40 year old woman reflecting relationshipGuest post by Natalie Hatter

On August 6, 2010 I will be turning 40. Nearing the end of my 39th year, and by far one of the most challenging, I come to this major milestone in my life with a moment of hesitation and concern.

My life’s resume contains none of the conventional accomplishments of a “successful life”: I have never been married, I have no children, I don’t even own a home. Ok, I did finish a bachelors degree in the mid-90′s so there is that. Nope, I went with a more freestyle life plan.

Shortly after completing my degree I left a budding, and potentially lucrative, corporate career in favor of being my own boss. My mother used to say I was the kind of person who wouldn’t bother with dipping her toe into the pool to test the waters. I cherry-bombed my way in.

And she was right.

The same year I started my freelance business I ended a relationship with “the one”. I had been madly in love with my hearts desire for over a year and a half and yet there was something not quite harmonious. It took years for me to discover a big piece of the problem was me. At the time I had no real clarity of who I was or what I wanted. Relationship after relationship I had focused a great deal of my energy on my partner and their aspirations. I had not been an individual in union with another, I had become a ‘we’ exhausting myself in the drama of trying to mold two people into an idealized version of a healthy couple. As if I had any point of reference for this. I won’t get into the parental history. Let’s just say “healthy” and “relationship” were not two words one would combine to describe either of my parents subsequent marriages.

For years I focused on where I was broken in talk therapy and through self-help groups. But all this focusing on the broken parts of me just fueled an already confused and negative self image. Don’t get me wrong, talk therapy was pivotal in my journey. With the help a few amazing people I was able to work through some serious daddy issues.

It wasn’t until I made the decision to travel solo internationally that I began to come into the woman I am today. There were sparks of personal passion, a new found confidence and an emerging identity. The following year I quit a design job I’d held for nearly 2 years, sold my car along with most of my possessions and moved abroad. This was something I had wanted to do for years.

But this isn’t where the story ends with me telling you all my dreams came true. My life is no fairytale. Like you it’s an unfolding, layered, awakening. Through the cycles of cocooning and rebirth what persists is an acceptance and love for who I am and where I am at in the moment.

Leaving the convenience and familiarity of life in the USA for the somewhat inconvenient and desolate winter of a Greek island certainly cracked me open in a way I would have never predicted. (Yes, Greek islands in the winter time are very much like little floating ghost towns.) I wasn’t left completely with my solitude, I was in relationship in a way I’d never been before: in a foreign country, in a foreign culture, with a foreign man. It was through this experience that I came to understand that challenges whether it be relationship, health, career, whatever serve to reflect back who I am. It’s up to me and what I choose to do with that.

So as I approach 40 I hear the collective feminine whispering in my mind, “am I desirable?”, “am I valued?”, “am I relevant?”. I take a moment to breathe and sit in stillness ….

… “yes. I am beautiful, brave and beloved.”

Natalie Hatter is a graphic designer, bodyworker, Reiki practitioner, yogini and her website is at http://designdiva.com.