I’ve been dreading this day for months. Today is my 40th birthday. (I actually cringed while typing that.)
This birthday has been hard for me. I feel old. I don’t like it. I’m not sure what I thought life would be like at this point. I don’t think I thought too much beyond 30. Between kids and working and life in general I lost ten years. After much reflection and agonizing, I’ve decided that for my birthday, I’m going to strip.
No, not that kind of strip (but I can appreciate the way you think)! I figure it’s time to strip away a few things that aren’t doing me any good. I may not be happy about being older but there are things I’m letting hold me back. It’s time to do some internal disrobing…
Don’t be tense about the past and the present
Guess what? I am not 23 anymore. I loved my twenties. They were so much fun. I could survive on two hours sleep, eat anything and everything and still stay skinny, and only had to worry about myself. Now, if I get less than seven hours sleep I look like I belong on The Walking Dead. I ate a piece of birthday cake tonight and jumped two pant sizes before I finished my last bite. (Please don’t ask me how big of a piece I ate.) Thinking of myself is a luxury. My thoughts are almost completely occupied by the beings in my house who call me “Mom”.
I’m okay with all that (well, maybe not the weight thing – c’est la vie…). I take much better care of myself now. However, I will admit to the occasional I’m-just-going-to-read-one-more-chapter-until-I-realize-it’s-2AM incident. And let’s face it, those beings I referred to? They are freaking awesome. I’m better because they exist. When you look at everything that way, they don’t really look like limitations, do they?
Untangling my “nots”
We all have nasty, gnarly “nots”. Ever find yourself saying, “I’m not thin enough”, “My hair is not pretty enough”, “I’m not good enough”, “I cannot do that”? See, you’re totally “notted” up. Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve decided it’s time to do some untangling. My biggest “not” always revolves around my weight and/or my looks. I constantly compare myself to others. Wisdom tells me now is a great time in life. I should feel great in my own skin. I’m established and if I have an extra 10 or [cough] 20 pound cushion, good for me. As far as not being good enough? Total crap. I totally need to unravel that nonsense out of here. If you see me getting kind of “notty”, feel free to give me a comb over. (Just please don’t let me end up like Donald Trump [shudders]..)
I’ve always told myself to wait for that right time. While I can agree that timing is a huge factor in the success of things, the worst thing we can do is wait. When I was in junior high, I decided to run the hurdles in track. Go ahead and laugh…not that hard…I didn’t think it would be that funny…you okay now? Anyhow, I quickly learned that in order to make that jump you could not stutter step or hesitate.
The horse feels my pain…and is way more graceful than I ever was. At 40, I’d like to think I have a bit more perspective. It’s time to reevaluate. It’s time to take some chances. It’s time to lose some “wait”.
Keep your affirmations “Smalley” and simple
Years ago, Al Franken played a character named Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live. He was a hilariously needy un-licensed therapist who just wanted to help others and himself. Time and time again his own faults would resurface as he was interviewing or helping others but that…was okay. He would always begin and close with, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
Watch Stuart at work: http://www.hulu.com/watch/272735
No one is perfect. At some point we just have to own who we are. I’m just barely starting to grasp this. It’s going to take time for me to really be okay with who I am. At 40, I still have my work cut out for me to realize that I am nice enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, successful enough, just altogether enough, and doggone it, people like me.