Yesterday was my 40th birthday. It was also the first day of school for my little guy who is now officially a first grader. This summer flew by in a fun frenzy of soccer camp, marathon training, racing, play dates, hikes, lake trips, family time and more. It was wonderful, but I’m ready for the routine and structure of the school year.
This birthday began very differently than most. It was my first birthday without my Noni. She died in November and I miss her a lot, but more yesterday than any other day. I was born on her birthday. I missed hearing her sing to me yesterday morning. My sister tried, but admittedly it wasn’t the same, sweet, but not the same. I always loved sharing my birthday with my grandmother. It created a unique and special bond between us.
After bringing Carlos to school I went for a run. Since the run was the day before my last 20 mile training run it was put on my schedule as simply a birthday run. I spent my running time reflecting on these last 39 years.
My 20s were stagnant like the murky swamp water behind the trees in this photo. There was a darkness to those years when I look back on them. I really hated my appearance and this negative energy filtered down into my personality, my interactions with others and my overall sense of self. Although I went to college, traveled, worked, joined the Peace Corps and met my husband during my 20s I wasn’t truly living. I certainly wasn’t living up to my full potential. I spent an awful lot of time obsessing about my weight and how it affected my appearance. I tried every diet out there for a day or two with no success. I did nothing to change my problem, instead I just bitched and moaned about it and blamed everyone and everything else.
A light began to stream through that dark place during my 30s. I became a nurse and had my son in my early 30s. It was the latter event that precipitated permanent changes in myself. Having a child begs the question, “how can I take effectively care for another human being if I am not caring for myself, body and soul?” The answer was clear…I had no choice but to finally do something about my weight. Only this time I refused to diet. If I was going to lose weight it was going to be in a healthy, sustainable manner and I wasn’t just going to lose weight. No this time around I was going to change my lifestyle. No more sitting around waiting for change to come to me. This time I had to do the work and I did, one small change at a time.
Some people get all uptight about turning 40. Not me. I’m so honored to be given the gift of another year. I feel infinitely better today than I did at 20 and 30. I’m healthy, fit and energetic. From the dark, murky swamp emerged a glimmer of light. Once I realized how to let the light in I gained control of my life. Now the path ahead is wide open, bright, happy and full of adventure and surprises.