Hello, 41.

Well, you guys, I made it. Another voyage around that glorious and life-giving star is in the books. And it feels good.

Really good.

For whatever reason, birthdays tend to make me rather contemplative. Or, maybe my tribe would suggest this is just me everyday. *wink* Lately, though, my senses have heightened around our human tendency to face each passing year in adulthood with a deeper sense of apprehension. With more trepidation. It may even be fair to use the word dread here, yes? There is often a palpable sense of just UGGGGGH towards it all as we get older, right?

What is that all about, anyway?

I mean, sure, there are definitely aspects of getting older that could just quit it already. Like, say, if we had authority to fire the random hip/ back/ neck/ foot/ knee/ {insert yours here} pain that strikes without notice and seemingly with no just cause, we would TOTALLY do it. I think we can agree she isn’t a great team player. Or how about those fine lines that creep across foreheads and from the edges of eyeballs and corners of mouths AND FOR-THE-LOVE DOWN ONTO NECK SKIN ALL THE WAY TO BIG TOES?!? It sort of feels like those guys just want to make sure we are crystal clear on who is really in charge, you know? And our direct supervisor goes by the name Gravity, friends, and he is a seeeeerious micromanager. And what are we to make of unexpected memory lapses (GAAAH WHY THE HEEEEELLL DID I WALK INTO THIS ROOM) and hairs escaping heads only to reappear in less desirable locations and ladies DON’T EVEN with these hormone changes. It never occurred to me that chin acne would make regular visits at this point in the journey, but boy-does-it-ever, like some sort of scary clown arriving unsolicited at your door and belting an out-of-tune singing telegram. Just. All. Kinds. Of. Wrong. Weight gets harder to lose and gray hairs become easier to find. Too many cocktails (read: that third glass of wine which FOR SURE seemed like the right next move) offer gratuitous anguish and, in a weird twist of fate, climbing into bed before 9pm or sleeping past 8am (read: 6am) is equivalent to finding a unicorn or the pot-o-gold at rainbow’s end or any situation’s silver lining. Nothing but HAPPINESS.

But, I don’t know, when I push back a ways from this noise it all just seems so small and insignificant by comparison to this BIG chance we get each day.

And it is big … simply being alive. Right?

So perhaps this is the spot where I should insert a list of some sort. You know, like “8 Ways To Adult Like A Champ” or “11 Steps to Stop Giving Into All the Noise”. But, since it seems a hefty portion of real estate on the social interwebs is already leased for this type of thing, let’s try something a bit different. Shall we?

Do you remember the Saturday Night Live sketch character, Stuart Smalley? YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. How about the impossibly soothing nature painter, Bob Ross? THERE ARE NO MISTAKES. BE YOU. Well today, or better yet how about ANY OL’ DAY that the critic (last name, Ego) threatens to steal joy, let’s all link arms and channel our inner Smalley and Ross. It could look something like this:

[E = Ego / TRY = The Real You]

E: My feet hurt when I get out of bed in the morning. I’m falling apart!
TRY: I AM HERE. LET’S DO THIS, SORE FEET.

E: More gray hairs?! Meh.
TRY: I AM ALIVE. WE ARE GOING TO ROCK THIS DAY, GRAY HAIRS.

E: These wrinkles make me look old.
TRY: I AM A BEAUTIFUL AND HAPPY TREE. YOU CAN’T STOP ME, WRINKLES.

E: Bleck, another birthday.
TRY: I AM A YEAR OLDER AND WISER AND IT IS AMAAAAAAZING.

E: I wish I was young again.
TRY: I AM NOT GOING TO WISH AWAY THIS DAY HOPING FOR ANOTHER. THIS WILL BE MY BEST DAY YET.

You get the gist. Let’s run this drill over and over (and over) again until we’ve crowded our minds with so much joy and self-love and acceptance JUST AS WE ARE TODAY that there simply isn’t space left for judgment.

A dear college friend has walked through fire this year and put up her dukes against many hard things. She is amazing. Recently, she shared this sentiment that I’d like to close with because there is just no way possible I could say it any better than this, you guys:

I have learned to surround myself with those that sincerely care for me, not to waste time worrying about the little things and be thankful for every single day I am given on this earth. I live in the little moments. Tucking my girls into bed is not a chore but rather a privilege! I am a changed person but hopefully for the better. Here’s to living BIG.

^^ Amen to that. Be extra kind to yourself today, my friend.

XO

JJ

4 thoughts on “Hello, 41.

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