Yes, I know I am not Adele. But hope I can get away with calling one of my blogposts my age. My almost age. My beloved grandma used to say that she looks in the mirror and sees herself younger than she actually was. Mom says the same thing. I look in the mirror and I feel … 45. And I feel it is a blessing. For all the gold in China (is this the expression?) I would not want to be 15, 25 or 35 again.
I was 15 and so very self conscious, bullied in school and always trying to look better, do better, feel better. A constant chase for chimeras that obviously never materialized. I was too dark, too hairy, not cool enough, too much of something, too little of something else … always struggling to fit in and never actually getting there. Home was turmoil, change, uncertainty, struggle and closing myself in my room. No thank you, glad I am done with that!
I had been married for 3 years when I was 25, had finished college and started working at the school. Still trying to be this or the other, caring so so much about the way I looked (and never quite making it), out of my childhood home physically and never out mentally, at the beginning of a loveless marriage where I turned my back every single melancholic moment to the voice inside whispering to me that I was missing something important. No thank you, glad I am done with that!
35 was the age of my liberation – and loss. Of beloved people, of face, of “friends”, of possessions, of the “good girl” image, of the hope that people I had had in my life “forever” will stick by me no matter what. I had broken the cocoon of standard, of “shoulds” and “musts” and “this is how it is done” and I was still unsure as to what I was flying towards. Experimenting love for real for the first time but scared every single minute of what may be for my child and myself. No thank you, glad I am done with that!
I will turn 45 in a few days. It is great exposure for me to write this. (Brene Brown talks about the lengths we go to in the act foreboding joy, somehow believing that if we don’t express joy, life will magically only dish us soft blows; she was the first person I heard tell it like it is about how expressing joy is one of the scariest things we can do so bear with me here … ). I am the happiest I have ever been. My home is peaceful, loving and fun. Connections are few(er) and more meaningful, I have learned to let people go and feel freed, not burdened by it. And not blame myself for it. I love and allow myself to be loved. I look in the mirror and I see a 45 year old body I like for the first time in my life. I allow myself to rest, look up at the sky, tell the truth and breathe. I am lucky and I have worked hard to get here. (note to old selves: both of these are ok and can exist at the same time). Not to say there is no work to be done – that is death. I still have a lot of work to do with myself but am starting it from a place in myself of worthiness – that is news to me. And news worth celebrating.
Earlier this week I attended Glennon Doyle’s podcast pro-aging party She said something that stuck with me: as she turned 46 she talked about how the first part of life is fighting for things we think we need to be and have, for an identity we seek to uncover (if we are lucky), 45 is intermission and then starts our second part of live which is for living life. Meaning, joy, loss, peace, struggle, the whole shebang – but from a place of enoughness. Well, here’s a toast to that!