Most people celebrate their New Year when the official calendar flips on January 1st.
Not me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve done it on my own personal New Year – my birthday.
Well, it just so happens I’m celebrating today with one heck of a facelift.
A virtual one. Last year, my 40th birthday, was, by anyone’s estimation, my ‘big birthday’. Turning 40 is is viewed by the outside world as this milestone. You either approach it with an incredible fear – you are about to hit ‘middle age’ and you wonder if you have done enough, are you happy, are you enough?
Or you take stock and you hear over and over again, 40 and fabulous, 40 and fabulous, 40 is the new 30 and other such phrases designed to make you believe you aren’t really physically and mentally aging.
Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t an ounce of me that dreaded turning 40. I wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t worried, I didn’t think I was going to shrivel up and die having hit that age that once seems SO BLOODY OLD. But I realized mid-year I had pulled the wool over my own eyes a bit.
As I inched ever nearer to that birthday, I focused so much on the day, so much on the celebration, so much on the milestone, that I forgot to focus on how I actually felt in my own skin. I was so busy convincing myself that this was GOOD, that 40 was AMAZING, that I didn’t stop to observe the way 40 looked around my eyes, around my middle, how it felt in my hands and rolling off my tongue.
But as I approached today, as I prepared today’s facelist, as I contemplated the reinvention I knew I needed both professionally and personally, I realized last year might have been simply a trial run… last January being my official toe dip in to 40 and all. But now I’m truly in my 40’s.
Or, I am as of today.
And somehow it is different.
You’re just going to have to trust me on this.
This year, I’m more alive.
Last year I didn’t bother taking stock of how far I had come, how much I was or wasn’t enjoying the present moment or how far I still had to go.
There was part of me drowning in my own youth. The person I saw every day when I looked in the mirror and the person I imagined in my mind were incongruent.
I had yet to acknowledge the shift.
Here is a portion of my personal epiphany – I’m not ‘young’ anymore. And that is OK. With the shifting of my youth comes a mountain of wisdom. I didn’t get here by accident.
Somewhere around mid-year my body and mind broke up. And it was ugly. Broken bones and tears and lack of sleep and many days of sadness. But my body, mind and soul have since made up and began to work in tandem.
During that time a few things happened:
My metabolism stopped. It didn’t slow down, it stopped.
I began to experience night sweats and my doctor informed me that I have entered a lovely state called Perimenopause. She says it can last 8 to 10 years. Goody.
I suddenly needed glasses to see small print.
My hair stylist explained that natural red heads lose the color in their hair as they age – we fade. Awesome, right?
I turned the corner to 40 and entered my 40’s.
I see it in my eyes. I see it in my knees. In my shoulders.
Fibromyalgia makes sure I feel it in my hips and back and neck.
I experience it in my heart and in my tolerance for other people. I feel it in my confidence and in my lack of desire to change me to please you. I feel it in how I am teaching my daughter to (hopefully) settle in to HER long before I settled in to me. I’m hopeful that this generational passing down of confidence will happen sooner and sooner until eventually our daughters will be strong and proud and confident and unapologetic at six instead of 36 or 46. And these traits are not misused or misunderstood, that confidence in one’s self does not manifest into overt pride that hurts another, but instead lifts those around you.
This beautiful shift lead me to look in the mirror, to close the doors and re-evaluate what is important to me:
Who do I love: My people. The small ones. The big ones. The ones who listen and support and smile and laugh and tell me when I’m wrong. The ones who are just there. Friends and Family. The older I get, the more important this circle has become. I have learned to let go of relationships that are toxic and truly value the ones that feed my soul. It amazes me every day that there are so many extraordinary people in my world.
What do I love:
You are looking at it.
Though I and the Extraordinary Mommy brand have been through many iterations since 2008, this is the home. We are evolving from what has always appeared on the surface to be a parenting site, to one that has long operated in the lifestyle space as that is where I have existed via my media/writing work. What you see today is a platform that allows for the continued reinvention of a brand that I love and it allows me to continue to grow both personally and professionally.
I’m thrilled to say we will be hiring writers to help with the process. Watch for the announcement and application tomorrow.
Thank you for your enthusiasm as I announced this reinvention. Thank you for being the community I love. Thank you for allowing me to grow since 2008 from someone with a little site to someone who has so loved her work as a speaker, as a real live author and because I adore the video work deep in my soul, yes, a media and tv personality.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the extraordinary Jeni Elliott at The Blog Maven for holding my hand and for understanding what I wanted, what I needed even when there were moments when it was impossible for me to articulate it. I am exceptionally happy with the results.