So I turned 50 this February. Yeah, you heard me right. The big 5-0. How could this have happened? I know the scientific reasons and the biological reasons and all that other nonsense but it seems like just yesterday I was partying with friends in a crowded club while Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax blared over the speakers.
Despite what celebrities, the health gurus and the media tell me, 50 is not the new 30. I have not awakened to find that suddenly I have acquired great wealth, the abdominal muscles of Ruby Rose nor the wisdom of the ages. No, I am still me. In terms of feeling insecure and unsure of the future, well, then yes, I am exactly like a 30-year-old.
I wish I could say that your confidence level grows as you age but I would be lying. Inwardly I am constantly questioning myself and the decisions that I make. I look around and I see other women in my age group. Some of them are married, some of them are career women and some of them appear to be satisfied with the paths that they have taken in life. If they are happy, that is wonderful! As for me, I am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
Recently, I left the world of corporate finance. I could no longer endure the endless meetings, the PowerPoint presentations from hell and the backstabbing office politics. What I really wanted to do more than anything was write, I had always enjoyed writing from a child. Of course, I did not really know if I could make a living out of it, but I was willing to take that risk.
The thought of not having a steady income is terrifying. It reminds me of when I was doing theatre in my 20’s and going from part time job to part time job just to have gas money. The difference between then and now? Then, I had parents so even though I had to pay them rent, they would be lenient if I was a tad short. Now, if I have trouble making my rent, I will be kissing my house goodbye and trying to live out of my Toyota hatchback with my husband and our Boston Terrier. (Just for the record, the hatch is great for fuel economy. What the hatch is not? A home! Although the seats fold down, I would not recommend it as a bed!)
If I was going to start on this path, then I was not going to do it half assed. I made a commitment to write every day. I didn’t try to edit myself, I just allowed my thoughts to come pouring out of my unfiltered brain. Because of my background in finance, I was able to get some articles published on call centre websites. From that point, I started submitting my work to other publications.
After doing that, I found myself in what I like to call “submission limbo.” I had pitched ideas to willing publications and now I was in a holding pattern. I was waiting to see if they liked me enough to publish me. Sometimes I would get a pat response such as, “Thank you for your essay. If we are interested, we will be in touch.” Other times, I would hear nothing. I understand that most editors are extremely busy doing editorial things but I’m an adult. Instead of stringing me along, just tell me that my work sucks and that there is no way in hell you would publish my shit. It would hurt but in the end I would not feel like I am doing a walk of shame after a drunken one-night stand.
I spend most days typing away on my laptop in my living room working on content for my blog and other writing projects. It is far from glamorous. I do not have a press agent, I do not have a social media maven, I do not have a manager, it is just me.
I am a one-woman machine! I am certain that colleagues from my past think that I am sitting poolside sipping margaritas and pretending to be busy. That is definitely not the case! I spend a great deal of my waking hours conjuring up topics to write about.
Sometimes, especially at night, I find myself becoming worried. Did I do the right thing? Was it immature of me to quit my job? What is going to happen? Will I run out of things to say? I have always been prone to over analyzation. I feel that if I don’t have control over most situations then everything is going to turn into a dumpster fire. As hard as I try, my insecurities are always just behind door number three.
Because I am 50 I feel as if I should have had this whole hot mess sorted out. Instead, in my typical “maverick” fashion, I am going through a mid-life crisis (of sorts!). Even though I do not have all the answers, I can tell you that despite the uncertainty, I am excited again! I never know what is coming around the corner, but that is an adventure. I like getting up in the morning and feeling like I have a purpose in life. I am no longer working for someone else and their twisted agenda, I am doing what I want to do.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I have had a change of perspective. No one can wave a magic wand and have whatever is stressing them out go completely away. It is an uphill battle but one that I must fight every day. Life is way too short to second guess myself. It is also too short for me to bitch and moan about the fact that I am getting older and that the grey hair is creeping in more and more.
I am learning that I may not be the best looking, the most talented or the smartest being on the planet but what I am is me. It took me 50 years to accept who I am. I do not know how this journey will end but if I can impart one pearl of wisdom, do not let insecurity hold you back. Do what makes you happy. In the end being happy is worth more than being a size two, famous or wealthy. Embrace your imperfections and wear them proudly. When you find that little voice inside your head is telling you that you are not good enough just say, “Bye, Felicia” and send that bitch packing.