You know what happened? I blinked and I was 40 on August 3, 2020. A friend asked me the day before my birthday if I felt forty. I thought about it and said, “Well, I’m forty and I feel like this…I feel amazing…so I guess I feel forty.” I think what he was really asking is, “Do you feel old?”
I started really thinking about his question and reflecting on how I feel being forty. I’m not sure what I thought I would feel like or if there is a way I am supposed to feel, but it has been interesting in the past couple weeks (I started writing this shortly after my birthday, but got distracted by life) really investigating all of my feelings.
My first beautiful thought was that while there is a tremendous amount of shit happening in the world right now that I cannot control, like COVID, I feel really good about the things in my life I CAN control. Quarantine has been oddly good for my relationship with my husband (other than the occasional moment when he gulps his water so loud that I think I might stab him in the face) and has really helped put us on the same page with our parenting. I wish I could say quarantine has been really great for my relationship with my 12, 9, and 7 year olds, but mostly I want to return them to Costco.
In terms of my acting career, I have spent the last three years working in earnest to build my resume, improve my skills, network, and inch my way into the Chicago theater scene. I have grown leaps and bounds as a theater artist and have met some of the most interesting, brilliant, talented, and open-hearted people along the way. When shelter-in-place began, I was two performances into a play that I felt propelled me to a new level of my ability. Right now there is no live theater, but we will be back, and I feel so proud of where I was, how hard I have worked, and where I am headed. I spent too much time comparing myself to the twenty-something young women at auditions when I should have been focusing on what I have to offer as an artist who has experienced life and family and has some forehead wrinkles to show for it.
I am in a place in my life now where I want to expend energy on those who fill my cup. I want to surround myself with people who make me better and challenge me to look inside myself to be who I want to be – the ones who can hold up a mirror for me if I cannot see myself clearly. I want to walk with friends who want me around whether I am the life of the party or so sad I can barely get out of bed. It is the people. It is the connections. It is the authentic relationships. I wish I could tell my 20-something self and, frankly, my 30-something self, to not worry about the people who aren’t my people. They are not worth my time. They are not worth my light.
Beautiful things are coming. I believe that with all of my heart and soul. I find it fitting that I turned 40 during this global pandemic; fitting that I turned 40 in 2020, the beginning of a new decade; fitting that I turned 40 on a Monday, the beginning of a new week. If ever there was a sign from the universe that I should be reflecting on where I have been and looking ahead to where I am going, this is it.
Cheers to the first 40 and the adventures that lie ahead.