“I don’t think that getting older is hard; I think that what’s hard is that as each year passes the inevitability of pain gets closer. Incremental change happens in life no matter what I do to prevent it — wrinkles, thrown-out backs, an inability to listen to 18-year-olds sing about heartbreak and life without rolling my eyes. All of these things add up and I realize that I know people with terminal illnesses, friends who’ve buried children, and romantics who no longer wear a ring on their left hand. These are the things that begin to weigh on my face, not the wrinkles.
It’s an intimacy with heartache and the idea that unfair is really just a moment, an excruciating, unwelcome, out-of-your-control moment. Unfair is a beginning and a choice.
Can you muster up a smile and say, “Forget it, unfair. I’m moving on without you”?
Last year I had to close a business. I lost a client. I lost people I thought were friends. I got angrier and angrier, and then I got tired. I let my world fall disappear in a haze of hopelessness. I cried until at last my tears refused to come.
My 40th birthday came and went. I realized that without any fanfare, I’d emerged from darkness.
Things aren’t perfect; I’m not perfect. I still have to bite my tongue. I get jealous and angry. I have new little aches and pains all the time, but I have my foot back on the pedal.
I want to go toward happy. I think that a lot of us do, but for whatever reason we get tripped up in what we’re supposed to do. How we’re supposed to look. What people think.
The thing I learned in a year of feeling like I’d forgotten how to be happy:
It’s not up to them.
I am not up to them.
It’s up to me, all of it.
Call me grouchy or pushy, but I think we need to take it a little easier on our selves.
Snap a selfie if you want.
Overweight? Snap it.
Not 22? Snap that.
Playing hookie from work? Grab a picture.
Like one side of your face better than the other? Capture it.
Love your shoulders? Frame’em up.
Don’t like it? Move on.
Unfriend, unfollow, disentangle.
Find the thing(s) that brings yourself happy.
The only thing turning 40 did for me was mark the moment when I decided to allow myself to seek out my happiest self.”