Turning 40, Being Uncomfortable, & Going Substack.

S.J. Elliott
2 min readAug 4, 2022

After a little time away to reset, a new project has been born.

Photo by Sorina Bindea on Unsplash

I turned 40 a couple of months ago, and since then, I’ve just felt…off.

I’m not sure how to show up in the world as 40-year-old me. I no longer feel like I “fit” into my life. I can’t really explain how uncomfortable it has been to sit with these emotions or how difficult it is to define the undefinable.

Deep down, I’ve always harbored a desire to create, a pull to contribute something to the world. This wasn’t something I was encouraged to explore or cultivate, but it’s always been there — a gentle nagging to put myself out there and be seen. To add my voice to the collective story.

It’s a terrifying prospect for someone like me. Someone who has been told repeatedly that they aren’t good enough, smart enough, or interesting enough for others to pay attention to. I don’t know that I fully believe that anymore, but it is still a difficult mindset to grow out of.

So, I took some time away from writing and allowed myself the opportunity to be uncomfortable.

It’s been an enlightening experience.

I sat with all the bits and pieces of myself that I’ve avoided or pushed away out of shame, fear, or uncertainty and examined them in the light of non-judgment. I let them be what they were, without expectation.

Know what I discovered?

I’m not that terrible.

I know that sounds simple and cliche, but it isn’t. At least not when you’re the kind of person who has spent their whole life under the shadow of toxic relationships, childhood trauma, and a self-destructive belief system.

The errors and mistakes I’ve made in the early years of my life don’t have to define who I choose to be today. That might not be much of a revelation for someone else, but it has been life-altering for me.

And with that revelation, an urgency has awoken within me.

I want to talk about myself and this experience I’m having. I want to share my story. I want to stop hiding behind excuses. I want to define myself.

So, that’s what I’m doing.

I decided to try a newsletter and podcast combo over on Substack. It is all still in its infancy (aka, it’s free), and even if no one listens to or reads it, I finally feel like I am doing the thing that adds my voice to the cacophony of life.

It only took 40 years. Whew.

S.J. Elliott

Aspiring story-teller. Ordained coffee connoisseur. I write about processing personal trauma, & my quest to be a better version of myself as a human/woman/wife.