Today I had what Oprah would call an "A-ha moment". A good friend of mine had a 40th birthday party this morning. She decided to do a day that was not all about her, but about all of the women friends in her life who inspire her. She had a nook in which we could create an inspiration board (a collaged board about what we hope to accomplish or change in the coming year), she had a "meditation room" as a place for her friends to take a moment of refuge, there was a beautiful spread of vegan fare, mimosas, and shopping. It was lovely, but the a-ha moment for me was when she had friend/mentor/client/comedian Kathy Buckley speak. I was already a fan of Kathy's...not because I've ever seen her comedy, because I hadn't, but because my friend has always spoken so highly of her, and because she was quoted on the back of Jagatjoti Khalsa'a coffee table book, "Down With You". I pulled Kathy aside to say hello and ask how she knew Jagatjoti. We got into a fascinating conversation. First of all, if you know Kathy Buckley (and to be honest, I didn't.)-she is a deaf comedian. She reads lips exceptionally well- to the point that you forget that she cannot hear. However, for the first 8 years of her life, her parents didn't know what was wrong with her and put her in a class with (in Kathy's words) the retarded kids. 8 years is a very long time to go without language. I can only imagine the frustration of being more cognitively aware than every other kid in a classroom, but without the ability to express what you know. Kathy comfortably dropped the "R" word more times than I can count. It was pretty jarring to hear...I have to admit, my heart jumped each and every time, despite the fact that I was fully enjoying what she was saying. I didn't feel it was important or appropriate to ask her to consider a different word. She wasn't using it as a means to degrade anyone, it was used more factually. It was also where I realized that sometimes a woman over 50 who has devoted her life to helping people who are different (those with physical disabilities, like deafness, and those with cognitive disabilities, like Autism and Down syndrome) might not be open to suggestion...and that perhaps the wisest and kindest thing I could do would be to take the pearls of wisdom from her where I could and continue to fine tune my ability to educate and share with people the power of their words. As I said, it was a fascinating conversation. This, however, was not my "A-ha moment".
Kathy shared some of her comedy with us (Hilarious!!!), but in it also talked about the fact that she never appreciated her body. That at 30, she hated the way she looked. Then by 40, when she looked back on pictures of her at 30, thought, "Wow. I was hot!" Now into her 50's she has decided to appreciate what IS.
I've thought a lot about this, appreciating what is, lately. It doesn't mean that if you have a goal for yourself or your body that you should just say Oh well and learn to appreciate it as it is. It does mean to appreciate where you are now. Right now, I'm having a lot of appreciation for my body. I am going on week 6 of a diet and fitness plan to get back the body (mostly the waistline) that I had prior to kids. It is working. My body has been quickly responding to the diet choices and exercise plans I've been sticking to and frankly, it feels great! It feels great to be accomplishing a goal. To be persevering. To be determined. It also feels great to reclaim a little bit of the "me" that existed before kids. Furthermore, it feels great to feel my body growing stronger each day. Since yoga has been a practice that I can measure my strength by, I get excited as poses that used to seem impossible or unattainable are finally becoming a reality.
My girlfriend had her 40th birthday party today, and 40 is staring me in the face just 3 weeks from now. I am not afraid. Yes- I feel like, "Where has the time gone?? How did I get here??" But I am here. Why not stand proudly and boldly behind my age? I will not be hiding my age. I will be appreciating where I am now. I will take seriously the fact that I am a role model for my sons and for my ballet students. My life has been filled with bad choices and good choices, passionate living and all of the stuff in between. I can only attribute all of the lessons along the way to the number of years I've been alive. These years?: I've earned them.
I started my day with some inspiration and had the rest of the day with my boys, a swimming pool and some friends to soak it all in.
Elijah and I enjoying the pool!
His eyes always look so blue when backed by a Little Tikes swing...
Thoroughly enjoying a snow cone...
Friends! (Overheard at their table: Hey! I'm four...and you're four...and you're four...and you're four. We're all four!") Hooray!
At my friend's party today, we were asked if we had anything we wanted to say to her, any words of wisdom. Now that I've had a little time to think about it, I would say: You are fabulous. You have earned every year and that is not a bad thing. Own it. Be bold behind it. Other women will learn from you...and you will learn from other women who have gone before you.
Now...I have 3 more weeks of 39 to be bold behind and enjoy...so, I'm off! :)