There have only been three times in my life when I have eagerly awaited a certain birthday.
The first time was when I little (probably 8) and had a friend who lived in my building. Though he was something like two or three years older, when I had a birthday, I was catching up to him and felt like I was nearly his age.
The second time was when I about 14 or 15. I wanted to be 18 so that I could leave home and go to college and escape my father’s strict household.
The third time is now that I’m 38: I’m skipping 39 and already saying I’m 40.
I won’t lie: I like saying I’m 38 because of the reaction I get. People look at me, splutter and say, “But you look like you’re 35!” I don’t know if that’s a compliment but I’ll take what I can get. I think it’s funny that from a third-party source, I find out that all the 20 year-olds of a call center think I’m hot. I find the “señorita” (miss) and “señora” (ma’am) conflict a little amusing.
And then, there is the core of it all. Because for me, 40 has become that age that I will be in school again, studying what I really want to this time and giving my all to a career that I can really, truly love. I had stumbled into the fact that every single job I have taken in my life up to this point has been only to “make ends meet.” I confused “I can do this job” with “I would love to do this job.” And to have been somewhat wise over the years with my life advice, I could not see the one thing that was the thorn in my side.
I did not love my job.
The realization is shocking and the world teeters. But the mind is a brilliant thing and I re-accommodated this new information.
The a-ha moment: I knew what I want. What the hell am I waiting for? So I made plans and I’ve decided that my deadline is my 40th birthday: I will leave Mexico for the US. It felt like that sensation when you say to yourself that had you known everything that you know now when you were 18, it would have been a whole different story. I was turning 22 when I left the States. And that country that saw my birth had not seen my development. I will be going back to fill the shoes of that 21-year-old and it feels like a second chance. A second shot at re-writing the story and doing what I truly want to do and not what I’ve been told to. Picking up the threads of the life as of yet untold in the States.
Deep down, I know that rule about better Ironmen athletes are formed from ages 35-45 also applies to the other areas of my life. I have the strength, desire and the gumption to see it though. I am not that shy and quiet 21 year-old; I am the ballsy, potty-mouthed 38-year-old going on 40.
Move the hell out of my way: I have a life to live.