as 40 loomed i found myself looking in the mirror more. bracing myself for a sudden disfiguration…
with all the cultural pressure of youth bearing down on me, i find myself analyzing, studying, reflecting on what i see both inside and out – am i the same girl i was (even two weeks ago)? should i wear this outfit? is it too young for me? am i that old lady dressing inappropriately for her age? i notice the lines around my mouth and pull my skin back gently, turning back time to erase them.
sometimes i’m defiant – this! is what 40 looks like – as i turn my better side toward the mirror and then, dressing, backside toward the mirror, critiquing the curves wanted and not. my thighs look thin from this angle…my hips, not so much.
i think of all the things i haven’t done…and the things i won’t do. i’ve never been married. i don’t have kids. i’ve happily chosen to be the girlfriend my whole life. enjoying the hippie, artsy vibe of it all. i realized i may never make it to india or the seychelles or the maldives, places that seemed easily reachable just a decade ago seem to be quickly slipping out of my grasp. or are they? kids will likely make them impossible…for now.
but what of the things i have done…i’ve spent a summer in kenya, danced at carnaval in rio, gone diving, worked for a prestigious non-profit, taken an aerobatic airplane ride. i am a yoga teacher and i own my own studio, i foster community, i’m a freelance writer, an entrepreneur, i am participating in my first ever art show, and most importantly to me, i love and have been loved by many.
all of these things are reflections of my choices…but i have this unshakable sense that time is running out, and an urgency to offer more, see more, do more and love more. to be awake. to expand more fully into all that is possible…
on my actual birthday this past saturday, i had traveled to chapel hill to continue with my anusara yoga teacher training. my teacher called on me to come and demo kidney loop in handstand in front of the class. my reaction was one of immediate stage fright…i mean, really…in front of all of these people? but i did what i have been learning….i planted my hands firmly on the ground, gripping through my finger pads and the base of my index fingers. setting my foundation, i aligned my shoulders, focused my gaze and softened my heart. up with the right leg, then the left…grounding down i pressed up into his hands on my heels…and the whole room full of 30+ yogis began to sing happy birthday. so there i was…my perspective completely turned upside down at 40 years old, the stage fright was gone, and i just let myself feel the wonder of it all. how did i get to this place? this moment?
depending on your perspective, life is short or long. either way it is precious…and i remembered as i was upside down that i have a choice about how i’m going to react to each moment of my life. the universe gave me this experience to remind me of this lesson…why move through life begrudgingly when there is so much expansiveness to be found? while i feel at my core i’m an optimist and a dreamer, i’ve also had my share of difficulties and challenges, there is sadness in my life, and often my knee-jerk go-to emotion is one of anxiety. when I let that get the best of me is when I lock up, shut down and stop living. my life becomes small. thankfully somehow i have learned to step over that anxiety, and move forward…and when i am moving forward is when i live big, when i am generous with my time and my love, when karma and bhakti reign supreme in my world. this is when i am serving the world best…not when i’m small. but when i step fully into my own power and let it shine.
we had dinner that evening at an amazing locavore restaurant with asian flair. dessert was a fine glass of sparkling pinot grigio and mint tea ice cream with a gorgeous home-made fortune cookie. as i blew out the candle and made my wish, this is what the universe had to say to me…
i blinked away tears and felt whole and full and loved and seen and validated…thank you, sweet life, can’t wait to see where we go from here!