In a year, I’ll be 40. (I know, this kind of feels like one of the American Beauty, ‘in a year, I’ll be dead’ moments, but I promise, it’s not.)
I won’t be dead. I’ll just be 40. Which is practically the same thing if you ask my teenager.
It’s the age you don’t trust anyone over. It’s what comes after Thirty-something. It’s the big 4-0. And it’s the number that I swore I’d have my stuff* together by. (To be fair, I also said that about 30. But let’s not go there).
It’s funny how time creeps up on you. All those things I said I’d do before I turned 40? Well, they seemed so doable! I had so much time!
365 days doesn’t feel like a lot of time. It really doesn’t. But, if I play my cards right, 365 days is a lot of time to get stuff* done. I want to use them wisely, so for this, my 39th birthday, I’m giving myself a few gifts that will hopefully see me through the next 365 days and on to a better, healthier, happier future.
Time – To be specific, I’m giving myself the gift of taking time to care for myself and not feeling remotely guilty about it. If I serve dinner a bit late because I snuck in a walk, or walk by the growing laundry pile on the way to gym without so much as a backwards glance, that’s okay. Losing weight and getting healthy requires time, so that is a gift I am going to give my future 40-year-old self. Her smaller behind* will thank me for it.
Dedication – This gift is not easily given, received, or understood, at least by me. What does it mean to be dedicated? Does it mean never eating cheese or cake or cheesecake again? Does it mean that at every moment, my caloric intake has to be at the forefront of my mind? I certainly hope not, because that is just not sustainable for me. But I am giving myself dedication to an overall healthier lifestyle. Which leads to my next gift. (I was once told I was very good to myself. What can I say, I enjoy presents!)
Choice – This gift is a key piece of an overall healthy lifestyle. I can eat what I want. I can eat over my allotted calories sometimes. I can have a piece of cheese, or cake, or cheesecake, or CHEESE AND CAKE, as long as I understand that I have a choice in the matter, and that both sides of these choices has consequences, be they positive or negative. I don’t always have to make the right choice, but I am giving myself permission to own my choices, good or bad.
Joy – It’s time for me to start finding the joy in this process. I don’t have to complain about working out. I don’t have to mourn the lack of ice cream in a given day. I can love the hour I spend walking in the cold (because this is New England, yo) and revel in the fresh fruits and vegetables I eat and be joyful that I have the opportunity to do these things. Maybe not every day, every time, but sometimes. Nobody likes a whiner.
Inspiration – This is a gift I give myself by surrounding myself with people who make me want to be better. Some of them I am lucky enough to call friends. Others are bloggers telling their stories, just hoping they’ll inspire someone. Momentum can be hard to sustain, so I’ll be seeking out inspiration wherever I can find it, and hopefully, providing some of my own.
Forgiveness – This is a gift that just plain needs to be given. I’ve spent so much time being angry at myself for all the things I’ve done, and the things I haven’t done, to get to where I am physically. And to what end? Holding it against myself, blaming myself… it only serves to hold me where I am. It’s time to let the past be the past, before the present is the past. That made sense, right?
A Clean Slate – The last gift I’m giving myself is a completely clean slate. Whatever I’ve done before, whatever I’ve tried at and failed at, or tried at and succeeded at but quit anyway, it’s all off the table now. Just because I quit running doesn’t mean I can’t start again. And I have to start at the beginning, but that’s okay. With a clean slate, you’ve got nothing but beginnings. I can try something new, or I can try something I’ve already tried before. Weight Watchers worked for me before, and then I quit. And then I went back and it wasn’t the right fit. Doesn’t matter. If I choose to try it again, I can. No dwelling on how it went last time, there is no last time. There is only this time. No day but today, my friends.
So, Happy Birthday to me! I may not love the idea of leaving my 30s, but I am truly looking forward to the idea of ringing in my next ‘decade’ as the happiest, healthiest, best 40-year-old I can be. To that end, these gifts are the greatest gifts I could wish to receive.
A treadmill in the garage wouldn’t suck either, just saying.
*All asterisks are indicators of where I want to use bad words, but as I’m almost 40, I’m trying to be less of a trash mouth. That’s a gift to everyone, I promise.