"You either die young or you get older. That's the reality." Helen Mirren
I heard Helen speak those words on Ellen a few weeks before my birthday. It was the simplest statement but so profound and insanely freeing to me. as women especially we dread getting older, this idea of leaving our best years and (more to the point) our best looks behind us is really quite depressing. this year instead of feeling morose i was upbeat as my birthday rolled around. something i hadn't really experienced since my 30th birthday. i felt honoured to be turning 39. blessed to be seeing an age that many others haven't got to see. my mother never saw 39. i bet princess diana would give anything to have been around this year to see her little boy get married, and welcome her third grandchild. so i decided to make the most of the 1st day of the 40th year of my life.
it's my last year in my 30's and so i decided to confront myself. i’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I’ve found the best way to learn about myself is by watching my children. a lot of times I’ve found myself berating Morayo-Hope for things that I later realise I am guilty of myself. one of my biggest issues with Morayo-Hope? She doesn’t like trying anything unfamiliar. especially food. we dubbed her the food inspector for the way she likes to analyse food.
as for me, I’m extremely adventurous! i love trying new things. i’m up for just about anything and when things are suggested i’m the first one to raise my hand up and say “i’m in!”. snorkelling? yes please! skiing holiday? show me the way! surfing? right up my ally! camping under the stars? i’m the Jane to your Tarzan - bring it on!
now that I’m done introducing the me that exists in my head (and on a dating website from 2004 where I nicknamed myself “waterbaby” **cringe**), i’ll get to the part where in real life should any of these things be touted i won’t be doing them.
Actual adventurous Person: Snorkelling?
Me: What if I die?
AAP: Skiing holiday?
Me: What if I break my back? And die?
Me: Again, I could die.
AAP: Camping Holiday?
Me: Camping and holiday are 2 words that should never be used in a sentence together. Camping = work. Holiday = 5* luxurious relaxation. Plus I could get eaten by a bear and therefore die.
also in my head I play tennis a lot, i love to swim, i work out with the best of them and have incredible strength and stamina. i happily try out new foods and am up for going new places with new people.
truth is, all these things were true once upon a time. there was a time when i really had zero fear when it came to many things and threw myself into many different activities. i don’t know at what point I became such a scaredy cat and homebody. well, i know partly as my self esteem took a sharp nosedive, my willingness to put myself out there decreased rapidly. anything that would draw attention to me or my skinny body that I hated with a passion i immediately shied away from. and anything that had the possibility of people laughing at me was immediately shut down. in the end, i existed in my room with a book and my radio for company. i’ve never actually stopped to link my lack of adventurous spirit to low self esteem. In my case, it led to fear. fear of people laughing at me, fear of failing at things, fear of rejection which led to me being a people pleaser, and ultimately a fear of living.
I’ve often joked with close friends that we buy all this stuff and go nowhere. It just sits there gathering dust as we get more and more. stuff is nothing without memories attached to it. everything serves a purpose and clothes are to be worn as we live our lives out there. not waiting for the perfect occasion to come along when we can wear the clothes. make the occasion by getting out there and living.
Helen Mirren continued to speak on ageing on the TODAY show: “You have to embrace it and allow it to happen. It’s the natural rolling on of life. It happens to every single person on the planet. It’s just a part of being a human being.”
i am going to embrace life. i'm resolving to do 1 thing before my 40th birthday: Do 40 new things. This includes trying new foods / visiting new places / trying new activities eg surfing....eek! i am so excited. alicia helped me tick one thing off my list on my birthday: i ate raw oysters and and a lobster roll for the first time - boy were they good!!and to think i nearly chickened out from the oysters....just looking at this picture i'm salivating like crazy!!
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(feel free to help me with ideas of new things i could try to take me out of my comfort zone - pop in the comments below!!)