On being 40

Forty is the dawn of a new age.  Yes, we live in a society where the age forty has been redefined, we are not our mothers forty.  Forty is said to be the new thirty, Forty is when a woman peaks, not just sexually but also mentally.  No longer burdened nor distracted by the shallow pursuits of youth, a woman is now free to pursue greater (more meaningful) things, all while still looking pretty damn good.  This decade proves to be the very best one…looks, intelligence, wisdom, its all ours, for one brief decade.  Now Ive got nothing against 50 or 60 or even the 70’s or 80’s…if anything I hope and pray Im lucky enough to get to experience them all.  Ill be that little old lady in the retirement home making dirty jokes with my friend while we check out the sexy Spanish intern (I wont go to a retirement community that does not have some of those) but those decades will be different, they are…less sexy.  Not saying that a woman cant be sexy in them, Im just saying certain outfits, certain attitudes will have to be adjusted and things other than “sexiness” will become of more importance…as they should, as they will, and with my blessings.  When something has been lived and done, it naturally loses its appeal as we are catapulted into a new way of thinking or being.  Those that try to hold on to what “once was” find no happiness in it and seem a little desperate when it comes to the outside perspective (cue the 50 somethings in mini skirts and hair extensions with all the wrong plastic surgery).  There has to be a time when we are willing to say goodbye….there has to be a time we let go.  Turning 40 for me meant letting go of some of my more youthful dreams, which is fine because they were replaced with newer more relevant ones, but what of the things in my youth that I never got to do? Now that its too late (although for some I know it isn’t, but for me, yes…yes it is) what will I never get to do that I can make peace with? Well here goes:

I will never attend Burning Man…that’s ok by me.  Though in theory I would have loved to be the modern day hippy who dons fairy wings and finds spirituality in some mdma while dancing to the repetitive beats by some current dj all whilst lining up for porta pottys and sleeping in a tent…that was never me, and I make peace with that…power to you, you twenty somethings that don’t care about comfort and just want to party…do it now…because there will come a time (much sooner than you think) that you will choose a weekend at a cottage by the lake and the idea of a music festival will not even cross your mind.

I will never be a cheerleader/professional dancer/model….all the dreams that dance in a little girls mind have been quietly laid to rest…perhaps I can still get a cheerleaders outfit and wear it for my boyfriend…THAT still sounds like fun.  What I have learned is that all those dreams don’t die, they become integrated into who you are, they get lived in little doses every day. I am not a professional dancer but I dance almost every day, I am not a model but I love my make up and my fashion and I will often make an entrance using my best catwalk and yes, sometimes it turns heads, and that’s all a girl can ask for. As for the cheerleader? I am my boyfriends, my friends, and my nephews biggest one…I have learned that the enthusiasm for the success of others translates into my own happiness…and as far as Im concerned I have the best team in the world.

I will never travel the world with a backpack booking rooms in hostels along the way.  I have recently travelled a lot, and I sleep far better and have way more fun in a clean and private hotel room than I think I may have ever in a hostel.  To travel to a new city/country with a strict baggage allowance is not something I would have ever been good at, I tend to bring more hair product than could fit in a knapsack so Im fine with the idea that I have never travelled with one. Also? I like a minibar…

I will never have purple hair…that one hurts, lets move on…

I will never look like I once did at 20.  Im one of the lucky ones, I feel prettier now.  I didn’t know I was pretty at 20, it took me till 40 to figure that out.  It is somewhat tragic in a comical way that I realized my beauty as it reached its fading years, but Im ok with that because my idea of beauty has matured right along with the rest of me and how I define beauty now is health, healthy is beautiful at any age, and I am healthier in terms of lifestyle now than I ever was in my twenties. I assume my ever growing love affair with integrating health into my life will continue to grow and the idea of health playing an ever growing role in my life makes me excited for the passing of a few years, some time to see the effects of what this lifestyle will bring.

