I can’t sleep. Total night before Christmas eager energy. Anticipation making me antsy.
But, being that I am no longer a little girl waiting on Santa, the overwhelm is overriding the giddy.
Tonight is the last night of my thirties. Tomorrow I turn the big 4-0. I will wake up in a new decade.
Today my mom asked me the same question she used to ask me around my birthday when I was little. “How does it feel? Do you feel a year older?”
When answering this as a kid, I remember literally checking in with myself. Like a for real body scan check to see if I felt the difference. Did I physically feel a whole year older?
When my mom asked today, I quickly replied saying I was over it. That I had been thinking about it consistently for the past year so I felt like I had already processed this crap and tomorrow was going to be just another day. No big deal. Forty schmorty. Whatever.
But I can’t sleep.
As I am laying here with eyes open in a dark quiet house, taking in the significance of it all, I realize…… How do I really feel? I never did the body scan check in.
I have been so overzealous-ly and inappropriately concerned with what forty was going to look like, that I never really sat with how it was going to or how it currently feels.
So here goes. The check in.
It feels weird. New and definitely not “no big deal”. I am mixed with feelings of letting go of expectations and allowing my feet to stand firmly planted in what is.
When I pictured myself turning forty I, being very consistent with my last 39 years, focused first on my body. I saw someone who looked 29 with the abs and ass of a 17 year old, a marathon runner, a meditation guru, and a yogi phenomenon.
To be fair, I also loved the idea of a wealthy as hell, powerful working women with a career that not only fulfills me, pays me in boatloads of cash, and allows me be what looks like a stay at home mom because I never miss anything but also a globe trotting bad ass.
Bottom line, I wanted it to look good.
Not a surprise. I have always been a “Look Gooder”. Everything else took a back seat to your opinion of me.
Then in rolls this forty business and all the build up it brings with it.
Here’s the deal, my late thirties were a bitch. They have kicked my butt. They have been full of beginnings…. again and again, questions upon questions, and surrender.
Surrender is a gutsy, gritty game. Not the skies opening while singing angels descended to lead the way for me sort of thing I once believed. Surrender ain’t pretty. I have kicked and screamed and dragged my feet through this process of letting go.
I have been shedding layers and learning how to take the energy I always spent on all my “look goodding” and pour it into the good stuff of being a messy, complicated, loved, and evolving human. Dropping the drama and picking up the truth. Unclenching my white knuckled fists that clung to my idea of perfection so that I could hold onto the fullness of all that is in front of me.
This had to start where it all began for me, where it has always been…..my body.
My body has forever been my symbol of sanity. As long as I was thin, I had it together. At least that was what I wanted you to think. The opposite of thin was a suffocating fear that has had me by the throat. All of life came second to my body and eating disorder.
I have hit bottoms. Falling down, and quickly picking myself up so you wouldn’t see that I fell was the norm.
Then something happened the past few years. I fell down and didn’t bounce back. I chose to stay down a bit. What would happen if I didn’t swallow the sad and run off the anxious? I was so so tired. No matter how scared I was of what you might thinking, I just didn’t have the energy to bounce back.
I decided to act as if. Act as if I was cool with my body. Like I was totally fine with what I ate and how I moved. A real “I got this, whatever dude” take on my body. Basically, I went rogue on myself.
I consciously let go of striving for a form of what I viewed as worthy and I very slowly began to place my worth on something deeper. I did this knowing that my body may actually grow and……I did it anyway. I was so. damn. tired. Perfection striving is exhausting work. My body needed some space to breathe. We needed to get to know one another on new grounds.
There is a lot to say about this but the craziest notion to come out of this last few years of my rebelling against my obsession is this…….thin is no longer my life goal.
And that changes everything.
My visions of the big 4-0 and the running, yoga-ing, and meditating are all still real. There may not be any marathons, instagram yoga poses or ashrams going on but there is a connection. A compassionate connection with myself.
This compassion was needed last night. I went shopping. I walked into the store excited to have some extra cash to buy myself something fun to where to my birthday celebration. I was in a great mood.
Then I started trying clothes on and…..I fell. I am not numbing myself today with starvation or exercise so the feelings are just right there, on call, ready to go on a moments notice. I could have sobbed or I could have broken the mirror. I am not used to seeing myself in this size body. It still feels foreign. I looked at myself in that stupid, way too small, horrendous lighting dressing room and I felt like someone just threw a heavy weight at my gut.
Emotions were obviously high. My throat was tight. But I had my two younger daughters with me who had no clue what my insides were doing. They were more interested in the dress I was trying on. The same one that felt was ripping my heart out. My girls were getting up from that little dressing room bench to come feel the dress, hug me, and tell me how beautiful I looked. They asked me to twirl and begged me to buy the dress.
My girls, they love me. They have no clue what size I am. They love me big, they see me as beautiful, and they believe I should twirl in every dress I put on. No matter what.
Surrender is not a one time deal. It is a practice. I need to take daily action to let go. Sometimes it freaking sucks. Sometimes I just feel fat. Forty years of practicing this ugly thought, not an easy habit to break. But then there are the days that I twirl with my girls. There are the days that I feel loved by the people I love and for a moment, I am size-less.
As I leave my thirties I feel….
Older and wiser. I feel it in my body.
Bigger. Not just in my jean size but in my guts. I am taking up more space in the world and it feels good.
Richer. My life has more value then I am just barely beginning to grasp.
Powerful. Truth has power.
Loved. Loving my people and allowing myself to be loved. It matters more then anything.
Forty is a big deal. Not because of what it does or doesn’t look like but because I am growing up.
I am kicking my shoes off and letting my feet get dusty as I walk this road. Life just blew the doors off of looking good and that can only mean things are about to get interesting.
Forty feels like sacred ground.