Some days I look in the mirror and wonder who that lady is. Some days I hop on a scale chasing numbers that were there 30 years ago. Some days I am self-conscious about the gray hair and crows feet that stare back at me from the mirror. Some days I work extra hard to cover the age spots taking over my once fair, plain skin. Some days I am harder on myself than anyone else would be.
Today I looked at this photo from yesterday. I cringed a bit. I scrutinized as only the subject of a photo can.
Then I stopped.
Because the truth is, I am not the me of 30 years ago. Or 10 years. Or 5. Or even 1.
That is where it goes wrong sometimes.
It is so easy to tell my daughter to be present. To forgive herself. To not worry about how she thinks she compares to the standards of a flawed world. To not sweat the small stuff. But, sometimes I am a giant hypocrite.
Today I forced my own hand.
You see, this is 49. There is no living in this moment again. I can be miserable, or I can be content. In reality, if I have learned anything, I have learned that is one of the choices that changes everything. And it really is a choice.
Everyone you meet fights battles you know nothing about. And even when you think you share those battles, you only know what they choose to share with you.
Life is heavy. We can’t talk about our fears, our worries, and our sadness all the time. We can’t ask for others to fully absorb the weight of what we carry into each day. We can’t compare levels of difficulty. And we can not ask the world to adjust for us. Some of us are exhausted before the alarm goes off. But we still need to show up and make it happen.
So what can we do? I think we have to acknowledge where we are, and where we have come from. I think we have to offer gratitude to the higher powers in this universe. I think we have to carry a bucket of grace wherever we go, drinking from it when we are thirsty, sharing it when others have none, and allowing our own to be refilled by others.
But who am I? I am no more or less than you.
I am stream of consciousness writing,
I am 49.
I am wrinkles and declining vision.
I am scars and cellulite.
I am always prepared with a bottle of hair dye.
I am always hungry for chocolate and thirsty for caffeine.
I am sneakers and jeans and T-shirts.
I am quiet until I am not.
I am a long history of medical drama.
I am a professional at surgical recovery.
I am an athlete inside of a body that doesn’t know it yet.
I am a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, and a friend.
I am a wife.
I am a mother.
I am an absolutely ferocious beast at protecting my girl, her health, her rights, and her heart.
I am a sentimental fool.
I am a forgetful mess.
I am a nervous wreck.
I am an advocate.
I am a rare disease patient.
I am a medical biller on the side.
I am a teacher.
I am a life-long student of life.
I am one who loves deeply.
I am loved.
I am a believer in angels.
I am sure our loved ones never leave us.
I am ok with sloppy dog kisses, as I try not to overthink joy.
I am not 19, or 29, or 39, and I’m glad.
I am confident that lessons learned make me a stronger version of myself.
I am 49.
And I promise to work every day to be my best self.