation here to tell me about what I need to do differently?
In my thirty-ninth year, I set small goals. I started swimming again, which I hadn’t done since high school. I also started an amazing book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, a twelve-week self-guided book on rediscovering one’s creativity. I liken the book to a self-help cognitive behavioral course for artists, I highly recommend The Artist’s Way. It changed my life. Through taking the time to journal and work through the exercises in the book, I reconnected with a significant part of myself I had forgotten about the writer. I had been yearning to write and express myself but never made the time.
In the years that followed, I took classes on writing children’s books, joined a writers group, sent in manuscript after manuscript of children’s books to publishing houses, submitted personal essays to magazines and websites, and created this site, MomsWellBeing. Not all of the work I nurtured made it out into the world, yet I believe one day when the pieces are ready, they will find a home.
Several years into writing, I received a lot of rejections. At first the rejections stung and were upsetting. I interpreted the rejections as the world telling me my writing wasn’t good enough, or maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer. And then I put those crazy thoughts away and shifted the way I received rejections. Every rejection was proof I was taking a risk, following my dreams and working towards a larger goal. Instead of rejections being good or bad, they were proof I was committed to myself and the process of following my dreams.
My latest writing project came from my dear friend Lynn, who encouraged me to write for Today Parenting Community. My first thought, “Oh, I don’t know, would anyone read it, would it be good enough?” Then I kicked those crazy thoughts to the curb and wrote. I’m thankful for Lynn’s encouragement and take the risk. My post can be found at the link below.
Birthdays are a gift; they are the ritual of passing of time, a gift not given to everyone. Far too many people leave this world too soon for reasons we can’t comprehend, So whatever age you are, appreciate the gift of living. If you’re dreading a birthday or achieving a certain age, chances are there is some regret or wish, something you yearn for and need to pay attention to. Take some time to reflect on your hearts desire, what may be missing, and work to set small goals to achieve it. Perhaps you have not been living fully, working too hard and lost focus of enjoyment and fun. Or, maybe you are not true to yourself, haven’t resolved a pain or regret from the past. What you don’t pay attention to now, will eventually make so much noise and disruption in your life, you will have no choice but to pay attention to what is yearning inside. One thing I am sure of, even the smallest actions can add up over time to make life-changing differences.
© Copyright Dr. Claire Nicogossian