Renew, Refresh, Reinvent

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. Extraordinary-Mommy-featured 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:

Smith Funny

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:

New EXM

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.

  • Yoly

    It’s gorgeous! Love everything about this new iteration. It really does reflect you. I started to feel those night sweats, those are no fun. Anyways, look forward to see you shine and reinvent! Hugs.

  • http://www.ericasays.com Erica Mueller

    Beautiful, just like you! I love how clean and easy to navigate and how grown-up it is after so many years of being the same. It suits you so well.

    Happy Birthday!

  • theshoppingmama

    I love it! It’s gorgeous and a great reflection of you and all that you have to offer.
    Here’s to another great year!

  • http://www.musingsofahousewife.com Jo-Lynne Shane

    I love this. I am your exact age… well… I’m about 7 mos older! HA! And I hear ya. 41 is.. Well. We are not young. :-) But here’s to the BEST decade yet! And your new blog design is PERFECTION. xo

  • Mum

    You have THE MOST AMAZING way with words! I couldn’t be prouder of my grown up little girl. The site is fantastic….it flows just like the magic that flows from you to your followers.

  • Mary

    I LOVE the new look, and I really enjoyed this post too. I’ve been in a real funk/mid-life crisis thing lately and I know I need to just suck it up, be happy with who I am NOW, and quit trying to be 25 again. Maybe by this time next year I will be where you are. Congrats … I am thrilled for you!! :)

  • Crystal

    Love it, Danielle!

  • http://www.multitaskingmommy.com Jodi Grundig

    It’s beautiful – I love it!!

  • SarahS

    So Nice!

    I saw something like this on http://theawesomehunter.com

  • http://momentswithmandi.com/ Mandi Welbaum

    It fits you. It fits everything that is so kind, generous and lovingly you. Happy birthday, friend!

  • Thrill of the Chases

    I love this new look & post a MILLION times over!!! I love this because its real. Its the authentic story and its a wonderful example to others to love themselves & their story. I am excited to follow you and see where you are going because with your “reinvention and renewal” there can only be amazing things in store for the days ahead. Keep it up & HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  • Danielle Smith

    Thank you so very much, my friend. How very kind of you! I’m so grateful.xoxo

  • Danielle Smith

    Oh sweet friend – that means so much coming from you. Knowing that your design-eye sees something beautiful and easy to navigate (and that you can recognize the evolved version of me!) It makes me giddy. I’m grateful.

  • Danielle Smith

    Mum. I love you. Your support and love never wavers. I couldn’t be me without you. Thank you. xoxo

  • Danielle Smith

    Kate – thank you. Truly. Your words are so kind. This has been such a labor – a beautiful, nerve-wracking labor. Hearing you say that you see ‘me’ in it makes it all worth it. THANK YOU.

  • Danielle Smith

    JL – that’s it! It isn’t YOUNG, but it does feel like it is shaping up to be the very best. I’m happy to be doing it with you. THANK YOU.

  • Danielle Smith

    Thank you so very much, Crystal :)

  • Danielle Smith

    I’m happy to navigate this mid-life-place with you, my friend. It is crazy and challenging and not young, BUT I’m finding it beautiful all the same. Thank you for being supportive and HERE. I hope to see you soon. xoxo

  • Danielle Smith

    Oh Mandi – what a truly lovely thing to say. THANK YOU. I’m so grateful.

  • Danielle Smith

    So grateful, Jodi – I’m so happy/nervous/excited/giddy :)

  • Danielle Smith

    How beautifully kind of you – I’m so grateful. Thank you so much for being here and for sharing such sweet words. I do so hope you will be back.

  • http://www.worklifenation.com JudyMartin

    Danielle,
    Thrilled for you and your incredible media facelift. It’s sharp, clear and truly shines of who you are as a person inside and out. Congratulations! @judyMartin8

  • Dude Mom

    Love the new look!

  • Kirsten

    Danielle: Absolutely adore the new look. Bright, happy, cheerful, and can’t wait to dig into things further. I’ve been reading you for several years now, always through a blog reader…. now I think I may have to wander into the “real world” more often. Congrats!

  • Sara

    Everything about this is beautiful – the site, the post, the message. Congrats to you…and Happy Birthday! :)

  • http://amyvernon.net/ AmyVernon

    Love it! Really terrific new look, @DanielleSmith:disqus!

  • http://sellabitmum.blogspot.com/ sellabitmum

    Love your re-design. Love this my friend. Happy belated birthday!

  • Barbara Hoyer

    Awesome post! I’m hitting 46 in February, just 4 years closer to 50. I feel so much more comfortable in my skin than I did in my 30’s.

    I love the design!

  • http://about.me/lizthompson Liz@thisfullhouse

    I love your new look and absolutely ADORE this post! I am turning 50, this year (this IS the first time I’m actually admitting it, out loud, on the internets), but I have folks tell me they figured me for much, much younger, because I’m not quite sure what 50 is supposed to feel like, other than just being gosh-darned happy to be here, right now, at this moment, where I want to be, embracing every experience, as if it were fresh and new — does that make sense?!? Anyway, I love your energy. More power to you, my friend!!!