Tomorrow I turn 45. 45? How did that happen?? I don’t feel 45; well not most days anyways. 45. Almost 50. I am honestly not sure how to take this. I know “age is just a number” and that there is no shame in getting older, yet every year I want to scream to the heavens, “SLOW DOWN”. There is so much to do, and time seems to be speeding up.
In the past, I have gotten a bit depressed about my birthday. I am not one who looks forward to the next number; I wish I was, but if I am to be honest here, I never look forward to my birthday. It is perhaps timely, that I saw a post on Facebook recently, written by a woman who cries every year around her birthday. Upon reading it, I realized that I share a lot of the thoughts she has, and I too, generally have a good weepy session the evening of my birthday. I have been the person who looks at the years and makes a list of everything I haven’t done, or haven’t accomplished yet. This year, however, I thought I would try something different. I’ve been told by some people around me that I have changed a lot in the last few years, and as I look back to the eve before I turned 44, I find myself in agreement. So here’s my list of how I have changed and what I’ve accomplished this year instead of what I haven’t:
- I made it through a really tough year of teaching. Last year’s class challenged me on many levels. While I loved those kids and worked hard for them, they took a lot out of me emotionally, physically, and mentally. Add into the mix, my first year of team teaching, this anxiety riddled human made it through. There were some upsets along the way, but I learned that I can survive the job intact.
- Change is not necessarily a bad thing, Sheldon. Last year saw one of my dearest colleagues leave the school. She had been there since I started and was a real source of laughter, love, and support for me. I honestly didn’t think I would get through it without a serious meltdown, and I made it through with tears, but no despondency. The weekend members of staff spent celebrating her helped, as we feted her in grand style and made a million more memories. My admin changed as well last year, and he was someone who had challenged me to try a new job, and who supported me through health issues. I had grave concerns about his leaving, but that too has turned out well. I miss him, but not as much as I thought I would.
- I asked for help. This is something I have a hard time doing. I don’t know if it’s because I have lived alone for so long now, but I am so used to just having to do it all myself. This year I started asking for help more. I’m still working on the guilt I have when I feel like I am bothering someone, but more often than not, I am finding that people actually want to help me. I never would have figured that.
- By asking for help, I have lost 39 pounds. I would love to write the number 40 there, but I didn’t quite reach that goal. I will, just not by tomorrow. After watching a good friend lose weight and keep it off, I finally asked her how, and she told me. I started the same program as her, and I am doing it. It’s as slow as molasses in winter, but it is coming off. I think I need to work on patience when I am 45. I still look in a mirror and see me as I was, but the scale and measuring tape don’t lie, plus old clothes fit.
- I found new medical help. For me, this is huge. When I turned 44, I was so tired of being overweight and feeling like crap despite eating clean, eliminating processed food, and going to a gym (I asked for help with that too! Crazy thing is, people volunteered to help there!) The doctor told me I just had to accept that my metabolism is slow. I did not accept that. I reached out to a naturopath who has done so much to help me with my weight loss and my general health. I found a physiotherapist who is helping me with a bum shoulder, crappy posture, and soon, my two year long swollen knee. Where traditional medicine has appeared to give up, these people are determined to help me live my live to the fullest.
- I swim now. Growing up, I loved being in the water, like seriously loved it. Somehow I lost that. I think in my mind, I needed to be slim and fit to wear a swimsuit, or I needed to hide my body in a flowing, cover the fat suit so that I didn’t disgust anyone. I don’t think that way anymore. I go to the pool. Not as often as I’d like, and I sure can’t swim well, but I go and I walk and back float swim, and I try. And I will keep going. I love it. I remember how much I love being in the water. Now if only I could see without my glasses in the pool.
- I put myself on online dating apps! That is huge too. The idea of a relationship has long been a dream, and while I have no expectations of a life long love, I decided what the hell, and put myself out there for at least a cup of coffee. It hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t given up though. I’m sticking with my high standards, and hoping to get to at least a coffee by the time I am writing here before my 46 birthday. If only Chris Evans was on Plenty of Fish for me…
- For the first time in my career, I am considering leaving the classroom. I still get slight panic feelings when I write that, but I have decided to run for First Vice-President of the local union. If I lose that, I still have my classroom, but am thinking about leaving the classroom for a full time Library Learning Commons position. The job I took last year in my library changed how I look at teaching. I have no plans to leave my school library, I’d just like to pick up another one.
- I’m doing as Elsa once sang about, and letting go. Purging my house (thank you Marie Kondo) and finding out that all this stuff I have been collecting for years has not helped me to love my home or my mental state in my home. The purge is nowhere near complete, but I am excited to thank the things in my life that I have held onto out of guilt or emotional ties, and to make this place reflect the human I am now.
- And finally, one of the biggest changes in this last year, is that I am happy. I get sad and lonely some times; I think we all do to some degree. But I am really good with where I am. I am still discovering new facets of myself, exploring new sides to myself (some of which are personal and not shared in public), and I am discovering that I am not who or what I thought I was. A friend mentioned to me last weekend, that I am much more positive. I realized that I am. My mom used to say that I was a happy, positive child, and somehow that got lost. I think I have found it again. I’m tired of the constant negativity around me, so I try to inject some happy or positive now, rather than join in the doom and gloom. I talk to my therapist when I need to, and I reach out to friends as soon as I feel down.
Thanks for reading, if you are still with me, and I have to say, I feel a lot better about turning 45 tomorrow. 44 was pretty damn good, and I have a feeling 45 will rock.