Life. Yoga. Joy.
Inspiring a life with smiles...™
Last week I was having brunch with my friend Megan when I suddenly threw my hands into the air dramatically and moaned "How the hell did I get to be almost 39?" Megan, who is not anywhere near being 39, asked me if I was having a mid-life crisis. I thought about, laughed, and promised her I was not. (Although a few minutes later when I told her I wanted a sporty little Vespa, I think she had doubts of my authenticity.)
The truth is I love getting older. Every year is a chance to renew, refresh, and improve my life, my world, and the relationships I have with friends and family. My drama comes less with the idea of my age, and more about the question of "How is one supposed to feel at the age of 39?" Since my birthday was yesterday I can now give you the wisdom of one who has experienced being 39 for one whole day...Hang on to your hats peeps, this might get profound...
I feel strong
For some reason when we hit certain milestones in age, people suddenly start asking us how we feel. As though turning 39 means I should feel the aches and pains which our society needlessly associates with the aging process. The truth is I feel stronger and healthier today, than I did five years ago. I embrace way more physical activities and take a few more risks than I have in years. True I could fall on my face when doing a handstand or crow pose, but I understand that I may not be able to try this kind of fun activity forever, so I go for it anyway. I can appreciate that my body is not as naturally flexible, strong, or agile as it was twenty years ago. However it CAN BE flexible, strong, and agile as long as I am willing to create the time and space to do activities I love, and ensure that I eat mindfully, rest when necessary, and respect the messages my body sends when I have pushed it a little too far.
I feel confident
Okay, I can't tell you a lie. I have always been a fairly confident person who liked herself. However a few years ago some major changes in my life left me a little less secure about who I was...and this was an obnoxious feeling (as well as utterly draining). Fortunately I reached out for some help and found a wonderful person who guided me through this difficult period.
Note: There is never any shame in asking for help. If you are feeling depressed, drained, or helpless, the best thing you can do is seek assistance from a qualified professional - whether it be a doctor, therapist, social worker, wellness counselor, etc. The suck it up buttercup mentality of my 20s should not apply to this situation! I also found that talking with a few trusted friends allowed me the space to not have to feel "on" all the time. So if I had a bad day, it did not have to be a major crisis because I did not have to hide how I felt.
What I find now is that not only I am still confident in who I am, but I recognize that I do not have to be all things to everyone in my life. And if someone does not like who I am -
I feel free
The way some of my associates talk, apparently at 39 I am supposed to have it all figured out, be "mature", and live according to some arbitrary set of societal rules. But anyone who has known me for more than a decade knows that I am a bit of a free-spirit. I don't have all the answers, and my passions have evolved as my life as changed. I was brought up to believe in a set of rules and codes to live my life. However along my journey I realized that many times the rules we live by are only chains that constrain us from achieving our full potential. How many times have we done some thing because we "should" do it, not because we want to do it? How many hours have we spent in activities that we don't enjoy because "everyone else" is there? Stop and think for a moment, are you happy in your job, relationships, with your health, with yourself? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it is time to decide why you are still engaging in the behaviors which do not bring you joy. At 39 I may not know everything, but I do realize that the only person who can truly bring positive change to my world, is me. I am not "stuck" in life, and neither are you.
I feel pretty
No I am not about to break into a song from West Side Story, although I have been known to do so. Yesterday a few women in my office were discussing crow lines, make-up to use as fillers, and ways to use clothes to hide areas they don't like about themselves. I sat there shaking my head as these women are beautiful and intelligent, yet their conversation is far too typical for women to have when they are together. I was brought up to be a girly girl. I wore makeup and had my hair dyed before I was even in my teens. (At one point I had to wait until my hair grew out enough to remind me what the real color was!) I was taught about "problem areas" and how to hide them. Such a shame...so much time was wasted on such nonsense. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with makeup, hair dye, or pretty clothes. The tragedy is when you are using those fun things to try and hide perceived flaws in yourself, because the truth is you are not flawed...at all.
At 39 I realize it doesn't matter whether you need/want to lose ten pounds, have grey hair, too many or too few freckles, and facial lines. EVERYONE is beautiful. Despite being a girl who loved makeup, one day over a decade ago I stopped wearing it, and no one noticed! I've had some grey hair since I was 19 and hit my head in a car accident, and if I miss a few dye job sessions (as much as I still love changing my hair color - my creative outlet), the world doesn't come to a screeching halt to point at my head. I like the lines around my eyes because they came about from all the smiling I do...DAILY! And although I continually strive to be in the best shape possible, it comes from knowing how good I feel in my body when it is strong and healthy - not from a worry about whether I will fit into skinny jeans. I confess to looking in the mirror daily and giving myself a big ole wink and smile. 39 is looking pretty good - roots showing, crinkles around the eyes, and all...
So that's it peeps...39 from a woman who has lived it for 24 hours...looks like it will be a fabulous year complete with ups, downs, and adventures...Wherever you are in your journey on our gorgeous planet my birthday wish for you is to worry less about acting your age, and spend more time enjoying life. Have any age wisdom? Feel free to share...I am always listening...with smiles...
Samantha Eve, a