Saturday, June 23, 2012

43 is the new 43

It’s my 43rd birthday today and I must admit that the few days prior didn’t have that same crescendo of anticipation that those twenty-something birthdays did.  Gone are my party-girl birthdays.   They say that with age comes wisdom and it may also include a healthy dose of reflection because reflective would be a great adjective to describe my recent moods.  My party will probably consist of one good glass of wine, my husband, and an inspirational sunset and I can’t think of anything more lovely.

Looking at recent photos taken I have to admit that good lighting is much more important than it was even 5 years ago.  And yet, with those definitions of experience etched across my face I must admit I feel a bit of pride in the earning of those lines.  I mean, I really really earned them.  Several big career changes, marriage and four kids, a bout with crazy cancer, and finally the risks taken to create the life I dreamed off still has me sometimes shaking in my five finger shoes.

So, I feel 43.  I am strong from a consistent yoga practice but still see opportunity for improvement and growth.  And yet, I can finally lower the volume of the egocentric voice in my head so much faster than I could in my twenties.  I would like to think that with age comes wisdom, humility, and the ability to listen to the signals of the brain and body, and more than ever an appreciation for the gifts of a well-earned life.

Lessons learned:

1.        It takes work to be present.  Busy days, weeks, and months can fly by without really living.  And I think there were years when I was so busy raising small kids that every moment just melted together.  I know they had the chubby knuckles that I adored but how often did I stop to sketch them before they morphed into the long slender fingers that dribble basketballs and hold steering wheels.  Twenty- something year old Amy raising babies didn’t realize the fleetingness of those moments.  The 43 year old me takes more pictures, writes about more moments, and sometimes absolutely refuses to hurry. 

2.        Happy is a lifestyle.  It is easy to be mad at a boss or discontented with the current economy.  But the brain is so powerful that a continuous focus on a negative aspect of life can lead to a much stressed out existence.  It’s easy to be sucked into a spiral of negative thought patterns only to miss the beauty of the world around you.  Yes, life is tough and can hand out some pretty sour lemons.  But it is the courageous that choose to find calm among the chaos. For me, this is why I choose yoga.  A method of moving meditation literally can transform this tightly wound yogini into a blissed-out momma.

3.       Beauty is internal.  I have surrounded myself with beautiful women friends.  But it has nothing to do with the perfection of manicured hands or wrinkle free foreheads.  Their eyes tell stories; they make me laugh with their accounts of their children’s antics, take care of their health, and work to facilitate a healthy community.  I am often struck by the beauty of the women in my life.  They radiate.

4.   Before cancer I never even considered death.  Being diagnosed forced me to consider that I am and everyone is terminal.  It’s not a morbid thought really……it puts things in perspective when I start to sweat the small stuff.  I’m not as obligated to be the perfect yoga teacher, wife, and even mother.  In fact, I don’t think my kids would ever tell you that I didn’t bake 100 cupcakes for a bake sale or sign them up for a sports related activity each season.  They do notice when I’m stressed out because of the trickle down affect it has on my family.  When I’m in balance, my family is in balance. 

Blessings on my Birthday

I have learned some good stuff. But this reflective blogger and yogini couldn’t move forward without understanding that there is still much to learn.  And will these lessons be valuable or even similar at age 53?  Probably not.  But I still wish I could have shared these thoughts with 23 year old Amy. It would have saved her a lot of headaches.

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