Today, I’m 42 years old. Wow. It’s feels really strange to write those words. I promised my fellow members of The Spinsters Union, my sister Camille and DeDe Brown that I would write this post. I procrastinated all week, but finally here I sit, getting emotionally naked on the internet. I rarely post on Facebook. It’s ironic I’m posting on my birthday because I’m usually only good for a “Happy birthday!” post to someone else.
But here I am so let’s get naked … I’m single and I don’t want to be. I’m childless and I don’t want to be. Most days I don’t even think about these things. But there are times, usually around 2 or 3 am when I wake up and can’t escape my sense of failure about not “making it happen.” I wake up and the air feels heavier, the shadows are deeper and my regrets are almost visible. I remember one night last year I woke up and could only count the minutes until the sun rose. I was desperate to see the sun rise so it could put my sadness to rest.
But in fact being single has enabled me to become the woman I’ve always wanted to be and I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. When I was nine years old, I knew a few things about myself that have been a compass for me throughout my life. I knew I wanted to travel the world. I loved going to the airport whether or not I was flying because just going to the airport represented the possibility of traveling. And I’ve made that possibility a reality. I’ve traveled to more than 15 countries and lived in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Brazil (twice).
I have deep gratitude for the way my life has evolved. I live in the Bay Area, a place I’ve always dreamed of living. I’ve created friendships that run deep with people that have become like family to me. I’ve started two businesses since moving here, since turning 40 — Juliette Acker and Associates, a marketing and business consultancy where I work with women business owners to help them authentically market their businesses, and Furious Flower Designs, a handmade accessories business. I’ve been more creatively fertile in the past two years than I have been in any other time in my life.
At 42, my life has not turned out the way I expected to, but as I get older, I realize on a deeper level that rarely are things black and white. Life is complex. You can feel happiness and sadness in the same moment. On this birthday, I’m learning to hold the space for both those emotions and as I embark upon this new project of The Spinsters Union I’m grateful to be able to hold the space for other single women.
And now to really celebrate my birthday … DANCE PARTAY!!!!