Well, another year has come and gone by, and today, I woke up 44 years old.
I’ve been reflecting on this past year, which led me to look at the past as a whole, and I thought it would be helpful to point out some things about my unconventional life.
I’ve never been married, I’ve never had children, and hell, I’ve never even been in a long-term relationship.
It has come with a lot of questions and judgements over the years: asking what went wrong, implying I was defective, and how I could possibly be happy while still being single in my 40s.
I guess it’s expected, considering I come from an Italian family, which makes it my sole purpose as a woman to marry and have babies.
I always struggled with the lack of that in my life, and it took a long time for me to realize that I had judgements of my own because I convinced myself that I was supposed to follow some sort of cookie-cutter pattern—the husband, the kids, the house.
Well, the truth is, I tried many times with men over the years, but nothing ever really took off. In my mind, it was always my fault. I was the one falling short—too fat, too quiet, not pretty enough, not spontaneous enough, just never enough.
I let a few terrible experiences deter me from trying to find someone because it was just easier to give up than to risk being disappointed again.
Sometimes, I find myself daydreaming about how nice it would’ve been to have dates in high school, to have a boyfriend, and to just experience that kind of young love I never got the chance to experience before because guys just never saw me that way.
It’s a heavy feeling, and sometimes, it consumes me with overwhelming grief that it has always been this way. I convinced myself that it would never change.
I reached a point where I got so tired of it, and I decided to put my foot down and take some steps toward loving myself instead of waiting for someone else to do it.
In the past two years, I’ve made a lot of changes—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I quit smoking after 28 years because a pack a day was becoming a bit too ridiculous for me, and I motivated myself to lose 130 lbs, so that I can regain some confidence and prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.
My thought process when I began went like this:
I’m tired of needing a CPAP to sleep at night.
I’m tired of holding myself back from going out into the world because I hate my body.
I’m tired of being overlooked and being made to feel invisible.
I’m tired of not taking a chance on becoming who I always wanted to be.
I went through some of the sh*ttiest years of my life when I was always alone. Even in the company of people I love, I still felt alone. It was like I preferred it at one point; it was comfortable. No one had to see me, and I didn’t have to explain to anyone how I gave up on myself.
I felt like I failed at life and all the things I ever wanted just kept moving further and further from reality, and time just kept speeding by…unmercifully.
It was completely devastating, and I had so much grief, sadness, and more anger than I ever knew what to do with.
I needed to take those steps to change my life just to prove that I could. There was no more taking the easy way out for me, no more hiding, and no more hating myself for how far I let things go.
So, I changed—everything.
I even created my own drastic changes to condition myself not to be so afraid of change since I always had such a hard time coping with it. I left a job I was comfortable with and uprooted myself to another city to prove to myself that change can be a good thing.
I wanted to be around my friends again and have a social life. I needed to get out into the world and show everyone the new me.
I hoped to find someone to have a relationship with, but instead, I’m learning to have a relationship with myself.
I’m still working on my transitions, but I’ll tell you this:
If anyone told me 20 years ago that this is where I would be at 44, I would tell them they’re full of sh*t.
The old me would’ve been terrified of still being alone at this stage of the game, but here I am:
Fully capable of changing my life for the better.
Proud of myself and the journey I have taken.
Enjoying my own company.
Fearlessly facing my own demons.
Looking in the mirror and liking what I see for the first time…ever.
Finally turning heads after 40.
And more importantly, I am loving myself, flaws and all.
Sometimes, I look back and realize I needed all those painful lessons to inspire me to change. I needed them to show me what I don’t want in my life and how I never wanted to feel about myself again.
I’ll be completely honest: I am still working on trying to figure out what I do want in life, but I’m working on that every day.
I desperately needed these past two years to grow into myself and to heal from things that I don’t usually like to even think about, let alone talk about.
I needed this time to learn about letting go of the idea of what I thought my life would be like at 44 years old because, let me tell you, it didn’t turn out to be anything like I thought it would be.
Some days, it’s even better.
And some days, the bad creeps back up again.
But I’m learning that it is life and I’m not the only one who is going through it—I’m just one of the few who don’t feel the need to hide how they feel.
We all compare ourselves to others and where they are in life. We all wonder if we’re taking the right path in our lives. We all feel out of sorts sometimes. We all have moments where we feel like something’s missing.
We all have the power to change our lives in any way we want.
We may not always end up with what we want, but the universe will always provide us with what we need and guide us to where we’re meant to be.
I’ve been through a lot to get to my 44th year, and there was a lot of uncertainty along the way, but I’ve learned so much about myself and how strong I am.
I always hope I can inspire someone else out there and give them hope that anything is possible, that they don’t need anyone but themselves to be happy, that they are capable of so much more than anyone gives them credit for, even themselves.
My goals in my 44th year are to let go, not take myself and life so seriously, and to have fun.
Even writing this article helps me let go of the idea that I need to write something perfect and profound or no one will care enough to listen.
Instead of analyzing all my thoughts and words, I just choose to write the truth, and I hope that it resonates with anyone out there who is being hard on themselves and questioning their path in life.
I will always choose the truth, no matter how boring, exciting, stupid, weak, wonderful, bitter, or happy someone else might perceive me to be for telling it.
None of that matters.
The only thing that matters is that I never give up on myself again.
And I never will because I’ve learned my worth. I value myself enough to never settle for ordinary or for anything less than what I deserve.
It’s been a long time, and I’m proud.
I’m proud of it all…even the gray hairs. The wrinkles. The acceptance that time goes by painfully fast. The ability to move forward despite the bad sh*t.
I’ve learned that life still doesn’t go the way I want it to sometimes. It’s filled with ups and downs. And that’s okay. Both serve as a reminder that I’m taking risks now.
I’m not on autopilot anymore.
I’m finally living, and sometimes, that will feel uncomfortable, but growth always is.
I’m learning to build happiness from within, so that I’m unshakeable in my core.
Those sh*tty times remind me that’s where growth comes from and that I’m not as scared to try as I used to be.
It’s always better to be fearless, like a warrior, and risk failing than it is to constantly wonder what might have been.
Those not-so-sh*tty times remind me that I am free. I have people in my life who I am eternally grateful for. I am incredibly lucky. I am finding myself a little more every day.
And in those moments where I feel uncertainty, the universe always finds a way to quiet my distracted mind long enough for me to notice something that makes me smile—something I would’ve otherwise missed.
It reminds me that there’s beauty even in the smallest details.
When no one is watching, I smile about the possibilities that life still holds for me and the fact that I finally feel aligned with a place and time that feel like home.
I’ve searched for that my whole life.
I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I do know that my goals in my 44th year are:
To squash every stereotype I can.
To be a lot kinder to myself.
To not take things so seriously.
To learn to be happy alone.
To find some balance between the good and the bad.
To live my best life.
And to hopefully, at some point, get on a plane for the first time and finally take a real vacation.
There are no guarantees in this life, but I know one thing: if there’s ever been a point in my life where I can say that it’s finally my time, this is truly it.
I don’t intend on wasting it ever again.