Wow another year around the sun… It is a few days after my 39th birthday at a strange and challenging time in my life. This year was supposed to be a bit different but as the course changes, surprises, and upsets come, so does the gratitude that each year I grow older, somewhat wiser and more aware of the blessings I have and the gifts I have received along the way
I never thought I would say hey I’m 39! Does it feel like I am reaching the footsteps of 40? Absolutely not! I feel more youthful now than I ever did in my 20’s. I have never quite felt “my age” that is to say I never felt I had to represent a certain age group or way of thinking attached to my age. Generation X, Generation Y, millennials, Baby Boomers, all these groups of people defined by a certain era or when they were born, and I never thought any of that pertained to how I view myself or others around me. As a much younger girl I used to hang out exclusively with my dad’s friends. Picture this seven-year old pig tailed kid with a bunch of forty-year old men and women trying to follow along in the conversation. My dad and his friends used to call me Despinarion- or little lady or young mademoiselle for fun, I was so proper and reserved in so many ways almost acting like an adult even as a young girl.
Later in life long after turning 30 did I feel like I was shifting in my view of the world, no longer a clueless young kid, I had more control of my life, or so I thought! There are moments that I feel I am still a young Eleana trying to navigate in the world of adults, and in other ways my very deep mothering, wise woman of the world kicks in, and figures it out for me when I’m lost in my childish naiveté.
Our age, our image in the world and our perception of ourselves always shifts in ways we can not imagine. Whenever I’ve been in the presence of young boys and girls at the ages of 14-20 I realize how confident and self-assured they might seem, compared to how I was or felt at their age. I often envy these young kids, strong, opinionated and driven in ways that I never gave myself a chance to be, or was given credit for in a very patriarchal and different society growing up in Greece in the 80’s and early 90’s.
I have had many discussions about how youth is often overlooked in Greece as being pure ignorance and inability to navigate oneself in the world, whereas experience, and older age is automatically seen as an example of innate wisdom. I beg to differ! I have recently learned a lot more from people younger than me, who are open to new ideas and are capable of having deep and meaningful discussions even at the ages of 14-15.
I recently met a young man of 14, the son of the man I am seeing who inspired such humor, confidence and self-assurance and I hoped that he would grow up to be a wise and shining example of caring, empathy, love and communication. I myself have never had the desire or felt the pressure as the years go by to have children of my own but realize what an incredible calling and task it is to bring young people in this world who are open-minded, thoughtful, confident and respectful human beings.
At 39 I still shed the demands, the shoulds, the rules and the expectations I grew up with or self-imposed as a young girl, re imagining myself as to how I want and feel more comfortable being. If anything I am becoming more myself with age and less what people wanted me to be. Hard as it may seem, at 39 and approaching 40 I am finally becoming myself. Sure the little questions and doubts come to mind but in the end It’s absolutely amazing being my age, and I regret nothing that has happened to bring me where I am today.
“Our age, our image in the world and our perception of ourselves always shifts in ways we can not imagine.”
So this goes out to my dear friends, readers, followers, lovers, ex lovers, partners in crime, and family. I love you so much for shaping me, teaching me, showing me the way, loving and embracing me during all my shifts, changes, and versions. The soup is good and the recipe is a success. 🙂