Laura's blog: Another Milestone
I hit a milestone birthday last week. I’d been worried about this for months. I know age is only a number, and “it’s all about how you feel” (says almost everyone), but there’s something about milestones, isn’t there? You enter that new decade: the first syllable of your age will never again start with “thir…” And when you are squarely no longer in the “young” category, it can feel a shock to be faced with your advancing years. I SWEAR only yesterday I was shopping in Tammy Girl and listening to Take That and Party.
But milestones are useful, as much as they can be scary. You get a chance to reflect and take stock, which I certainly don’t do enough of with the busyness of life and work. After 39 years and a LOT of therapy (giving as well as receiving), I know myself pretty well, and I knew what would be best for me (and most likely to prevent some kind of emotional crisis) was to build in lots of time to reflect and prepare myself for this milestone. This may sound very dramatic, but like I said, I know myself!
Milestones force you to assess. And to compare – but not yourself to others (that is a losing game!), but to yourself at different stages. How did I feel at 30? Similar to now, to be honest. At 20? I don’t remember that one! I remember turning 10, and that felt very grown up (double figures!). How do I feel at… wait for it… for..teeee? After a week of celebrations, time out and reflection – pretty darn good, considering. At peace with it.
The interesting thing is that I never really thought ahead to what I expected at age 40. I had no preconceptions of where I ought to be career-wise, life-wise, beyond 30 really. Maybe 40 just seemed *really* old. I remember when my parents turned 40.
There is a liberation I now feel actually, which is refreshing. It’s the start of a NEW decade. A Zero year, not an Eight or a Nine year. What do I want to do with this?
In the run-up to my birthday, I took a whole week off work just for me. And now I think I might make this an annual tradition. It was mostly spent alone (can you tell I have very young children and haven’t had a night alone for 4 years?), but I saw friends and family too. It was the best thing I have done in a very long time: I felt myself again.
And this has coincided with me settling into new routines and finding the freedom (and energy, and childcare) to go out more. Going to the theatre, eating out, walking around with friends unencumbered by a buggy (but, post-COVID, always with my work laptop) – it’s been great. I’m coming out of the maternity years, the COVID years, the thirties – and I am re-emerging. There is a Me that isn’t just an employee or a parent. It’s exciting. I feel grateful for what I have now, and also grateful for what came before.
How do you want to feel at your next milestone? Where do you want to make some twerks and adjustments?
Laura works in asset management. She recently moved back to her hometown in Hertfordshire, after 20 years of living in London. She is married, with 2 children and 2 rescued house rabbits. Laura is mixed ethnicity and uses the pronouns she/her.