I turn 45 this week. I’ve been thinking back to when I turned 37 and my life began to change dramatically. It’s hard to believe that 8 years have gone by since then. I read once that it takes 7 years for a new city to really feel like home and I believe that to be true. I’ve been living now as my authentic self for the last 7 years and I’m finally beginning to settle in and enjoy myself.
The biggest thing I did at the age of 37 was create boundaries. I had existed my whole life without any clear idea of where I ended and someone else began so boundaries were brand new and terrifying to me. Thankfully, my amazing counsellor Joanne explained what healthy boundaries looked like and she helped me find the courage to set them and hold them when they were tested. This process helped me take control of my time and safeguard my emotions. It saved me.
I also began to experiment with saying no when I didn’t want to do something. A few months ago I looked back over my calendars since 2011 and I felt weary just paging through the many obligations, committees, coffee dates, church activities, etc. that I used to do. Learning to say no and not stress over the other person’s reaction to my decision has liberated me and I’m incredibly grateful.
Perhaps this also falls under boundaries and saying no, but over the last few years I’ve made hard choices about the people I allow into my life and these decisions have made me so happy. At first, it was painful and isolating, but over time I could feel my soul healing as I recovered from the intense people pleasing that had been my key mode in the early years of my life. Choosing not to have negative, draining, selfish people in my inner circles has made room for so many positive, kind, generous ones to take their place and my health is better every single day as a result.
Turning 45 marks a significant point in my life. I’m working steadily in the Vancouver area as a background performer in film and TV and I feel so alive as I walk out my biggest dreams. I worked on a big show a few times this month and while waiting for the bathroom at the studio I stood outside of the writers’ room, listening to them have a story meeting. My spine tingled with the excitement of it, and the thought “one day I’ll be in a writers’ room” didn’t feel far-fetched in the slightest. Instead it seemed inevitable.
I just finished my first semester of my university creative writing class. I know it’s not polite to brag, but finishing with a mark in the mid-nineties was reassuring after so many years away from school. Right now I have the feeling that I’m in the sweet spot when it comes to decades of pursuing writing, speaking and film work. It’s coming together, in a satisfying and unforced manner, and I am so content.
It’s only recently that I’ve actually decided to enjoy my life as it is, not how I once dreamed it could be. Chasing an elusive someday stokes up discontent and sadness. Staying present to notice what’s working well and paying attention to those you love who also love you in return is worth its weight in gold.
Here’s to marking the middle of my forties with gratitude, warmth and light. Our world needs us to be operating at our healthiest and happiest capacity. As a friend posted the other day, “Water only what waters you. Let go of anything that leaves you feeling thirsty.”