My 4oth birthday is quickly approaching, at the end of January. Many women dread the coming of their 40th birthday, I don’t. It’s funny, but my 30th, 38th, and every birthday in between did not phase me, but my 39th birthday, that sent me into depression! It’s funny because I’ve never really thought about my age. I mean, of course I did when I turned 13, 16, 18, and 21; those are what I call ‘marker’ birthdays, they mark some milestone in your life. But my other birthdays? Didn’t phase me. I never really marked my age by my birthday, since having kids, I marked my age by their birthdays and their life events.
I am a single mother of 3 amazing children ages 10, 11, and 14. I have traveled around the world with my children, literally. I have been inside the pyramids in Egypt and walked along the canals in Singapore. I have been to court in a Middle Eastern country and threatened to be put in jail for leaving the house without my husband’s permission.
There’s not much I’ve not seen in my life, not much I haven’t done…but when my 39th birthday came…I spent 2 weeks in a paralyzing depression. What was is about 39 that hurt? Wasn’t it supposed to be the 40th birthday that got you?
After two weeks of moping, I realized I had to kick my bum and get moving. It’s not that my 40th birthday was next, it was where I was at that moment in my life. Give or take a decade or two, my life, as I saw it, was half-over. Where I was at the moment, is that where I wanted the rest of my life to be?
Not going to go into it yet, but I wasn’t at the best place. On the outside, you could see my issues in the form of weight gain, but the real issues, the ones underneath, were buried so deep, even a shovel couldn’t uncover them. I’ve not really talked about them before, maybe due to embarrassment, maybe shame, maybe guilt. Whatever it was, they were there.
So, two weeks after my 39th birthday, I had a talking to myself, and I had to listen because, well, I couldn’t walk away from myself. I said, “Self, here you are, today. This is who you are, this is what you look like, and these are the things you carry. You’ve spent so much time hiding from your past, that it’s weighing you down, literally, and holding you back. You have two choices. 1. Continue doing what you are doing, your 40th birthday will come, and you will be in the same place next year, feeling the same way. Or, 2. you can get off of your bum and get rid of the outside weight you’ve been carrying, and go on from there. You can decide where you will be next year, but your birthday is coming, whatever you decide.”
Sound advice, I mean, it’s from me, so of course it was! I chose option number 2. I lost over 85 pounds, just by choosing to not be the victim anymore (and walking 4 miles every day and exercising 1 hour every night). I laughed more this year, I actually took pictures with my kids (they’ll tell you too many), and I stopped wearing my stretchy pants.
Okay, so why do I still feel that my transformation is not complete? The outside is different, but not the inside. Man, guess this means I’m going to have to face those issues and put them to rest. If I want to face 40 truly fearlessly, then I have to face my fears, and my fears come in the form of my past.
Join me as I participate and do silly challenges with my kids, with my friends, and by myself. Who knows, maybe some of my issues are the same as yours and we can face them together.