Today is my 40th birthday. I am sipping a coffee by a fire, gazing out over the Atlantic ocean while my husband Dean plays guitar. It is simple, glorious and perfect.
I am absurdly happy to be turning 40. I am not quite sure why I don’t have the same hang ups other people have about age and numbers, but I don’t. I am 40. I feel ALIVE, adored, and deeply happy that I know myself inside and out. Even though there are days that I don’t feel this way, the deeper and wiser part of me knows that ALL IS WELL.
I have a husband who adores me, two children who are amazing human beings who fill my heart with the deepest gratitude possible, a family close by that I love to the depths of my heart, and friends all around the world. I feel healthy, strong, capable and confident. I am a woman who is comfortable in my own skin. Finally. I readily admit that after many years of working hard to find who that person is – hell yes, I am celebrating myself.
In my early 20s, I partied with friends, finished university, moved out west, and met the love of my life. We had lots of adventures, and took a few leaps. By my mid-twenties, we got married, I graduated chiropractic college, and became a mother, a doctor and a business owner all in one fell swoop. By the time I turned 30, I had two babies at home, a mountain of debt, a fledging practice, and a life that was so busy on all fronts that it was mostly a blur.
In my early 30s, I opened my own practice, and struggled through many growing pains. We watched our children grow and thrive in the small town we had moved to, commuted many hours a week to our jobs near Toronto, all while feeling our roots growing deeper into Ontario soil. By my mid-to-late 30s, life was getting easier. We had somehow navigated many of life’s storms, juggling work and kids. (I think, as a matter of fact, that we were doing ‘life’ well… most days.) Our life was good, our marriage stronger than ever, our kids happy and healthy, my practice thriving. But my heart was incomplete. I wanted to be home. Nova Scotia. Family. Ocean.
And so in the last few years of my 30s, our life challenges were stepped up a notch as we faced perhaps our biggest hurdle yet: were we wiling to take our greatest leap yet – and start all over in Nova Scotia? Were we willing to brave that degree of uncertainty? Were we crazy to consider starting all over just as life was finally starting to get easier? Were we willing to uproot our kids and face their many mixed – and heated – emotions over leaving friends and the life they knew and loved o start over in a new place?
The resounding answer was YES. We were willing to do whatever it would take to follow our hearts. We would sell my practice, sell our home, and get rid of many of our possessions to move home to Nova Scotia. We would uproot our kids from their comfortable life and friends – and move across the country. We would start all over, come what may.
In our final months in Ontario, after a year of stress and uncertainty unlike any we had known, we somehow managed to find the strength to live through the devastating and unexpected loss of Dean’s dad. Perhaps pulling through that – at that particular point in our life, when we may have believed that we were as tapped out as we thought it was possible to be – we somehow still found the strength within ourselves, and with each other to keep moving forward. As we came through these challenges, I remember thinking: “Maybe we are all far stronger than we give ourselves credit for.”
In the 18 months that have followed, we have again faced challenges that sometimes surpassed the ‘limit’ I thought we had for handling stress and uncertainty. With our children finding their way in a new place, many legal battles under our belt (finally!), and my new, fledging practice thriving – we are happy in a way that I didn’t know was possible.
At the distinct risk of being corny – I am so grateful that I feel moved almost to tears. That heart-quaking, filled-up feeling of the deepest gratitude possible
And so, when I look back at how far we have come, the challenges that we have faced, and the fact that everything that matters is good – so good – today, as I turn 40, I am CELEBRATING!
HELL YES. I can’t wait to see what this next decade has in store for us.