I feel like it’s been months and months and months since I’ve written a blog post. The funny thing is I found myself here last year, too and I remember specifically thinking how I want to write more posts this year. More of these thoughts posts. But then it just doesn’t become a priority. I feel like I make the art a priority. The work, the kids, the exercise, the coaching. But not the blogging. And the fact is, for me, blogging really does help. It’s therapeutic. It’s centering.
So it’s something I want to find time for.
Life’s been passing by really quickly over here. I feel like this year has passed by more quickly than any before. In exactly ten days, I turn 40.
That’s a big number.
I have no qualms about getting older. In many ways, I actually like it. I know this is because I am blessed enough to be in good health and have a job that allows me to support my family. I am grateful for both of these things regularly. I don’t mind the lines on my face or the sagging (well i am not a fan of sagging but more on this later.) I don’t mind the number. I feel I’ve spent my life well and have wonderful things to show for my forty years on this earth. I am proud of where I am and how I got here.
(There’s always a but, isn’t there?)
But, forty is a big number. I am likely done with the first half of my life (if i am lucky and live to be in my 80s) and there are some tangible changes I’d like to make to my second half. Things that were maybe a necessary part of getting here but things that are now holding me back from enjoying “here” and from getting to the next place, wherever that may be.
Here’s some of what’s on my mind: (in no particular order)
- Health/Wellness: I’ve spent a lot of my teenage years, twenties, and thirties yoyoing with my weight, eating habits, exercise (or lack thereof) etc. I’ve fretted about my weight, my size, my food… all my life. I am so very ready to be done with this. I don’t want to spend the next 40 years of my life worrying about my weight. About what I eat. About wearing a bathing suit. Or even pants. I just want to be done with this particular worry. To address this, I am trying to figure out if I can make some fundamental shifts in how I eat and what wellness means to me. (I will readily admit to eating Nutella out of a jar as I type this. So I think we can all agree this needs to be addressed.) For me, this is not an issue about being thin (though I do want to be thin, even if it’s not cool to admit this.) but it’s an issue of being aligned. I want what I do and what I say to be aligned. I don’t want to eat badly, be sedentary and then whine constantly about my weight. I want this kind of out-of-balance lifestyle to no longer be a part of my life. So, to that end, I am going to try to do the whole life challenge starting in a few weeks. (one day after i turn 40, in fact.) And I will give it an honest try. I will try to use it as an opportunity to shift my way of living around wellness. If it doesn’t work, I will figure something out. What I know is that I will not carry this issue with me much longer. I am determined to put it to rest one way or another.
- Worrying about Work: Over five years ago, when Nathaniel was born, I made an active choice to downscale my career. I decided to work at home full time so I could raise my boys while I earn money and still have an intellectually challenging job. I have a job that I am proud of and love in many ways. I am grateful to earn what I do and take care of my family how I can. I love and adore Chrome and I am incredibly proud to be a part of the product I love so much and the team I respect and the company I love. All of these things are wonderful. I am incredibly grateful to get to do all this while I also raise my kids, take them to school and pick them up from school, and check their homework and on and on. I am lucky. Lucky, lucky, lucky. I don’t want to forget that for one second. I also want to remember that this came at a cost. And one of the costs was career progression, etc. My job is still relatively high pressure and demanding. There are many moments where I am really, really stressed and a lot of hours I spend worrying. In the last few months, I’ve decided that while the intensity of my job might not be alterable, my attitude towards it all certainly is. There are times I yell at my kids because I am stressed about something on my computer screen. And here’s another example of lack of alignment… the fact is, I chose my kids. I decided being a mom and being physically around was more important than being at work and having the benefits of that. So if I am choosing to work at home, I should not yell at my kids. Because I always knew what working at home means. I understand it’s tough for my kids to have me there but not always available. And this is my burden, not theirs. Taking my work stress out on them kills the whole point of being home. So my plan is to worry about work less. I still work just as hard and vigorously. I just tone down the worrying. I remember what matters most at all times. And that’s my boys. My family. My life. My friends. They will always matter most. Work matters a lot. Just not most.
- Sense of Self: I’ve spent a lot (a LOT) of my years apologizing for who I am. Feeling less than. Feeling unworthy. Not belonging. Apologizing. On and on. I am done with that. Done. I fully accept that I am flawed. I am not the perfect person. I mess up just as often as I do well. I try to be kind and generous and sometimes I am. And other times I am selfish and manipulative. I yell. I can be cruel. I am incredibly hard working and I can be lazy. I am weird. I have issues (oh, lord, do i have issues.) and I randomly freak out without a lot of reason and apologize not long after. I fail. Sometimes I don’t even try. And sometimes I am awesome. I belong just as much as anyone else ever did. I am worthy just like the rest of us. I have my good sides and my bad sides. I am not saying I am the best person ever but, either way, I made it to 40 and the chances that the core of my being will shift are low at this point. And, to be honest, I still choose to be me over other options, even with my flaws. So here we are. I am 40. I am me. I am done apologizing for who that is. I am done squashing myself. I will still apologize for many mistakes I will undoubtedly make in my life. I will still feel bad many times. But I will no longer subscribe to the belief that there’s something fundamentally wrong with me. Good or bad, I seem to be stuck with this person for now and it is time I honor and cherish her instead of beating her up regularly. I have decided to fully grow into loving my self. Grateful for the gift of being me.
- No Guilt Trips, No Arbitrary Rules: Along with the sense of self, I’ve decided I am done worrying about being someone I am not or living my life by others’ rules. If I don’t like to cook and my family is ok with that, it is not of anyone’s concern. I am not feeling guilty about never ironing. I am not feeling bad about things I don’t do. My messy house. I just don’t want to do anything with resentment. I want to do it because I truly value doing it. My time is so precious. We are here for such a short amount of time and I want to use mine the way that makes me (and the people I love) happiest. I don’t want to make up rules about anything. Drawing from a photo is not cheating. Using pencil isn’t either. If I want to do art, I shall do art. If I want to walk away from it all, I will and if I want to come back, I will do that, too. The only rules are the ones I want to live by. The ones that enhance my life and bring joy into my days. I am no longer living my life by some random shoulds. I am officially old enough to make up my own rules.
- More Grace, more self care: Along the lines of wellness and sense of self, I want to spend more time taking care of myself. My soul. My body. My teeth. My skin. I want to treat my whole body, inside and out with more care and love. And I want to make this a priority. For me.
- More/Better Connection: As I get old, I realize how much I cherish my friends, family and even acquaintances. Social events are not easiest for me. I usually prefer being alone or one-on-one but I want to put myself out there more and to expand my circle. I want to deepen my connection with my friends. I want to show them that they are a priority with my actions.
- Braver: And finally (at least for now), I want to be braver. I feel like courage is a muscle and it needs regular exercise. I want to exercise my courage muscles. More. Deeper. Regularly. I want to try new things. I want to walk away from things. I want to go places I am scared to go. I want to be brave. I want to live life fully. There’s joy that comes from courage. Excitement and freedom. I want both of those.
So here we are. Just a few things on my mind as I approach the big four-oh. I want to look at this as an opportunity to shed one skin for another. Create a new “truth” for myself. No need to carry around the past and stories I made up in my teens.
Here’s to being brave.