Today I turn 40.
How did that happen? I can blink and picture myself on my 30th birthday tipsy and laughing at party with my 50 closest pals, thinking forty sounded so far away. It’s amazing where life can take you and how quickly time passes the older you get.
My thirties taught me a lot about risk and faith and trusting myself and being brave. They taught me I am stronger than I thought and that being strong doesn’t mean being hardened to life, to being vulnerable, or feeling all the feelings. In fact, doing all of those things makes you strong. During the past decade I have made peace with parts of myself and parts of my life that I always wrestled with- my relationship with my father being the biggest one. I packed up my entire life in Santa Cruz, CA to move to Seattle where I knew 3 people and didn’t have a job and in that leap of faith, I got to experience living in a big city, being a single woman in a hip part of town, going on some good and some (very) bad dates that eventually led me to Mr. Darcy, and finding a life I wouldn’t trade with anyone.
In my 30’s I not only found my person, I found myself. I found a woman I am proud to be. Ten years ago I was in therapy writing out lists of qualities I liked about myself (the list was short and difficult to write) and a list of qualities I’d like to possess- the woman I’d like to be. It’s safe to say that I’ve spent the last ten years becoming that woman I dreamed of but didn’t think was possible. I’m imperfect but my flaws give color to my character and I’m okay with that. I make mistakes but I no longer shy away from trying out of fear of failing because I know that the attempt is sometimes as meaningful as the success. I no longer feel like I have to constantly be doing something, to be busy, to have plans. I don’t strive to multitask every aspect of my life. I relish in a day with nothing on my calendar. Who? Me? YES ME. I don’t give everything I have to everyone I know because I have finally learned that I don’t have to prove my worth, that I don’t have to be everyone’s friend, that (and this is a big one) people don’t need rescuing. I’ve retired my cape.
I’ve gotten more and more okay with people not liking me. I’m still flummoxed when it happens but, fuck it, that’s life and it doesn’t mean I am a bad person just because someone doesn’t find me delightful. I’ve learned that you can be hurt or hurt someone and repair the relationship if you’re both honest. That fighting doesn’t mean the end. That the people meant to stick around will stick it out with you even when it gets messy. I’m grateful to all the people who have lead me here, even the ones who broke my heart or made me cry, because all of it shaped me. I can now write a list about all the things I like about myself. I wish I could call up my therapist from when I was 30 and having a mini nervous breakdown, falling apart in her office on a weekly basis, and read her my new list. I’d like to say thank you to her for helping me when I felt like no one could.
And thank you to YOU. Ten years ago I didn’t know what a blog was but now I can’t imagine my life without this space and without all of you. I appreciate you reading, commenting, and supporting me through the years. You’ve cried and laughed with me. Today, let’s celebrate! I’m forty, damn it! In honor of my birthday and my journey to self-acceptance, I want to hear from you- what’s something you really like about yourself? And if you feel like it, what’s something you like about me? Let’s blow up my comment section with a lovefest, okay?
Here, I’ll start: I like my honesty and my sense of humor. I really like that you show up for me.
Your turn. . .