Everyone has different feelings about turning older....
For men it is easy and don’t say its not.
You all look amazing, grey looks good on every guy, it actually makes you more attractive... I can only picture Cary Grant after 40, not at 29.
Which is just annoying. Seriously. My husband is way better looking at 48, (he turns 49 in 48 hours) than at 26.
For women, we struggle... Because in this world, full of the next young thing, where we spend billions on nips, tucks and anti-aging products, we sometimes lose sight of what birthdays really are... Gifts.
That’s right a gift.
Unlike our taxes where we are forced to pay... Our birthdays pay us; and I don’t mean in gifts and cake. They are the hallmark of a life well lived. For those of us fortunate enough to have children; we see how our beauties change as we age. They are smarter, more independent... Some are even lucky enough to see them grow, love and have families of their own. What magic it must be to see your baby hold their baby... To realize that they have followed a similar path...
I mark this August 20th with special fondness, it is the first time in years, where I’m remarkably better this year than last. My health is more stable, I have access to medical knowledge about my illness that my team has lacked for so long. So in many ways, it is the culmination of many hard fought victories.
Last night, on the eve of this birthday, I was frustrated. The path to wellness means, letting go of more medications. This requires tapering down the dosage, and frankly, it doesn’t feel good...
Withdrawal from caffeine, sugar, or electronic devices can be hard. But meds that have been your mainstay for a looooong time, well that is hard too...
The body likes what it likes, and letting go for some is harder than others. I’m very grateful, I have a relatively easy time stepping down on meds, I don’t seem to have the serious withdrawals that others have from my cocktails and sliding my meds thing-up and down has usually been easier than many of my medical warrior friends have with their side-effects.
So when I got cranky with my goto doc Harvard, well it was just out of frustration. I wanted the pain to be gone and the meds too, and its not going to work that way for me. I understand that without a miraculous miracle, I will struggle with significant chest pain for the rest of my life.
Which to be honest makes me angry, hurt, frustrated, confused, and plain old grumpy!
And so, I was grumpy and irritated with the doctor... who walks with me through every mile post of this journey and has never given up or asked for a break. Because he knows as I do that deep down, I wanted to wake up this morning feeling 100%; to wake-up and throw on my running shoes and go; come back, drink a cup of coffee and take the kids for a bike ride, then to the pool...
He took the hit for the team. Because he knows that this is the beautiful reality of my dearest girlfriends... That is the life they can live. But, it is not mine.
And truthfully it really, really hurts at times... I know in my heart, I will improve even more for my next birthday... I also know that things will always be a struggle.
I can make peace with that... This is my normal now.
If wisdom comes with age, what did I really learn this year? How has it made me better?
Well this year I learned to listen to myself: to emphatically trust my value, my ideals, my insights, my passions and my truths. It is a big work in progress. But all in all, I used my voice to call out the foolishness in my own life. I chose to protect and honor what is at my core. I learned to listen to what moves me, what delights me and to move all the rest out for the Goodwill truck that comes often to pick up the things, the people, the choices that don’t sustain my core. That is the wisdom I lacked in my youth.
And the best part... I don’t feel sad or guilty or diminished. I’m just too busy!
I also am learning to make peace with the parts of myself that I struggle with, my anxiety has less of a hold now than ever. I have worked to be honest. When I tell my team that I’m worried about whatever the medical foolishness de jour that pops up, I don’t even consider for a second what they think... It is my reality and I want help to lessen that burden. I have made peace, that my medical friends will always be with me. We won’t break-up; I’ve learned to embrace collaboration, what I can achieve with my treatments, what makes me uncomfortable, what I can’t tolerate.
Like technicians that don’t know how to draw blood... Small commercial; I have the two and out rule. You can stick me twice, and that’s it, you don’t get to dig or fish around looking for the vein. Let me be the first to tell you all, there are some world class stickers out there, they can find my vein when I’m dehydrated, when I’m sick and when I’m well and there are some... Well they need to do something else. You should never leave a doctor’s office with track marks and bruises like a wolverine gnawed on your arm... You can stick me twice, then you need to call for reinforcements.
But, I digress as I’m known to do... But its my Birthday, so I’m entitled. The one day a year when we actually are entitled to something!
I often say I don’t suffer fools gladly and I don’t, I love too deeply. So if you are an asshole, your time with me will be short. All I really expect from folks is to be kind, and if you're not, well we don’t have much to discuss. And by the way, I don’t judge or make fun of anyone's faith or choice to worship or not... So don’t make fun of mine... Just saying, you don’t have to worship with me, you don’t have to pray with me, but don’t diminish my beliefs.
I also am getting better about my sphere of influence and my areas of concern. I’ve got a lot going on in my life... I have a son with special needs, a daughter that needs to be reminded that she is in fact 7 and not 37, a husband who I really just want more perfect ordinary moments with.... So my free time is precious. And my good energy is gold.
I would rather go to the farmer’s market and watch the 7 year old give puppy-eyes to our favorite farmer for not having beets than anything. My girl loves her beets with arugula and goat cheese, seriously, she is 7! She is killing this farmer, cause two weeks running no beets. I’m thinking she is going to have her own beet garden next year. I love making the world’s best peach crisp for my family... That is my free time. And HBO, I love me some HBO... I give thanks for cable everyday.
So as I embark on my 43rd year, all in all I’m grateful.
Grateful for faith, hope and love.
And a life filled with more champagne on Tuesdays, because we can always find room for that!
So if you need a toast tonight, toast for me...
Because, I’m toasting for me, too!