This I Believe

Ellen - Bethesda, Maryland
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I feel so differently from most women who were depressed turning 30, but slipped right into their 40s with grace and a smile. Here I am a 40-something who looks back on my 30s as the best decade ever, and finds the 40s to be a struggle. Just this week a dear friend called. She was living with discontent too close to the surface some days, like me. We have responsible jobs, young children, husbands, aging parents and so much of our time spent focused outward that there is nothing left for us. We were vibrant in our 30s. Fulfilled our dreams; career, marriage, family. We got what we wanted and were happy about that. Then in our 40s everything changed. No more time to think about and do what we wanted for ourselves. It became about everyone and everything else. But I believe things will change when I turn 50. I’ve never heard any of my women friends or acquaintances say they look forward to their 50s with great anticipation, but I know in my heart the pattern of my life will change again in a positive way in the next decade. My son will be more independent then. The family finances will become more routine and home life calmer. Just anticipating a new cycle is coming in 3 years, I’ve found strength to prepare for it. From nothing, I’ve made time to exercise more regularly and be thoughtful about healthy eating. From stress, I’ve made decisions to go away overnight in the country with girlfriends or spend a little money on myself. I got my motorcycle license. I told her that I believe this chapter in our lives is about taking care of things, mainly our families, and it is important and necessary work. But next decade it will be different. We have to start getting ready by practicing doing things for us again. This thought cheered her up a lot.