Being 40: Time to Love, Forgive and Follow one’s Heart

I can’t wait to turn 40 in two weeks. It may sound a bit unusual, but that’s how I feel. I loved being 20, 30 and 35, but being 40 feels now like the most natural thing in the world.

Every birthday deserves our attention and those with the zero at the end deserve special attention. Time to stop, tune into ourselves and get really quiet to hear what the inner voice has to say. I plan to spend this precious time away from my usual world, on a tiny Caribbean Island, surrounded by the ocean, palms and fresh breeze.

Of course, I am starting to reflect on my life already now. What were the most memorable, most life-changing, most challenging moments of my life which defined who I am today?

Being born in the socialist Czechoslovakia in 1973, in the time of the intensified oppression, impacted me in many ways. I was raised by loving parents, but a subtle fear was ever present. To live without fear and in particular fear from authorities is my lesson I am still learning.

The Velvet Revolution in 1989 is one of the highlights of my life. How did we get so lucky to get freedom? How did I get so lucky to be free? To be able to travel, say what I think and do what I want to do. I have tears in my eyes any time I remember this gift. It changed my life forever.

I can’t miss my romantic relationships, men who shared their life with me before I met my husband. We had wonderful times together, and also less wonderful times together. My heart got broken and I broke a few hearts. I feel deep gratefulness for all of them. They are all forgiven and I hope they can forgive me for whatever my wrongdoings might have been.

Marrying David in 2010 was out of this world experience. I still can’t comprehend fully the profound magic of this day and the power of the vows we exchanged. Never being married before, I could hardly imagine that marriage is actually a lot of work and in our case, we were tested soon. I had hard times adjusting to life in suburban New Jersey (so different to life in Prague), we needed to learn how to communicate and our finances needed to be streamlined. Today, our relationship is stronger than ever before.

My miscarriage last year, my first and so far only pregnancy, turned out to be my biggest life challenge and life lecture. It took me a year to absorb the experience and grieve. But when we are on our knees, we open ourselves to the possibility that there is something bigger than our perceived loss and that is Love. For ourselves and for others. I am a more loving person because of this experience.

For me, the real success of my life is having courage to follow my heart. Be who I am and share what I have to share. I know that there is no other option for me anymore. With deep gratitude for the first 40 years of my life, I open my arms to embrace all to come in the future.

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