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A columnist looks at 40

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2007-05-21


By the time you read this, Iíll have turned 40. Big freakingí deal, you say.

Well, it is. Being 40 seems like an impossible age for me to be, particularly because I donít feel like Iíve learned enough. Itís only been in the last year or so when certain things have made sense to me. It takes me forever to get stuff done, it seems, and thatís okay when youíre younger, but only recently have I realized I donít have as much time as I used to. Oh, Iím not worrying about dying anytime soon, but when you reach 40, you start to think that time is running out.

But I will say that in the past few months, my life has turned upside down. Iím still not quite where I want to be, but there have been a series of exciting firsts: I sold my first fiction, and the place that bought it will publish more of my work in an e-book when I get enough material together, I made my debut as an actress, and Iím in my first serious relationship ever. Itís happening so fast, sometimes I wonder if itís all real.

Iím also in the process of changing careers, something that has been going on for the past six months. Iíve run into some challenges, but I think with time, practice and some anti-anxiety medication, Iíll eventually win. I saw a commercial for a local college, and featured a student who was talking about changing careers and how scary it was to start over at the age of 30. Gimmie a break! How about reaching the age of 39 and realizing you may never earn a decent living at the one thing you enjoy and are good at? How about being a 50-year-old factory worker whoís been downsized from a job he or she has had since graduating high school? What about the middle management person who can no longer afford his home because they can pay the recent college grad who replaced him a third of his salary and perhaps half the benefits? Dealing with change is a part of life, but that doesnít make it any easier.

That being said, people need to stop using their ages as excuses for not going after their dreams. I pride myself on being a practical person, but it sorta bugs me to hear people say, ďwell, Iím 45 years old; itís always been my dream to go to law school, but Iím too old for that.Ē Says who? YOU. And how old are you going to be if you DONíT give law school a shot? If youíre brains are still working and you have the money to go, give it a shot. Hell, if you donít have the money, get some student loans and mortgage your future, like just about every other college graduate has done.

People have to live their entire lives. Yes, I accept the fact that Iíll never be an Olympic-class gymnast or figure skater, but I can always take dance or skating lessons and feel less clumsy in real life. Itís important to have goals, but set some that you can reach.

And sometimes, you have to do something that scares you. Acting was something I always wanted to try, but wasnít sure how to go about it. But I got up there, said my lines, and had a blast. The story I wrote was an idea I had floating around in my head for weeks, and one day I decided to write it down. I was so pleased with it, I went hunting for a website that might be interested. And the first site I contacted wanted it. Why now, after years of rejection? Iíll never know. Just because Iím not making a living at writing right now doesnít mean it will never happen. In the past few months, Iíve learned you shouldnít ever say ďnever.Ē Because, you just never know.

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