Things I Couldn’t Have Dreamed of at Forty

When I think of my 40 year old self, I shake my head. If she had any idea what was coming her way!

But there she was, completely oblivious, wrapped up in parenting three small boys, wondering when she was ever going to have time again for her career, dreaming about the day when she’d have time to exercise and read and write, convincing herself that her marriage was good enough, and would get better once the kids were older.

There was so much that I couldn’t have conceived of at 40:

1. That my husband of 17 years would leave me.

At 40 it never occurred to me that my husband wouldn’t be faithful,  loyal and “there for me” even when we were 80. It’s not that I was exactly looking forward to getting to 80 with him. I was so preoccupied with parenting three small children that I didn’t have time for such esoteric imaginings. But if at 40, you’d suggested to me that my husband would walk out of our marriage less than two years later, I would have laughed in disbelief.

2. That I would survive the divorce.

Even if you could have convinced me that I was going to end up divorced, you could not have made me believe that I’d survive the experience. At forty, my life revolved so completely around my family, that the thought that it would be “torn apart” would have devastated me. In fact, when it did happen, it was the loss of my sense of  family that I grieved the most.

And yet here I am, nearly five years later. I’ve survived. Indeed I’ve thrived. My children are happy and healthy and well-adjusted. And my family just looks a little different these days.

3. That I’d end up in a documentary.

That’s a long story, for another blog post down the road. But I did end up in a documentary – about divorce. If nothing else, it made the whole process of getting divorced more compelling. I mean, if you have to get divorced anyway, then you might as well get flown back and forth to Vancouver by Heli-Jet to do so. And you might as well get that divorce under the diva lights. (I LOVE the diva lights… In fact, I’m convinced now that I missed my calling. I was supposed to be a weather girl.)

4. That I’d uncover parts of me that had been so long buried I didn’t even know they existed.

I ran into a recently divorced friend at the grocery store the other day.  “I feel like I’m learning so much about myself, so much about who I am and what I want,” she told me. I hear you, sister!

5. That I’d pose for boudoir photos.

“Yeah? No. No way. Not ever. Hello! I’m 40! I have three children! There is nothing remotely sexy about me!”

How little I knew about myself at forty…

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About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
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