Like almost every American woman over the age of 40, I am at that place where things that I once thought were important have slid back and moved into a different priority. Day after day we are presented with images of what makes us look “pretty” or “successful” or even better, “happy.” Most of those things are fake and we all know it. However we still try to carve our lives to fit into the box that social media and television want us crawl into. But when you move into a different stage in life, no longer bouncing toddlers or chasing the American Dream, you find that your needs and desires change too.
This week has just been a tough and stressful week. But when I looked at what was stressing me out, I kind of felt guilty for having those feelings. Here I was screaming about hardwood floors not showing up on time to be installed in my house, and delays in repairs that needed to be done and I get a text from one of my dearest friends saying that at the last minute they weren’t approved for their loan and they didn’t have a place to live. And I sat there, still clinging on to the last traces of my selfish feelings and frustrations and feeling a little ashamed for thinking my problems were even worth getting upset over.
Give yourself permission to have bad days
We all go through different stages in our lives, there are moments when we are hungry and need to work hard and push through so we can have the things we want and need. When I was in my 20’s and even some of my 30’s, that struggle and effort to make ends meet, meet the demands of a family, and have a decent life was part of our daily routine. There were times when we didn’t have enough money to pay all of the bills, times when we weren’t sure if we could keep a roof over the heads of our children, and even times when we went without.
We all have different life paths and that is okay. Just because we have what we need for today, doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate and understand the struggles of those who are still climbing up the steep hill.
Today I had to walk away from feeling guilty about complaining and accept that we all struggle in different ways and allow myself to see that this is a bad day, not a bad life.
Don’t compare yourself
I will likely never be the same size 5 that I was in college. It’s not that I can’t be, but the fact that I accept that I don’t need to be. I won’t have fake lips, a booty that can twerk, or a private jet. And that’s okay. What I want and need in my life is to feel good inside my own body, love the life that I worked hard to have, and to let go of comparing myself to others.
I lost 15lbs recently, and at first I was feeling pretty negative about the fact that I work out, eat light, and still have more jiggle in my wiggle than I would like. I looked at the women in places I would visit and wonder how I lost control of my fat and they didn’t.
Here’s the thing, you don’t know what someone else is going through by looking at them.
When you compare yourself to others, you make yourself feel like you are second best to something you really can’t understand. I won’t ever know what it’s like to be so stressed that I can’t eat, lose weight so quickly that people think I have an eating disorder, and I am truly thankful for that. But I wonder what people think of me, do they question if I should spend more time in the gym and less time writing? And I have to let that go.
Do more of the things that you enjoy
These days I am spending less time on social media and more time talking to my children, enjoying sitting outside and watching the clouds float by, and accepting that 40 something isn’t so bad. Recently I came to accept that life is so short, too short to live it any other way but happy.
There are good things about every day waiting for those who are seeking them out.
Today instead of being stressed about some recent issues, I am taking time to enjoy some of the sweetness that hard work made way for. I deserve it!