For the record, I received perfect weather for my birthday weekend. One day was dark, stormy and delicious, just the way I love it. The next day was absolutely spring perfect with high blue skies, low humidity and the freedom to be outside all day long, also just the way I love it. I know they say you can’t have it both ways when it comes to loving opposite things, but somehow, I did.
And now I’m 46. Which of course, leads to some intropection.
Who are we kidding though? If I’m breathing it leads to introspection.
Forty-five was a great year in some very difficult ways: returning full-time to work after a twenty year hiatus, divorcing church, moving houses…again, one kid graduating college and moving out, followed by two more kids graduating college one year later, and significant career changes. All of these things came with a swift, steep learning curve. This was forty-five.
Forty-five also was a very emotionally guarded year. Coming out of a long-term abusive situation meant I needed to keep wide and strong boundaries between myself and further emotional damage. You’ve seen footage of newborn foals trying to stand up? There they are wobbling, stumbling, falling, trying again, with legs so spindly and small it seems a miracle of physics they can stand at all. That’s how it felt to be in my soul. Desperately vulnerable and barely able even to stand.
It still feels like this sometimes, but not as often, not with any regularity.
Forty-five was the year I began learning how to love myself again, the self I had buried. I didn’t learn this alone. My family carried me for a long time. My wonderful, strong daughters encouraged me and built me back up, my husband who let me swear and storm and cry and be still and who still makes me belly laugh until my sides hurt and knows when to just pull me close.
Because the universe bends towards harmony and balance, I was transplanted from a toxic environment to an amazingly healthy and nurturing environment in my work. Even when they didn’t know they were building me back up, that amazing group of literate renegades filled me up with joy, encouragement, and healthy human contact. They believed in me at a time when I most needed it, and I am still being transformed because of it.
Finally, there were a few friends who simply stuck it out with me. Through the floundering and the flailing, the guarding, the insecurity, even the verbal vomit and who cheered lusty and loud with each tentative, trembling forward step into a beautiful, welcoming world.
It was one audaciously gorgeous mess of a year. I’m grateful for it. I sure as hell don’t want to relive it, though.
So I’ve been thinking about where to focus for this, my 46th year. My concept for the year is “embody” even though I haven’t written about it much, I think about it all the time. Do I live in a way that embodies what I know to be true, or even what I hope to be true? Wholehearted living is a very important concept for me, one which is weaving it’s healing touch through my soul.
There’s so much I still want to do and see and experience in this world. We’ve put in our raising children time and the possibilities seem endless for what lies ahead. I plan to live a long time and have another whole lifetime of experiences. Which means I’ve got some work to do on my physical self.
At 5 foot 2 and forty-six years old, I’m aware my super model chances are waning (I almost spit my coffee, there). I also know that mental and emotional health are inexplicably tied to physical health, and I, currently, am fair to middling at best in that arena. In fact, since I’m naturally prone to couch dwelling with books and wine (the title of my greatest hits album) it’s fair to say that may be a generous assessment. Eventually, it’s going to catch up with me.
So this auspicious forty-sixth year, I’m getting off my ass, literally. Not bootcamp and celery stick style, but making gradual positive steps to strengthen and improve my physical self. It’s not my only aspiration for the year, but it’s the most glaring. Who knows, maybe I’ll up my audiobook game in the process and it’ll be win, win, win all around.
This is 46, friends. Here we go.