Do you ever come across one of those pictures of yourself from the past and think “What happened to her?” Or, “I want that body back!” Or, “Oh! To be young again...” I rarely go through photos. They make me feel incredibly sad. Even if they’re mementos of happy occasions. In fact, as I've been purging my house and minimizing my belongings...I come across pictures I don't know what to do with, and quickly pile them away to sort out last.
I think it’s because they capture a time that happened long ago and the older I get, the further away I am from that moment. I guess there is the sense that time is running out…”Like the sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” da-da-daaaaa...
I’m turning 45 this week. That’s like... halfway to 90. Or halfway to 50, depending how you look at it. Both of which are beautiful milestones, but….as much as I keep practicing, the words FORTY-FIVE just don't roll off my tongue. The words seem too big for my mouth. I’ve been thinking about turning forty-five since I've been 44 ½. So much, so, I thought I was turning 46 for a few minutes.
This is where it happens, right? When you can't quite remember how old you are without doing some quick calculations.
And for every one of you out there who try and convince me 45 is still young, there are a few of my students who love to remind me on the daily that I’m old. As dirt. At this point in my life, I really do feel age is just a number, because I still feel as though I’m 28.
In fact, there’s this adorable teacher-friend at the school where I’m doing a long term sub gig, who I find so fun and relatable, I thought maybe we were close in age. But, I found out yesterday when I’d had my first baby in 1995, she would have been 2.
The truth is, I feel I’ve been rockin’ the 40’s. (Just ask anyone who attended my cousin Lauren's wedding last summer.) My 20’s were reckless and confusing, my 30’s were lost to motherhood and a struggle to “find my self”, my 40’s just seem a good fit. I pay less attention to what’s going on with everyone else, in that meaningless, gossipy kind of way. (I said LESS attention, I'm human after all.) I’ve lost the need or desire to prove myself and be noticed. I’m trying new things that I didn’t have the time or confidence to do before. And there is that freedom to speak my mind, to speak my truth; I’m just not that invested in what people think of me anymore.
And I think many 40-somethings would agree, it’s incredibly freeing and empowering.
I look at my picture from years ago, of this young girl. Slimmer. Prettier, maybe. Smoother skin. Less worry. She has her whole life ahead of her. What would I tell my 18 year old self? Ooooh, that’s a tough question. My fingers are paused over the keyboard, because this hits a nerve.
You are not that important. And you are THAT important.
The thing is, when I take a better look at the photo, I see more closely in her eyes the desperation to be loved, the fear and uncertainty of the future and the longing to be liked and accepted by everyone. And she’s right to be afraid. Because sh*t’s gonna go sideways. Over and over again.
I guess I would tell her to stop looking for happiness and fulfillment outside herself. That she is enough. That to be loved and accepted, you must first learn to love and accept. But can you tell that to an 18 year old? Well, I guess you can, but can she really hear it?
It takes some of us years, decades even, if ever at all, to come to this wisdom. But, by then you can’t fit into your 18 year old jeans and your breasts aren't where they used to be. It’s so unfair!
So how does one celebrate turning 45?? What’s the protocol?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really enjoyed birthdays. Or birthday parties, for that matter. I think it’s because there’s this great sense of expectation we don’t speak about. Unless you’re a Kardashian. Or a Real Housewife. I kind of get a kick out of them throwing their own glam-fabulous, over-the-top birthday events, inviting everyone who’s anyone, except the one they’re mad at. Which is probably the reason they planned the party to begin with.
This year I’m going to keep things simple and do something I've really been craving. I’ll be spending time in nature, in one of my favorite places, with some of my favorite people. I’m going to take a break from my phone and my laptop and the everyday-ness. I have much to be grateful for: a husband and kids I adore, active parents who enjoy spending time with me, loving and supportive family and friends, my health...plus I have a good bottle of wine for the occasion.
Come on 45...Let's do this.
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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