I first wrote about the topic of growing older a few years ago – you can read that post here if you like. Given my recent birthday, I felt it was a good time to revisit this. Not that it was a significant milestone this time, nor celebrated in a particularly extravagant manner due to this being tainted by lockdown restrictions, but so much has changed* since I shared that last post.
*I’m not going to deep-dive into the lasting impact of the pandemic here. That deserves so much more thought and space than I can give today. I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t been unequivocally changed in some way by this – a blog for another day.
There’s no doubt that physically, the signs are becoming more visible with each trip around the sun. My body is rounder and softer, the lines on my face are deeper, yet I don’t mind one bit. I adore birthdays; the cake, the balloons, the cards filled with little messages of love, the nights getting lighter, and flowers beginning to bloom.
To me, they signify optimism for the season ahead, for beach days and picnics and taking a thousand precious pictures of my friends and family, and let’s face it, my cats – an unrivaled excitement of those delicious memories not yet made.
Mentally, I’ve never been stronger. I’m comfortable in my skin and wholeheartedly love who I am. I am truly unshaken by others’ opinions, feeling rooted, and secure in my whole self. I’ve taken ownership of my mistakes and left behind a heap of resentment, regret, bitterness, and envy; the things I now know stem from a dark place of insecurity and fear.
Make no mistake, I’ve done the work to get to this point. My God, have I put the work in over the years, and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve reluctantly uncovered shadows and traumas and cried my heart out, slowly making my peace with it all (and failing repeatedly) until I could eventually clear the way for something so much more empowering to occupy that buried space.
It was never some spiritual, overnight epiphany, but more like a continuous evolution. One of the biggest lessons so far has been around allowing myself to change and pivot as my world expands and emotional experiences continue. Who I was at 18, then 28, and now 38 are different yet still valid and worthy versions of myself, all shaped by circumstance, maturity, and whatever
bullshit I was dealing with level of self-awareness I had at that particular point in time.
I know I have a way to go, as we all do, but I welcome the opportunities that may come along to help me do that. I do wonder what kind of words I’ll be jotting down on this nuanced topic in another few years. Time has brought along lots of complex things but the one constant for me has been growth; each decade has been tangibly better than the last.