I’ve got to be honest. When I saw the reminder to write this ‘birthday post’ in the editorial calendar, I instantly felt a sense of dread. For one, I feel like I have nothing exciting to share. I’m turning 38 this year and I sort of want to ignore it. It’s not necessarily about aging and getting close to 40, although despite my best efforts, that does sometimes freak me out. As much as I want to be a self-assured, there is a lot of shit that society puts onto women who are in their forties. I can’t help but think about it. Especially when some of my younger friends have already been doing Botox for years and I’m still not considering it.
“You know you’re supposed to do it when you’re younger, right?” they say.
“No, but anyway, I’m trying to embrace aging gracefully,” I say without as much gusto as I should.
“You’re cute,” they say affectionately while also thinking I’m going to regret it.
Who knows, maybe I will regret it, but for now, I’m fighting against what society has programmed to make me feel about getting closer to the big 4-0.
What’s really been on my mind has been this rut that I’ve been in lately. I hadn’t even considered that it was a rut until I spoke to my husband recently. So many of the things that used to excite me have lost their spark. I can’t seem to find inspiration as easily as I used to, I hardly take photos anymore causing me to have nothing new to share online, and I’ve not been able to figure out my purpose. I know this sounds a bit dramatic and pitiful, but hey, we all get stuck sometimes. I bring it up on my birthday because I can’t help feeling like it may have to do with my age and values. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and self-work the past two years and it’s got me shook.
Many of the things I use to share feel a bit trite. Maybe it’s my age and maybe it’s these tough times that we’re in. It’s hard not to think of everything as trivial in comparison. Maybe it’s the demands of having children while juggling work and trying to stay relevant? That would make anyone tired. Maybe it’s that I’ve been sharing online for almost 11 years and I’m running dry? Despite all that, I realize that we have to keep moving and keep making things. It’s just, I want to do it in a way that feels right for me. That’s been the big disconnect.
What’s the point of this birthday moan? Hopefully, it’s to help me sort things out, but I also hope it will be helpful to you. Maybe you too are in a rut and don’t know it. Or maybe you’re looking for a way out? I’ve decided that 38 is going to be my “Year of New.” It’s my year for novelty. If I fill this year with busy, mindless tasks and recipes for what once worked, I won’t be able to see what could be my exciting next chapter.
Here are a few things I want to do more of at 38 (that will hopefully get me out of my rut):
- Network more: It’s time to meet new people and strike up conversation. I often neglect this, but I know this will be super helpful and interesting.
- Get outside: As an introverted homebody, I sometimes find I’ve barely seen the outdoors for days. While I feel pretty comfortable inside, I know that it can sometimes give me cabin fever. My husband actually thinks this is one of the biggest causes of my rut. More time outside, more happy endorphins.
- Try something new: I have a bunch of things I want to try this year. Things like cooking more, learning photography skills and playing the ukulele.
- Plan more vacations: OK, I know this one sounds weird, but delayed gratification and having something to look forward to can be really motivating. I’m terrible at planning vacations, but they truly do leave me refreshed and inspired. Time to book my next trip!
- Read more: This is one I’ve already started (you can follow me on Goodreads). Reading a book allows me to get away from blur lights, from social media, from busy tasks. I have to be present. It feels so enriching. I hope it will lead me to some new ideas down the road.
- Activism: Helping others through volunteering or being an activist for something I feel passionate about are really big for me this year. This will give me a greater purpose and take the attention off myself for a change.
As frustrating as being in a rut is (especially around your birthday), it can be a nice wake-up call. Hopefully with a little novelty, adventure and altruism, I can get back on track!