I first began to read at the age of 4. I got my period when I was 12 years old. I fell in love when I was 16, 20, 21, and 22. I got married and received my Master’s degree when I was the ripe old age of 24 and had a baby at 34. I first began running when I was 37 years old.
All of those numbers? They are not “just” numbers. They mark significant events in my life, important time periods. And I’m hoping that 40 will also be one of those meaningful yet amazing years.
I’ve had MANY people in the past few weeks say to me, “It’s just a number. There’s no reason to get freaked out by 40.” If you know me, you know that I have indeed, been very worried about my upcoming birthday. But why? I’ve never really cared much about my age. Of course I wanted to be older when I was a kid (who didn’t?), but once I turned 21, I just enjoyed the years as they passed. I had a HUGE party when I turned 30, told everyone what to bring me, and had a fantastic time.
Yet….these past 6 months I’ve started to fret about turning 40. Logically, there is no reason for me to be upset. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, in the best shape I’ve ever been. I have a good husband, an incredible son, a decent home and a fantastic job. I have a family that I love and friends that I could not live without. Unfortunately though, I am periomenopausal. I don’t sleep well, my menstrual cycle is completely out of whack, fatigue overwhelms me each afternoon, and tweezers have become my dearest friend (seriously, what is up with the excess hair?!?).
Subconsciously, I thought life would be over at 40. That’s why I ran my half marathon less than two weeks ago. I HAD to run it before I turned 40, or I thought I would never do it. I thought my body would fall apart the minute I turned 40 or I’d gain weight or lose motivation. I felt like as soon as I turned that corner on the next part of my life, everything would turn to shit.
The other night, as I tossed and turned, desperately wanting to sleep, I finally realized what was bothering me. Reality and the first kernels of acceptance had started to settle in.
I now know and can finally admit that I will never achieve the body of my dreams, no matter how many miles I run.
I will never win the lottery.
I won’t ever be able to read everything I want to or learn everything I’ve ever wanted to learn or visit every place I want to see.
Life will never be long enough. Ever.
We already know all of this, though, don’t we? We’ve always known it, but *I* have never accepted it. Apparently my brain and heart were fed up and decided to have an intervention. “Holly…..you have to accept the fact that your muffin top? It will never go away. Your doctor told you, remember? And those arms? Yeah, they’ll continue to jiggle and will get worse as you get older. It’s time to get over it.”
So, my friends, that is what I must do.
Does this mean I’ll never get on another scale or buy the occasional lottery ticket? No. I’m sure I’ll continue to whine about that damn fat roll as I do crunches and planks in the morning and will cringe each time I see my arm wiggle. But I want this to be the year that I finally takes those first steps in accepting who I am, no matter my weight or my pant size or how slowly I run. Life is just too damn short to worry about any of this, isn’t it? I need this to be THE year that I finally give myself permission to love the woman I have become. So many other people love me for who I am, so why shouldn’t I?
As I blow my birthday candles out tomorrow, I will not be wishing to look better in my jeans.
I don’t need to.
I already look good in them, damn it.
So no more wishing. Just accepting.