Sunday, May 18, 2008

Is Turning 39 More Daunting Than Turning 40?

I recently turned 39, and it has set off a flurry of both mental and physical activity. Suddenly there is a backlog of things to be accomplished before I hit the big 4-0:
  • Finish the novel I've been working on for 8 years
  • Get in amazing physical shape before all my body parts start to head south
  • Figure out my next big career milestone or...
  • Decide to quit my job altogether and see where that leads
  • Have more and better sex...ahem...

I'm not dreading turning 40. I look and feel fabulous, I'm successful professionally, and am pretty happy overall. But still, I feel frenzied to finish these and other items on my list before the big day, like a report card is about to be issued for my life and I'm going to have to pull several all-nighters to get a passing grade.

I felt similar when I turned 29. I was renting a studio apartment in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco, and suddenly after that birthday, I became frantic that I DID NOT want to turn 30 living in a studio apartment. As I recall, my pre-30 checklist looked like this:
  • Buy a house
  • Get a dog
  • Get promoted to Director
  • Have more and better sex...
Turning 30 was about entering the adult sphere more fully. Taking on more responsibility, and leaving behind the transitory existence of renting to put down roots and focus on an advancing career.

Now with almost a decade of adult-living behind me, I dream of quitting my job to work for myself and throwing financial caution to the wind, doing bikram yoga every day, getting my novel published and discussing it on Oprah, and seeing if I can get my body fat down below 20%.

Obviously the stakes get higher as each decade of life passes, and even though I will probably not abandon my hard-earned career, it feels like for me the 40's need to be about exploring alternative opportunities.

I have several women friends who are also taking a hard look at what an alternate life would look like for them. Some birthday inspired, others just restless, all of us wanting some unnamed, intangible "more."

I believe that you have to make things happen in your life, so that is what I'm about to do. Yesterday I had a random thought that if I bought, it could serve as a public inspiration and repository for the actions I'm taking to achieve this new life. Today, the web site is live, and my inspiration feels more directed.

Can I get there? What does it look like? I have no idea, but that is the inspiration for this blog, so stay tuned.

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