There are only two birthdays that have compelled me to stop and compare the reality of my life at that moment against my perception of where I thought I would be at that time; 25 and 45 years old. The latter was a huge disappointment, but 45, which is how old I am today, is better, which is so weird because this year has been the worst, best year of my life. I lost a company I loved with all my heart, but I also shed things and people that don’t really matter to my purpose and intention in the excellent life I’m trying to live.
What I gained is priceless, and that’s wisdom and a clarity of what life is really about. I’ve won something a lot of people never will, and that’s the perspective on life with seemingly “everything” and “nothing,” whatever that means, anyway! The way I describe it to people is that I’ve lived on both sides of a coin – heads, and tails, so I know how to make the best of myself in both circumstances. I guess we really do live and learn!
When I recount the other prominent birthdays I’ve celebrated, most of them were just one big party and lacked any profound relevance about where my life was headed, which to me is a good thing. I take that as a sign that my life has been pretty damn good!
When I turned 10 years old everyone called me a “double-digit-midget,” and it was a huge ordeal. I didn’t get it; I was about 5 foot 7 inches tall at age 10, so I just thought everyone around me was nuts! I never had a sweet 16 party. Honestly, where I grew up, no one made a big deal out of turning 16. We were lucky to get a car, and if we did, it was an old beater that had been sitting in our parent’s driveway for like five years, with our name on it. WOO-HOO – no surprise there! I turned 20 in college, which was a total blur, and that birthday was just a continuation of celebrating the fact that I’d been underage drinking since I was 17 years old and entirely invincible. No Biggie! At 21, the party was epic, but that’s just because I knew I couldn’t get arrested if I was caught drinking, and now I could literally get into any bar I wanted…or just drag my ass to the liquor store and drink at home. It was glorious. I was finally legal!
Life was smooth sailing until I turned 25, and then it slapped me in the face. The breaks were pumped, and I skidded my ass right off the road. At a young age, I had this idealism that at 25 I should be married, with two children, have a dog named “skip” and live in suburbia. This was my aspiration. If I could make this happen, life would be perfect!
I couldn’t have been further from this ideal at that age. Instead, I was breaking up, and moving out of the house I shared with my professional athlete boyfriend, whom I thought for sure I was going to marry, but then he cheated on me. Go figure!
My short-term living situation was a stint with a good friend who was 15 years older than me and going through a mid-life crisis because she had never been married, had no children, and her billionaire boyfriend (honestly he was a billionaire), was never going to propose to her – so this was a super healthy environment for me to be in. She was a mess, I was a mess, and in her one-bedroom apartment, we made the perfect mess together!
I didn’t wallow in my stark existence for long. In my natural form, I picked myself up and kept on going – hopeful for the future and a chance at true love once again. There have been so many times over the past 20 years when I’ve looked back at that time in my life and chuckled until tears seeped from the corners of my eyes. There was NO WAY I was ready for what I thought I “should be” at 25. No way. And, if I were, I wouldn’t have the extraordinary life I have now. Who knows what my life would be like, and who cares.
We can’t hang on to should, could, would and the unhealthy ideologies of life. We have to accept that each moment happens precisely how it’s supposed to and find comfort in knowing there is a greater meaning to it all, even if it’s not revealed immediately. It’s part of the mystique our lives (and God) give us. It’s what’s supposed to keep us feeling young at heart!
My thirties were the most spectacular decade yet. I got married. Twice! Birthed my gorgeous daughter, built an incredible business, bought homes and cars, found my birth family and lineage, enriched life-long friendships, acquired new friends, traveled, bought myself new boobs, exercised regularly and still had a tight ass! It was an era to envy. I’d relive those years in a heartbeat!
At 40 years old I felt and looked fabulous, for me. It was not a birthday I dreaded like so many of us do. I was delighted with my life and my journey. Everything seemed to be exactly how it should be. Then I turned 41, and my body started breaking down on me. My hair began to thin, my skin began to thin, I went from having 20/20 vision to wearing trifocals, and two discs in my lower back started to degenerate. I looked 38 but felt 88. I seemed to always be making a visit to my doctor, and every ailment I suffered from related to either stress or the aging process. All of the indicators that I was getting older hit me at the same time. That was sobering and depressing! Luckily, I’ve plateaued, so I hope that lasts for a long, long time.
43 rolled around, and opportunity came knocking. It was the perfect time for me to branch out, make a big move and advance my career forward so I could really begin to enjoy the fruits of my labor and provide my family with more than what I had growing up. I was capitalizing on the American dream, and the timing was perfect.
I pounced, I seized, and I threw all caution to the wind. The ride was epic for a while then quickly turned grueling, and gut-wrenching, and ultimately went up in flames. There I was, almost 45 years old, with no business, no home, no money, and on the brink of bankruptcy.
That was less than three months ago. It’s safe to say this is not remotely where I thought I would be and what my life would like at 45. But, unlike my 25-year-old self, I’m totally OK with it. I’m better than OK with it. I’m celebrating it!
I’ve learned oodles of information about myself and this crazy world of ours in the last 20 years, and infinite amounts more in the entire 45 years I’ve been blessed to walk this planet. The longer I’m here, the longer I realize that its the wrinkles, blemishes, pitfalls, valleys, failures, and losses that feed our ability to be absolutely fucking fabulous, authentic and unique and are the sources for us to create the most epic life possible.
At 45, I no longer seek what’s ideal or try to create perfection. I know it doesn’t exist and it never will. There’s no taking the easy route or hanging in my comfort zone. I’m a warrior with a purpose and will continue to take risks even if it hurts. I’ve learned so much. I won’t make the same mistakes, but I haven’t lost my guts. I don’t care what people think of me because it’s not their standards I’m trying to live up to. I’m living in the moments that are given to me each day and transforming them into something full of beauty and meaning- for me, my family and loved ones, and the world I get to be a part of! If this is my legacy, I’m kinda cool with it.
There’s no better birthday gift, than this opportunity and blessing to sit at my desk and tap away on my keyboard so I can sprinkle some light, love, and laughter on you, by sharing what turning 45 means to me. Enjoy my birthday with me!
With all the love in my heart! XOXO