Monday, November 16, 2009

What's the alternative?

Peter and I were chatting yesterday, about where we were in our lives when we met each other. He said something quite profound that has been circling around my brain since. He said it sounded like I was looking for an alternative to the relationship I had. Even an alternative within the same relationship, but I needed change and a different course. How true. Smart cookie. No wonder I adore him.

It's true, and feels even more so the closer I get to 40. So many of my friends are celebrating this huge milestone. Every week there seems to be yet another invitation arriving to help someone celebrate the BIG 4 - 0. I remember thinking that as 39 drew closer this year, that I was speeding on a course in a direction to a place I wasn't comfortable with. I was getting more anxious and distressed as time went on. I was looking for the hand brake to slow everything down. But as it turns out, I found the ejector seat button, and in a speedy blur my life changed forever.

40 is a funny number. And it's interesting to watch my friends approach this birthday and see how they handle it. It is a number you don't think about much as you live your 20's and 30's and somehow it seems to have snuck up behind us all. Many are contemplating their place in the universe and figuring out if how they see themselves is how they 'feel' 40 year olds should look (am I too old to wear band t-shirts and get drunk?). But in reality, should it be much different to how you felt when you turned 39? Or 21 or 18 for that matter. For some reason these BIG birthdays seem to carry more weight.

Peter asked me where I thought I was heading, before we met. And I had to answer honestly. With the stress I felt, I had imagined that some form of emotional breakdown may have been on the cards, especially as 40 came creeping closer. It's awful to think about, but perhaps in a way that's one of the reasons I haven't had a huge emotional wig-out after leaving my Ex. Even with all the crap I've had to deal with, it's such a relief to not feel myself hurtling in that direction any more.

I'm tired, yes, but I'm smiling. I wanted an alternative and I got one. It wasn't one that I ever imagined, but perhaps it was one I always dreamed of. I just have a lot of work to get there. My friend Kate once said, that the things you work hardest for are the things you deserve the most, because doing the hard yards makes you appreciate what you've got. And it's very true. I have so many moments with my friends and with Peter that bring me joy and make me feel loved. It's truly amazing. And any difficult moments are worth working through, to have the relationships I have now. It has been a time of growing closer to people, and also understanding and challenging myself. Hopefully I am growing, and who knows where my headspace will be when May 22 roles around next year in time for my 40th. But I can take a guess that I'll be happy. And it's so much better than the alternative.