As 2016 came to an end and I edged closer to another birthday, I realized that I was developing an anxiety that I had thought was reserved for the ‘old girls’. I was turning 44, staring down the proverbial barrel of 50 and finally had to accept that I was aging.
For many ‘forty-somethings’ this is a period of mixed emotions including, but not limited to excitement, satisfaction, regret, contentment and fear. As a divorced, middle-aged, mother-of-two, I threw into that mix the additional concerns of loneliness and self-doubt. You see, although I was approaching 44, I honest-to-God, never felt a day older than 30, 31, maybe 35 tops. Until… a friend advised me that “we are no longer Grace™ products on the top shelf, but more like Lasco™ tucked away at the bottom.” I laughed hysterically at her analogy, but have to admit that I started believing it. I was now Lasco™. (No disrespect to the brand, but you get my drift).
To most of my peers, I was being ‘profound’ and ‘ridiculous’ – but I quickly learned that it’s easy to label people as such when your ducks are all neatly in their row.
Let me back up a bit. You see, I consider myself to be a casualty of the fairy tale era (that still exists btw) where my life was marked by a series of specific goals and milestones. High School diploma by age 16, University degree by 20, husband, home, 2.5 children, dog, cat and goldfish, yadda yadda yadda… The plans and dreams were perfect. But on my journey, somewhere around, ahmmm… University, I started to go off-track. (Sorry about that again Mummy & Daddy).
My free spirit began soaring to new heights and did so happily for almost 20 years. I traveled the world, broke a few rules, lived, loved, laughed, got married, had children, got divorced, started over and now… today at 44, I am here wondering where the time went, how it went so quickly and why no one warned me about this part of the plan. I didn’t sign up for this part. The sagging breasts, evaporating bank balance and empty bed were supposed to be on The Lifetime Channel™ only – not in real life – and certainly not MY life!
As I reconciled that the fairy tale (now just a plain old tale) was my new frame of reference, some pretty simple but amazing things happened. The people around me (those I often take for granted) reminded me what this journey is all about and helped me to refocus. Thankfully, I’m learning to be patient, because that’s not one of my God-given gifts. I’m learning (slowly) to live in the moment and most importantly, I’m falling in love with me again – because, yes I had fallen out of love with myself.
My friend Dwayne, who happens to be the best photographer this side of the Atlantic (I’m shameless when it comes to acknowledging his gift) agreed to my nagging request for a photo shoot to commemorate my upcoming birthday. I wanted a jaw-dropping, magazine cover worthy photo. He had one rule – no photoshop allowed. If I wanted a ‘hot’ body in the pic, I’d have to wear it naturally. And since that’s what I wanted, I worked for it. I had been working out for a while prior, but now re-energized, I toiled 4 days a week, at the mercy of the tyrants, I mean trainers at the gym. This was harder for me than most for two reasons: one, I’m naturally lazy and two, I didn’t really support my efforts by dieting. I HATE diets because inevitably, I have always reverted to my old habits and ended up much further behind ‘square one’. So that said, the only real dietary effort I made was to eliminate adding sugar, I don’t drink juices and I started chasing my white rum with water instead of Ting™.
Anyway…on the morning of my 44th birthday – December 1, 2016, I posted an amazing photograph. I was so frigging proud of myself! I enjoyed an overwhelmingly fantastic birthday and began embracing a new lease on my once Lasco life.
44 is indeed the new 24!
So there you have it. In 2017, I’m doing me – loud, proud and completely unconcerned about john public. On Christmas Day last, my 12-year-old son decided it was time for me to date again, so he signed me up for an online dating site. Hahaha. At first I thought it ludicrous, but then I figured – what the hell. So now, I’m ‘dating’ again and guess what? I’m actually enjoying myself. Dates are complete with flowers, dinner and dancing… 2017 is not just looking up, it’s already up. (Insert happy dance here.)
So…cheers to friends who support, children who want a happy mother and Lasco™ rightfully taking its place as a number 1 brand.
If you’re interested in my journey, come along for the ride….