This week I received a letter from myself. I’d completely forgotten about writing it but quickly remembered it was part of the MBSR course I completed a few months ago. In the final session we were tasked to write a letter to ourselves summarising our main takeaway from the course that the teacher would then post a few months later. 

This letter to me from myself arrived this week and couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. The main lesson I wanted to take with me was that I hoped that worry no longer consumed me. That I’ve been able to acknowledge, recognize and dismiss worry for what it is - a complete waste of precious time and energy. 

I read this letter as I was talking to Matt about how concerned I was about some work thing that is happening weeks from now. I stopped almost mid sentence and realised that I had been caught on the rumination train yet again! There I was worrying about something that I couldn’t change and to be honest, wasn't even my responsibility to fix, so in essence I was just doing some extra worrying for Matt. Which it turns out he’d rather I didn’t do. He has got plenty to worry about without me adding to the pile.

‘Worry’ is something I have to be careful of. It tends to creep into my life through cracks of uncertainty. When something, sometimes completely unrelated, just doesn’t quite go to plan. When I doubt myself or my capabilities, ‘worry’ seizes the opportunity to latch on like that two day old cereal that's stuck to the side of the kids chair. It will never come off by itself, it requires focused attention (or a soapy hot water soak) to break down into pieces until it's loose enough to be wiped away.

I really appreciated receiving that letter this week and thought I’d take this opportunity to write another one to myself as a way to capture the moment I turned forty - which I did. Today. 

Dear Jess, 

It's hard to believe I'm forty isn’t it? It doesn’t quite sound right but then again I’ve been in denial for quite some time, hoping that I’m still 26 years old, living care-free in Melbourne without kids or stress. How did I reach forty so quickly? It’s not a bad thing by any means - I’m just genuinely surprised.

It's a strange age ‘forty’. A good, solid halfway point in life’s journey. I remember my parents' fortieth birthday parties. They’re as shocked as you by the way, that they have a forty year old daughter! In their eyes you’re still this cute little girl - kind of like Alice is now. 

In my parents' eyes forty is young - there is so much living to do forty to fifty. Fifty to sixty. Sixty to seventy! The kids on the other hand ask when all of my hair is going to go grey (which is soon). In their few years on earth, forty is incredibly old. In fact, if you randomly asked the kids how old they thought I was, it's normally at least fifty or sixty years old.

I know forty is just a number but it evokes a fair amount of reflection. Turning twenty and thirty were no brainers but forty feels more weighty. Like the decisions I’m making now mean more. I have bigger responsibilities and people who are directly affected. If this is the hypothetical halfway point then am I happy about my life and how it's being lived?

The short answer is yes. It should always be yes! With the increasing years comes increased appreciation for what we have. Perhaps this is because of the lifestyle we’ve chosen for ourselves as entrepreneurs. Bringing a business into existence is much like raising a child (a ridiculously expensive child). It will ask everything of you and more until it's strong enough to stand up on its own. 

There once was a time when I would’ve attributed success to materialistic things like property, holidays and money in the bank - now I measure success in moments. Moments that I get to share with myself, my family and my friends. Limited resources have removed the value found in ‘things’ and instead we’re able to channel that energy into the people we love. Into things money can’t buy. Into ‘twinkle moments’. 

I forget who said it but life is a bit like driving at night. You can only see what’s directly in front of you but you still get to where you're going eventually. I love this analogy and think it well to remember on your fortieth birthday. I have no idea what the destination is or infact, if there even is a destination, but I’m still driving forward.

The longer we balance on the precipice of complete catastrophe and success, the more comfortable I am leaning into the unknown. The less fearful I become and the more I enjoy the ride. Try not to worry, it knows it's hard but you don’t need to suffer twice. And remember if it's not good news then it's a good story and man, do you have some good stories. 

The other day I caught up with some friends at Xtreme Bounce (a warehouse full of trampolines) which is what adult socialising is demoted to over the school holidays and there were at least three instances when I had to apologise for spitting because I was retelling a story with such gusto. I have some pretty great stories to tell. Being able to tell these stories is something that I have come to value. Keep telling stories.

Without sounding like a complete narcissist (which is ironic in a weekly blog about myself)  I’ve arrived at my fortieth trip around the sun with a sense of pride. I’m proud of the chaos that is our life. It's wild, crazy and stressful, but is also rewarding, surprising and full of love. While I don't want to live at this pace forever I also appreciate that you have to write the 10 pages of garbage to get the one solid paragraph of ‘gold’. You have to show up if you want to be found and no one else is going to help you as much as you can help yourself.

I have a lively family that is a complete circus most of the time but I wouldn't have it any other way. I’m probably the healthiest I've ever been (thanks to running, closing my rings and 0% booze) which doesn’t come easy but is worth every drop of sweat. The older I get the more respect I have for my mind and body and have never been more committed to their maintenance and wellbeing.

I’m fortunate to have incredibly supportive, thoughtful and hilarious people all around me. However, while I’ve developed into quite the oversharer, it doesn’t mean that people who don’t scream about their problems from the digital roof top are any less valid. While I’m loud, others fight the quiet battle and I hope that I’m still able to hear and support them in any way I can. At the end of the day we’re all just driving around in the dark. 

I’m excited about the next ten years (and beyond). With age comes confidence and conviction. I know what brings me joy and am getting better at setting boundaries protecting what's important to me. Just remember that the moment you're in right now, this very second, is all that we really have so use it. Use it to serve others. Use it to look after yourself. Use it to eat peanut butter ice cream, but use it.

Happy 40th Birthday Jess! 

I love you, 

Jess

Video of the week
3 Hard Truths We All Need to Hear
Podcast of the week
The Angry Designer - How to make your graphic design business look bigger than it is
Font of the week
Raskal: Font of the week by Emmanuel Rey

Please sign up for my weekly newsletter. No spam, just a weekly summary about what's been on my mind.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Read more...

Bulletin Board #238
Bulletin Board #237
Bulletin Board #236
Bulletin Board #235

let's connect

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.