Dedicated to ALL OF US WHO TURN 48 ONE DAY…
FLASHBACK: Working Towards Acceptance, May 12, 2016
The day before I turned 46 my husband woke up with a shooting pain down the side of his left leg. Little to say, the romantic dinner we had planned would become just dinner. As I set the table, the phone rang. It was my mother-in-law. Havana had fever and wanted to come home. We wound up celebrating over warm milk and cookies in four on a couch made for two. The next night – with my adorable husband still immobile- we tried again. The phone rang. Andrea’s 40 something sister was feeling sick. We left the table and the warm food that had taken me all afternoon to prepare, blew out the candles and drove over. When did we suddenly become devoted parents, loving children, ‘always there when you need us’ siblings (even when it isn’t an emergency)… before the love birds that I once knew? I am just coming to terms with the fact that the romantic, carefree days will be more and more difficult to squeeze in. I am hoping that acceptance is on the way.
Two years have passed since that day. And every once in a while I need to remember that it isn’t Life getting in the way sometimes… most of the times, it is us getting in the way of our life…
FLASHBACK: Before the acceptance, May 12, 2015
I had a fight with my body this morning. It hasn’t been working up to my expectations and after months of trying to fix it, accept it, breathe myself away from frustration, I am feeling extremely angry. A-N-G-R-Y!!!! How could it disappoint me in this way… abbandon me mid-life (or less considering that I am going to live to be over 100!)?
It wasn’t long ago that I was still able to keep up with it all – or at least I did a damn good job of making believe that I was: balancing kids, husband, work, small spaces and lots and lots of boxes; challenging, yet do-able. And then, one day I woke up with a small kink in my lower back. It all spiraled from there…
the kink became pain, the pain intensified and travelled up towards my shoulder blades, then my neck until it made its way down to the back of my legs and knees. I was broken, cracking from the inside out. What started out as a small kink was slowly spreading out in all directions like a small crack on a windshield... consuming my body and my mind, limiting my mobility, completely shattering my spirit. Holding a frying pan became my biggest challenge, along with taking a simple hike, playing with my daughters, relaxing in my favorite yoga pose.
When we listen, if we are astute enough to pay attention, our body sends us messages: to slow down, relax, change. So I started to think about how I was exercising, being a mom, a wife… how I was dealing with this rewarding, but challenging life on the road…. most of all , HOW I WANTED TO AGE.
My once energetic body – always ready for a run, a task, someone to help- was suddenly exhausted, weak, completely out of sync. Although my mind still wanted to go, do, give, react, my body was running on empty.
But, I just couldn’t stop. I did the worst thing…. I RESISTED and I refused to accept.
My ego and the potential size of my butt and thighs wouldn’t permit me to give in.
For the past five years I had become pretty sensational at packing and unpacking, setting up camp again and again, recreating a sense of regularity for my daughters, balancing the mood swings, working out in the oddest places, wherever, whenever, no equipment required: I couldn’t miss a beat or a day… everyone said ‘AMAZING!’
as I meditated in noisy spaces, woke up early to run, stayed up late to prepare healthy meals and ‘mamma made’ party favors for any occasion, continued with my frequent, all night writing sessions…
as I maintained our healthy habits, remained determined to reduce waste, nuture relationships… I found myself repeatedly attempting to come back from a state of BURNOUT with just a few hours of silence and way too much coffee….
the more I resisted, the faster the burning sensation ran up my neck making my head feel too heavy to sustain. Every argument, heated discussion or moment of irritation caused the burn to run free.
7 months, then 8, 9: I was literally blocked between appointments with physical therapists, chiropractors, masseuses, manipulators, x-rays and a variety of voodoo type medicine men. I tried everything (except acceptance) The pain persisted. I was miserable and fighting not only with my body, but with my life as I always knew it.
I resisted until finally I had no other choice but to STOP. LET GO…
Let go of my image of me the way I was, the way I wanted to be, the way I wanted to be perceived, who I thought I needed to be to everyone else: INVINCIBLE and forever young.
I started learning how to accept…
Time has passed. My husband and are able to work in ‘us’ time and I no longer have back problems… I have learned the art of acceptance, and yet, life still gets in the way sometimes when I allow it to…
May 5, 2018: (a week before my 48th birthday)
On good days I still imagine myself as I was: pretty, but not too pretty to be intimidating, fit and feminine, popular, likeable… kissing one too many boys, screaming out (car windows), taking risks and having no regrets. On the better days, I don’t feel my age, and I still feel like the girl that I was, just better. And, when I forget I have my biggest ‘fans’ backing this up: “You still look like you are in your thirties“, “You look like a kid“, “I can’t believe that you are 48!“… “YOU ARE AMAZING!” I still have my husband telling me that I am the most extraordinary woman in the world.
On these days, I look in the mirror and think “not too bad“.
Then there are the other days, when lighting is everything, my hair and skin are dry, my aches and pains make me feel as if I were 90… when the photos of all my old girlfriends making them look like moviestars make me feel like the bad shot taken when least expected… and, when a slight case of constipation and too little sleep bloats absolutely everything!
Fortunately, the good days still outdo the bad ones… I still don’t need to dye my hair (when most of my friends have been natural blondes for years), I don’t have crows feet, varicose veins or a muffin top… I exercise without exaggerating, eat healthy, meditate and detox …
and, I still get an occasional look from a boy younger than 60 once in a while…
but, in the end… even when the thought of hiding under the sheets with the numbers 4 and 8 sometimes feels tempting… there is no escaping the 5 and the 0 that will appear on my birthday card and under those same sheets before I know it.
This is when the art of acceptance comes in to save the day!
Journal Entry, May 12, 2017, ACCEPTANCE
I am still a bit envious of those women who post photos of themselves without analyzing them for an hour, that don’t have to try an outfit on 2, 3 or 10 times before wearing it to a party. Even in my 20’s, I was never that girl. But, at 47 I am a whole lot kinder and wiser… and when I am able to see clearly, I truly like myself.
May 12th, 2018 (TODAY, my 48th birthday)
A long time ago I learned that it isn’t necessary to be perfect to feel happy. I still remind myself this on a daily basis and attempt to pass this important lesson of life on to my two daughters. You can look in the mirror and see what is important… you can see what time gives instead of what time takes away. It takes practice (let’s stop kidding ourselves… it takes a lifetime) and patience to learn the art of acceptance. It is easier to notice what is broken, defected, imperfect… to concentrate on our weaknesses and mistakes, everything that is not a compliment.
I am writing these words after 8 days of work at a festival in Rome (we sell books for those of you who don’t know). Eight days of total confusion, noise, people and artificial lighting… long hours and little sleep. I am writing these words in a state of exhaustion and yet, complete awareness…
I have lost control, held back the tears and allowed them to flow… I have raised my voice, soured my tone, I have said I am sorry to my loved ones as well as to myself… I have felt utterly breathless before finding the strength to come up for air. As the booming of the music continues incessantly and torturously in the background, I search for silence in my head, and instead I have found a place of Kindness, a place where my Impatience has encountered my Acceptance.
When Impatience searched for perfection, Acceptance reminded him that perfection simply doesn’t exist and that it is OK. “You can feel happy even though you aren’t perfect. Happy Birthday Beautiful, 48 year old you!“, Acceptance lovingly said…
This post is a celebration of Life so, Happy Birthday to me and to you…
A dear friend once told me: Why wait for a birthday to celebrate Life when you can do it every morning with the rising of the sun!
At 48, this is the girl I choose to be!
oooxxx and gratitude,