Why You Shouldn’t Be Fulfilled By 40

Someone, a darling reader of Fempotential I am sure, related the following question to Alex, our Grand Master of all things potential in the realm of us Fems. The query went something like this, “What are the steps to reaching fulfillment by the age of 40?”

When Alex first proposed the story idea to me, probably because I am 42 – because she most definitely doesn’t consider me 100% fulfilled – we batted around some ideas. Our conversation went something like this: We see it all the time, the mommy stuff, the career stuff, so we want to do something different. Yeah. Sure. I can do that. How to be fulfilled without being a mommy, or a wife, or set in a career? That sounds great. Blog will be sent to you in one week.

So, I started brainstorming. How does one reach fulfillment? UMMMMM. HUMMMMM. Crickets. Okay, am I fulfilled, and how so? And then this really weird, I mean out-of-the-world idea hit me. I didn’t have a positive reaction to the word “fulfilled.” As a matter of fact, it seemed, dare I type it, BORING!

I thought about it. Why did I find the idea of fulfillment at 42 such a cruddy idea? I mean, I am fulfilled in my job. I love it and look forward to Mondays. I am fulfilled in many aspects of  my life, my relationship with my parents, my spiritual relationship with God. I am by no means UNfulfilled  by my decision to be childless. I never wanted a biological child.

The idea of fulfillment is that you are not lacking anything. And that idea is really, truly, exponentially boring. I mean, if I wasn’t lacking in anything right now at 42, what the hell would I have to strive for?

Let’s face it, we all need challenges, and one’s life’s fulfillment should be an ongoing, never-ending journey. If I had fulfillment right now, I’d be pissed. Because then what would I dream about? See, I can still dream about perfecting my marriage, getting my PhD., being a better friend, getting more short stories published, becoming a better writer, getting healthy and skinny . . . If I were fulfilled in that stuff, I would be bored. I wouldn’t have cool stuff to ponder at night when I am drifting off to sleep.

Besides, who actually is so arrogant as to think she should be fulfilled by 40 when most women live well into their 80s? I guess the media make us think we should be, or else our parents, or our friends who look (from the outside) to be all fulfilled and fuzzy and wonderful.

But the Universe doesn’t except that. The Universe keeps on calling us to perfect ourselves and our relationships over time. If the Super Bowl was over at half-time, what fun would it be to watch the last half of the game? We can’t win by the age of 40, and who really wants to? Not me.

So, sorry, Alex, you fully potential fem-gal. And sorry to you, too, lady who wanted fulfillment. I guess you’ll have to ask someone else.

Life pressures women to be fulfilled by the time they're 40 with marriage, kids, careers. One woman shares why being "fulfilled by 40" is boring.

Amy Little
Amy Little has taught high school for 17 years, from Arkansas to Japan to Oklahoma to Alaska. She graduated with her M.F.A. in 2014 from the University of Central Oklahoma. Amy loves her three doggies, reading, and Netflix. She has one published short story and advises the Eagle River Writing Club, helping young writers work on their craft. She is 42 years old and in her middle age is ready to impart what little wisdom she has to the masses.
Amy Little

Amy Little

Amy Little has taught high school for 17 years, from Arkansas to Japan to Oklahoma to Alaska. She graduated with her M.F.A. in 2014 from the University of Central Oklahoma. Amy loves her three doggies, reading, and Netflix. She has one published short story and advises the Eagle River Writing Club, helping young writers work on their craft. She is 42 years old and in her middle age is ready to impart what little wisdom she has to the masses.