My Bittersweet 40th Birthday
When I was a teenager and I looked at people in their thirties I considered them to be really, really, old. As time went by, people in their thirties didn’t seem old anymore, simply, more experienced. Today, on the eve of my BIG 4-0, I’m hit with the brutal reality that I’m not only older and yes, more experienced, but I must come to terms with the undeniable fact that my youth is long gone. Its true the 40’s are the new 30’s, I absolutely feel young in my mind, but the physical aspect is still tough to swallow. Adolescence, university, early job experiences, the last time I was intimate with another man, are nearly 20 years away. That’s a looong time. A part of me feels scared and vulnerable thinking “could it be, it’s all down hill from now on?” Now I understand why some people succumb to the so-called midlife crisis!!! (Let me get a hold of myself). Of course, the answer lies on my attitudes and how I decide to continue to live my life from now on.
Throughout my thirties, where I experienced motherhood, professional growth and halts, my dose of marital bliss as well as challenges, identity crisis, loss of loved ones, economic woes and my life simply became more chaotic in every sense, I lived in total denial with some sort of perception that I was still young by definition. What I realize now, is that in return of me foregoing my youth, life has given me the opportunity, to be able to construct a more defined concept of self with the experiences I have endured and enjoyed during the past 40 years, which will hopefully serve as a blueprint to lead a life filled with purpose in the years that come ahead.
Bear with me… So far, I have figured out that I am a Type B Puerto Rican heterosexual woman who likes to sleep (but can’t), to cook (and eat) and to spend time with her loved ones (preferably outdoors and accompanied with a glass of good wine). I know as a fact, I don’t care what others think of me, I like meeting new people, learning new languages and traveling or visiting new places is my passion. My children are my legacy, so I spend lots of time trying to figure out how I’m NOT going to f*#k up their lives, at least permanently. I want them to know that they are unique human beings with individual talents and that anything is possible if they work hard at it. I believe in positive energy that moves me forward. That NOW is the most important moment, yesterday is gone and tomorrow it’s a new beginning. I have experienced that to be successful in business, you need to take calculated risks, dissect information, determination, perseverance, networking, good intentions and a little bit of luck, all at the same time. I never cheat. I enjoy having sex with my husband, believe my girlfriends are my soul mates and value my solitude (if I ever get to be alone). True, genuine, transparent people that put their money where their mouth is have my utmost respect. In my book, character is ranked higher than intellect. In everything, I prefer quality over quantity. I wish I could read more, pray more, exercise more and say thank you, I’m sorry and I love you more, but work hard on improving everyday. I seize the moment and give my best in everything I do. I’m an idealist and a serial multi-tasker. My concept of time is weird and I’m always in a hurry. I cry at movies, gush at babies and get a kick out of complimenting people. I’m really bad at telling jokes and despise snakes. I always stand up when greeting others, look people in the eye, shake with a firm hand, kiss and hug friends, smile to strangers, say please and thank you and am a reliable person. I love to dance. I believe there is always a cause and effect. I consider volunteering and a better education system key in helping improve our communities. I worry about the environment, injustice and poverty. I support and guide my children’s initiatives, feed their curiosity, expect them to be happy, respectful, responsible and I truly want them to walk their own path, not the one I wish I had taken if I could turn back time. I don’t live in fear, I live in hope. I encourage my husband to unleash the part of him I know is still hiding inside but he is afraid to show. I have embraced the fact that women are from Venus and men are from Mars by appreciating the differences. Marriage is very hard and always a work in progress. Less is more, unless its dessert. My Mom is my best friend. My Dad is my role model. I want my parents to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor in health and happiness. I honor the elders in my family, have empathy for the people that are suffering and TRY not to pass judgement unto others (each person has his/her own journey). I’m a functional disorganized person and a recovering borderline-hoarder, but believe me, I’m working tirelessly on improving those to lead a simpler life. I have learned to say NO. I believe it’s because of lack of tolerance and excessive greed there are wars in the world. I’m kind to everyone, everywhere. Hugh Jackman is hot! I now get the things I need and seldom the things I want. I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t agree with most religious dogmas, although I have respect towards the religious beliefs of others. I see human beings, not black, white, muslims, gays or democrats and people should be allowed to live with dignity and pride for who they are and where they come from. I understand common sense is the least common of all senses, so I stopped expecting it from others. I don’t believe everything I read. What we DO constitutes who we are; actions speak louder than words. I loooove music, I know all the lyrics, but can’t carry a tune. I have photographic memory and still write down everything in an agenda (no electronic for me yet). I enjoy reading about history, current events, self help, biographies and light hearted novels, although I don’t have much time, (did I mention I don’t get to sleep much?). I like to play sports, but not to compete. In a nutshell, this is what defines me. This is me so far…
I’ve been fortunate to have been born in a family filled with love, emotional security, compassion and opportunity. I have learned from my parents about generosity, from my grandparents about integrity, from my aunts and uncles about perseverance, from my brothers about acceptance and from my children about unconditional love. Also, throughout my life, I’ve learned from my friends about trust and loyalty and from my husband about commitment. My parents gave me the powerful gift of education, but not only in a classroom, but about how a great life should be lived in unity and service to others. I have given them my share of disappointments, but I think the joyful moments have surpassed the sad ones which in my opinion is the best way to look at life. To have the happy moments out weight the unhappy ones.
As I look back, I see a life filled with fabulous people and places that have shaped who I am. Truly karma exists; when you give good it all comes back to you multiplied and I can honestly say I have always tried to give good to the world around me. The rocks that have obstructed my path, some have been very difficult to climb, I have been able to overcome them with a little help from my family and friends. So many people have come into my life as lessons, great lessons! My only regrets are the moments in which I have hurt, offended or disrespected someone (knowingly or unknowingly) with words or actions and for that please accept my sincere apologies.
Today I celebrate life! My heart is filled with gratitude. Yes, it’s a bittersweet birthday. Bitter because I don’t want to get older and sweet because I have so much going on for me at this point in my life (health, work, family and friends), what more can I ask. As I start a new rotation around the Sun, I will continue searching for the meaning of life, living the moment and making the best of this new stage in my life where I still have physical and mental health (some might challenge this statement, Ja!). All I can say is thank you and send my love to all of you that have touched, blessed and inspired my life in some way during the past 40 years. Cheers! To health, prosperity, peace and love!
Ah! If you wanted a recipe with this post, I’ll tell you how I make my delicious Cinnamon Toasts!
1. Spread some butter on bread and sprinkle with cinnamon and granulated sugar. I turn the dial medium in the toaster oven for a golden toast. Enjoy during breakfast or as a snack with your afternoon tea or coffee.