On Turning 39 Years Old: An Open Letter — Womanhood Unwrapped
There was a moment when I started to raise my kiddos with that same mantra. Then my years of personal healing and a few good parenting books made me take a hard look at why I was encouraging my children not to FEEL what they FEEL. Don’t get me wrong; I am not a believer in self-pity or baby-ing myself or my children through life. At some point, we all have to face the music of our actions, right?! But, I am a firm believer in not pushing down what needs to come out and not keeping the peace for the sake of ‘being nice,’ ‘appearing happy,’ and/or ‘rocking the boat.’ I believe that faking happiness is the quickest way to die inside. At least, for me, that’s been true.
So, go for it. I have. Morn the loss of the age you were, and what’s been. Then pick yourself up. Dry your tears, and enjoy the age you are now! (I’ll be reminding myself of this daily 😉)
Remember that time you thought, “oh, next year will be different.” Or, “When I just get that job, or marry that guy, or have those kiddos, I’ll feel whole and complete.” News flash: that didn’t happen, did it? Maybe it’s just me, but the real ‘whole and complete’ feeling has not come to me from acquiring more stuff or meeting more milestones. Those are only momentary rewards. It’s come (and is still developing for me) from the grit and hard work I’ve put into owning my own life, feelings, needs, and aspirations. It’s come from slowly but surely accepting myself and embracing my gifts and flaws.
Life is messy. It continually changes, whether you want it to or not. In this 39th year and subsequent decade, my wish for myself and all women is to honor life for what it is and strive for self-empowerment and self-love over perfectionism and judgment. Okay, okay. I’ve made the point. Moving on. 👇
Why is this one so hard?! It seems easy to not surround yourself with people, things, and belief systems that bring you down, right? But of all the things my thirties taught me, this is the lesson that still gives me grief and pause.
It comes down to knowing what works for you, your family, your life, and not compromising for the sake of others’ needs or desires. There are absolutely no compromises for your well-being that end up making your life or anyone else’s life better. But executing this knowledge is what has been the absolute most challenging thing I have ever done.
I still suck at knowing when I will regret a commitment or accommodation after the fact and knowing when it’s worth it. Some compromises DO need to occur. In marriage, parenthood, and friendship, we’re continually compromising.
It’s the surrender or accommodation of something that either goes against your beliefs, needs for self-care, or the needs of your family that end up biting you in the ass. Amiright?
I now have a system. Don’t say yes immediately. Wait. See how it feels in 24-hours. Then commit, or don’t. But for God’s sake, don’t let others dictate your life for you. Don’t do it if it makes you feel bad or produces disastrous results in your life!
I had placed the word ‘joy’ here. But then I realized that the word ‘joy’ is loaded with an obligation. When I try to force joy on myself, all I end up with is a big pile of insecure and unhappy sh*t. Maybe it’s just me, so use whatever word you want to affirm unashamed happiness and celebration for your life, but whatever it is, or whatever those things and people are that make your soul rejoice and harmonize: Be. Around. That. More. 🙌
PS This concept doesn’t work if you’re dedicated to ‘trying to be cool.’ There was a time when I felt that happiness was based on ‘who’ I was friends with and ‘how hard’ I could work out and eat well. There was a time when I thought being able to post that thing on Instagram was what would bring me joy. It didn’t. Stop that now.
One of the things I’ve learned in this decade is that I am a ‘Basic Biatch.’ If you know what this means, then you know. 😆
I’m ‘basic,’ and I’m proud of it. I love wearing clean black and white tennis shoes. I LOVE a clean house and photos in a pumpkin patch. I LOVE — there I said it. While I LOVE these things and know that my ‘basic’ tendencies are things that make me happy, I also KNOW many other women feel entirely differently, and that’s totally okay with me!
What wasn’t okay was when I was killing myself to follow the newest fad and continually be the woman that ‘is popular now.’ I think about the time I tried to be a marathon runner and the time I became obsessed with being an outdoor enthusiast. I love the outdoors, but no part of me wants to sleep in a tent and eat freeze-dried beans?! F*ck no!
I love to walk and occasionally ‘jog.’ But there is no way my body is made for running a marathon. (if you love this kind of outdoor experience, please know I support you! I just don’t want to do it myself. 😁💖). I promise not to judge you if you promise not to judge me. Deal?! 👌
Moral of my story:
I’m a 39-year-old woman. I’m flawed. I don’t love everyone and everything, and not everyone loves me. I am getting wrinkles, and I refuse to give up wine — even though it might make me skinnier. 🍷😍
I am working on loving myself and living the life that makes me content. I am a work in progress. And I’m cool with that.
Thank you for listening to my middle-aged rant. Cheers to what the next year will bring!
Originally published at https://womanhoodunwrapped.com on October 19, 2020.