I turned 40 recently.
Why is it that milestone birthdays cause people to reflect on their life? Another decade, another year, more memories to make. I am not the exception, as I definitely reflected - a lot - before and after April 11th. I left my teaching job last year and took a new job and I paused for a time during that decision process. As anyone would tell you when they make a life-altering decision like that. We need to make sure it is the right choice for ourselves.
My thoughts this time, when I thought about getting older, revolved around the idea of where I have come. A few years back, I put into motion "Project Find My Voice". I have always been what I would consider a strong, independent woman, but I didn't always feel secure in what I had to say or contribute. I always thought I wasn't as smart or articulate as those I surround myself with. I constantly felt like an imposter in my professional and sometimes social situations. When I silently enacted "Project Find My Voice", I vowed to myself that I would work on my confidence and try to be more assertive. I had to keep telling myself that I have something to contribute.
Part of this project was working on being more articulate in conversation and in professional settings. I took it upon myself to work on my presentation skills, public speaking skills, and professional networking.
What did I find when I looked back on "Project Find My Voice" as I turned 40? I found that I am a work in progress, but I have made really good leaps and bounds in these areas. I still, at times, find myself doubting my worth in professional settings, and perhaps thinking that people around me think I have nothing to contribute. Sometimes I read too much into a text or a message, and I think, "They think I am incapable", or "They think I am not as smart", or even, "I don't think they trust me to do a good job".
I hate that I feel this way at my age, but I think we all suffer from insecurities. I am still working on mine.
When I was in the classroom, I always became an advocate for those who felt they didn't have a voice, and I always tried to coach them so they could find theirs. Now I need to take a little of my own advice.
Part of being well in our lives and feeling like we have worth and value is knowing ourselves what we are worth. If we doubt ourselves and don't work on our insecurities, we aren't well. The biggest reflection and revelation I have had since turning 40 is that I need to live my best life, and my best life takes work, but I am worth it.