I turned 40 last year and it was one of the saddest birthdays I’ve ever had.  I was alone, unemployed, and sick.  I had been laid off from a job that I’d held for 9 years.  The job paid well but I hated going to work each day.  I had also been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and I felt very ill.  I was even more sad at the fact that I had wasted a decade of my life doing things that were expected of me and not really living the life that I wanted to live.

I decided that things had to change, and I began setting goals for myself:  1) Find a career I enjoyed, 2) Take better care of my health, 3) Get out of debt and save money, 4) Start travelling.

I started working on my goals by exploring different career paths that interested me.  I thought about maybe pursuing a career in International Relations or even working for the government since I felt those were good paths for a person who speaks more than one language.  One thing I couldn’t stop thinking about was teaching.  I taught for a year after graduating college, but I quit because I wanted to explore other career options.  I feel like I never gave teaching a chance.   I applied to two different school districts to work as a substitute teacher and both districts hired me.  I’ve been officially teaching for only four months, but I like the job.  Being a substitute teacher can be difficult, but I find it to be rewarding.  It’s making me think that maybe I’d like to become a permanent teacher or even a school psychologist.

Getting sick made me realize that I can’t take my health for granted.  I was able to find a good doctor to help me with my hyperthyroidism and I’m feeling a lot better these days.  I’m committed to eating healthy, exercising, and taking time for myself.  Another goal I’ve set for myself is learning how to deal with stress in a more productive way.

I’ve been working on paying off my debt and save money.  In addition to teaching, I have a part-time retail job that has helped me to pay off debt.  I’m no longer buying as many items as before and I think about each item that I purchase and whether it’s something that I need.  I’ve planned three different trips for next year and I’ve already started saving money for them.

Turning 40 was the catalyst that helped me to start living the life I want to live.  Last month, I turned 41 and my birthday was wonderful because I was able to spend time with friends and family.  I felt more at peace with myself and hopeful about the future.


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