I don’t usually write such personal posts, but yesterday I had a birthday. It’s a large number (41 to be exact!), and I was feeling down. I was all bummed for a few days actually, worried about getting older, losing my beauty and adding more wrinkles. I was angry with time and felt like it was just so unfair that I had to go through this. I was also feeling sad at life itself. I feel like I have so much to say and do with my life, and such little time left on this planet.
I drove to my gym blasting Radiohead’s Kid A, a rather dark soundtrack intended to intensify my pissy mood. My coach, as usual, greeted me with a big smile and said he was honored that I came on my birthday. I gave him a pissy look and said I wasn’t happy about it. He tried to cheer me up but I wasn’t having it. Then he suggested I write a blog post about it. I began to think about all the cranky things I might say, and then I realized, I was being cranky for nothing. After some barbell complexes and prowler pushes, I had completely rebounded. I was being a spoiled brat. My life is amazing and I need to be grateful.
I changed my tune completely on the drive home from the gym. I then had a great crew lunch with everyone on the farm. They all sang me Happy Birthday, initiated by my adoring husband. After lunch, I went for a walk with one of my best friends. We bonded about being moms, getting older, having less time here, and then we celebrated our situations. Finally, my daughter wrote me the funniest and sweetest poem. Here are the last few lines:
The truth is, I really have never felt more grateful in my entire life. I don’t know why I was feeling so sorry for myself.
I am so honored to be right here, right now, at this very moment in time. I’m driven; on a mission to help people learn more sustainable ways of eating, for their own health and for the environment. Even though I complain about it a lot to my husband, I’m proud of the fact that I’m almost through my graduate program in nutrition and will soon be a Registered Dietitian so that I can expand to the next phase in my career. I can’t imagine a better place to raise my two healthy, confident, and sometimes outspoken children. I also happen to be married to an incredible man who is a dedicated father, strong farmer, and who listens to and respects me. As for the laugh lines? Unavoidable. It’s all ok.
Here are some other things about being 40+ that I’m psyched about:
1. I know exactly what I like and what makes me happy. Possibly more importantly, I also know what I DON’T like. I know what qualities in people I respect, and the “red flag” goes up very quickly when I encounter someone who is trouble. If I’m feeling blue, I know just how to fix it. It’s like I’m my own best friend!
2. I’ve never been more happy to be alone. When I was younger, being solo would sometimes freak me out. Now I feel more rejuvenated than ever when I’m alone. I need that time to myself, and I love it.
3. I know how to take care of myself. For example, I know that I NEED sleep. I am absolutely unapologetic about this. I go to bed when I’m tired and don’t stay up late for much. I know how it wrecks me to have too little sleep, and I’m perfectly happy to miss a late night movie to ensure my z’s. This also goes for food, knowing when I need a break, knowing when I need to push myself, etc.
4. I know who my friends are. I have a handful of amazing friends that I can call, text or visit with at any time and I love them all dearly. It’s not about a social media number, it’s about who really knows you and who you can trust. In fact, on of my very best friends told me just how stupid it was to be pissy on my birthday. It’s so great to have friends who can call you out on your crap.
5. I have never before cared so little about so many things. This goes for most material objects. If I don’t really need it, I don’t need to buy it. In fact, I was at a mall recently (something I avoid at all costs) and I was looking around at everyone with their designer bags, and clothing with logos on them. My feeling is, if a company wants me to advertise for them, they should PAY ME. This also goes for what people think about me – I realized I can’t please everyone, so it’s useless trying. Everyone comes to you with their own baggage and set of expectations. I simply focus on doing my best and staying true to myself.
6. Things don’t always turn out the way they’re supposed to. In fact, they almost never do. In the end though, it all works out. Embracing what is instead of being a big baby and complaining that it’s not what you wanted it to be, well that’s called being a grown up instead of a kid.
7. I’m thrilled to break the mold. I’ve never been one to conform to norms, but for some reason, after I had kids, I felt like that’s what I was doing. Now that I’m a bit older and my kids are more independent, I feel like my old self again. It’s like I’ve reconnected with who I was in my 20’s and I’m just an improved version of that young woman. Don’t do things because you’re “supposed” to do them. Be intentional with the time you have. Conforming is boring.
So here’s to the next chapter… May you all find peace with your age, and break the mold!