I will never be the girl with a million dates.  I never was that girl, and now I never will be.  I take solace in knowing that the few times I did try to date like a single, young and pretty girl about town, I hated most of it.  I found being on a date the equivalent to watching bad acting, uncomfortable, awkward, and a whole lotta show without substance.  Well, now I have a boyfriend and the days of me checking out other men are over….thank God.  I find myself lucky to be with the one man who I always want to date for the rest of my life…

I will never be at the clubs on the weekends again…unless its a friends birthday, or new years I cant foresee myself involved in the nightlife the way I once was (and loved). A night of a few drinks and dancing used to make me very happy.  I think…I don’t really remember…I was drunk.  This one was maybe the most difficult…because no one told me it would end.  I didn’t think it would…it didn’t necessarily have to.  It ended when the nights became less fun.  When getting hit on by drunk guys seemed a juvenile way to spend ones time, when the dance floor started to seem uncomfortably crowded, and the crowd seemed to get either uncomfortably younger, or worse, uncomfortably older. Nights at the club started to become nights that I would wait for my friends to be ready to leave, eager to get home to my dog, angry about the waste of money the whole evening was.  I grew out of clubs before I was in a relationship so I don’t blame my relationship for that. I will say that a night of netflicks, a homemade dinner, and a glass of wine at home on a Saturday night makes me really happy, The kind of happy I remember in the morning.

Theres no doubt about it, age settles a person, some see that as a bad thing, I do not.  I see the ability to settle into the very things that make my life wonderful a wonderful release from the years where I had to actively search for the very things that I am blessed enough to be settling in now. There is great freedom in age, there is great revelation, evolution, and enlightenment.  I would not trade my forties for any other decade.  I do not dream of reliving any part of my past (though I do wonder what I might have made of myself if I had had this wisdom then…but we all wonder that don’t we)?  There were many mistakes made, but theres no going back to fix them…I picked the wrong men, but ended up with the right one, I didn’t know my beauty, and have never felt more beautiful. I lived a lot wrong to end up with so much right, and for the parts I didn’t live? Well…. they now rest in peace.

If writing could change one thing…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singular Sensation.”

If my writing could change one thing about my life it would be this….that the persistent voice inside my head that keeps telling me I need to write, just quiets down or changes its tune to the effect of “yay you’re writing.”

Yes, I used to overwhelm myself with expectation, I didn’t write because I wasn’t sure what to write about…I never thought to write for the sake of finding my own voice…sort of putting the horse before the carriage as I ought to do.  Many writers discipline themselves to write every day, regardless of whether or not they feel inspired to.  It is that discipline I feel that I must begin to practice consistently. I don’t need to thnk ahead to “what ifs” or “who would publish me” or anything that would come from one writing…I just sort of want to write, for writings sake, and I think that would be change enough, the satisfaction of knowing I am doing what I should do, because something in me wants to. Like right now…. 😉

On Metamorphosis

Ok Metamorphosis might be a bit of an exaggeration. The changing of oneself does not turn one into something other.  If anything it is the evolution of the self that ironicaly brings one “back” to their original selves.  Anyone who is going through attempts at life change or improvements knows this.  Quitting smoking is a return to who you were prior to obtaining that filthy habit, changing our eating practices from processed to whole food, is once again a “return” to ourselves rather than an alteration into something other.

Heres the tricky part…the human condition likes to hang on to what is NOT us.  Something about this life, be it the stress of work, the hardships of relations, or simply the media, the factory farming, the wars…one need not look far to find the things that may cause one to seek vice.  Vices help us (or do they?) cope. Be it bad food, or cigarettes, or heroin, or alcohol….they all offer escape.  The issue with vice is that it creates dependence for escape, the problem with escape is that you become an inactive participant in your life during periods of such escape.  To become dependant on vice takes one further and further away from what a persons original glory is. At 42 I had smoked for more than half my life, I had eaten all the nutra sweet and refined flour that one could lay their hands on, and still I look pretty good.  I often wonder what if….what if I had taken care of myself always…what would I look like? How would I feel? I mean feeling like a Honda aint so bad, until you feel what it feels like to be a Ferrari.

So, getting back to basics looks pretty much like stripping yourself down.  This feels incredibly vulnerable, vulnerability feels scary, and what drives us frantically towards our vices more than fear? Nothing. So, yes, its scary, and its hard…and more than anything its out right frustrating to stick to what you want regardless of “what you want”. Two quotes to mind….one is that you are supposed to strive for what you deserve, regardless of your feelings. Makes sense to me.  Feelings are so very temporary, what you deserve is non negotiable.

If you have to go to the gym, don’t think about it…its not about how you feel…you get up you tie your laces and you walk towards the door…no thought required, just a promise to yourself that your going to be commited to your best self, regardless of how you feel. The next quote I think of has to do with peace…that it is something that happens when your beliefs, your thoughts and your actions are in harmony.  We have a responsibility to self. Its not an easy one, but I need to fight that battle…something tells me that the more I fight it the better I will get at it, and it will seem less like a struggle and more of a blessing. Switching cigarettes up for the treadmill might not feel very good for a while but fast forward 6 mths? Bet it feels pretty good. Im counting on it.