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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FORTYtude: a Force to be reckoned with


For quite some time now, I have had the "Behold, here come the 40's!" mentality. If you've followed me at all on facebook this past week prior to my turning 40, you would have seen all of my FORTYtude posts and reflections. They are real, folks. They are not some contrived and altar-ego attempt to embrace the aging process or some meek and weak denial game. It's the real thing.

I'm not certain at what point I began to feel this awakening and gentleness toward turning 40, but I do know that it has been a genuine piece of my repertoire for some time. Now, don't get me wrong. These things I know: I am aging. I have far more wrinkles and wears than my younger 30 year-old self. I am graying. I look at pictures of the now me and can feel her life experiences and empathize at how she's faded in some ways because of them. I have physical reminders that I'm 40(I will graciously keep those from you here), oh do I ever and did they EVER step up the week leading up to my birthday and say "HA~ Here we are ya old bag!"

But I also know a few more things I hadn't quite grasped in my younger adult life. Things you can't know or be told or learn about but to experience them through true joy, suffering, tragedy, loss, celebration, bliss, love, laughter and frankly, longevity... See in becoming 40, you take with you something golden and that is WISDOM. You begin to actually appreciate mistakes and misfortune of the past WITHOUT regret because you now have a sense of compassion and gratitude toward them. They have shaped you; molded you into your truer self with curves and shape and beauty and art that you couldn't see when you were 22 or even 32. These mistakes and mishaps have become as I said in one post, the historical landmarks that have guided and brought me to a destination called my life. I am able to say that I am proud of them.

In turning 40, I am embracing a newer sense of self, an authentic one. With authenticity comes a knowing of who you are and of what you are worth. It's a beacon to draw you close to what lights you from the inside, regardless of the spinning and sparkling disco lights of insecurity, jealousy, competition, self-degradation (ETC.) that distract you on the outside. It's a feeling...a gut feeling that you have become and are continuing to evolve into the person you were put on this Earth to be. It's when you can look in the mirror without that shame or lie next to your lover and be...just be...with wholeness and appeal because you don't need the lights off. It's that depth of acceptance.

I have literally been excited to ring in the "new year"! My husband lovingly and supportively threw me a party which was wrapped in everything I had hoped and wanted the night to be about: LIGHT, LAUGHTER and LOVE. I guess you could say that is my Mantra now....

LIGHT: (literally speaking) I've always enjoyed and marveled at the beauty of candles and anything illuminating a soft and warm glow. I think that's why I love the holiday season so much because I get to delve into that side of me and share it with the world! In darkness, that soft reminder that there is glimmer and shine and tenderness around is comforting and peaceful to me. We had paper lanterns aglow, candles and tiki torches lit, christmas lights hanging for ambiance....it was beautiful.

(figuratively speaking) In many goals I'm setting and promises I'm making to myself in FORTYtude, I'm learning to let go and LIGHTen up. Surround thyself with the positive and the peace. the prayer and the profound. Let go of the negative for it doesn't have a place here anymore. Be positive for myself and I'll be able to be positive for others. SEE THE LIGHT in myself. Look in the mirror with grace, dignity and pride with what I see and fight the urge to go dark...dark with thought, dark with attitude, dark with loathing, dark with words and dark with cynicism. It doesn't have a place here anymore.

How are you going to do it, you ask? Honestly, I haven't a clue. I am riding the waves of a better attitude with a lot of risk, fear, unknown and inexperience, because the first person to tell you she's insecure, a people pleaser, a worry wart, a judgemental Judy... is me. I have no misguided or naive misconceptions that it will be easy, but I'm OPEN to it. I WANT this change and therefore feel that the want and te need is half the battle. We shall see.

LAUGHTER: (literally speaking)The old cliche..."laughter is the best medicine" resonates loudly this year. The party certainly had its fill of that sound...the kind that just by sitting back and listening, you know your posse is having a good time. That's what I wanted and that is what was delivered and received....good, quality, healing, fun laughter. For that kind of laughter I believe DOES heal. Whatever pain or circumstance blocking that euphoric thrill is released and let go when you laugh so hard you cry...tears are healing no matter the source. They are God's way of allowing the built up inside us to find its way to a stream of freedom and release...a way for our spirits and souls to touch others and show themselves to the world for validation of what is felt. It is cathartic. It is contagious. It is beautiful...to cry...to laugh...to feel. Entering with FORTYtude, I shall put laughter in its place: the forefront of my life and of my being; where it belongs. Laughter will become my legacy.... for my children, for my HERstory, for myself. Go forth and LAUGH...whether in shrieks, snorts, giggles or in the gutteral...shed thy skin with laughter and live!

(figuratively speaking) In authenticity, you have to have that reality check. She needs to whisper to me that I am not perfect, always poised, or ever-present. She needs to remind the ME in me with gentleness and ease that I am flawed and in those flaws and frailties, I am awesome. So I will LAUGH at myself... a lot. And in balance, laugh at the ridiculousness around me so that instead of making me crazed with bitterness or negativity, I will laugh at its resolve and perhaps think less of it as an evil or burden and let the laughter ease its harsh presence. In the IT I'm speaking of politics, imperfections, problems, pride, people. Yep, people piss me off sometimes.

And then there is LOVE.... I just melt and ease and rellish in that word. Used lightly, it can lose its beauty, but when felt to the depths of your core and profoundly and passionately nurtured and shared, it is the most powerful of all gifts; one to be touched, shared, held, affirmed, received and reciprocated. In moments of my party, I was blanketed in a spiritual high while looking out into the faces of the people I love. With my parents, my sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, neighbors and friends all present and palpable, I felt LOVED....truly and deeply loved. There is such a comfort in a visual reminder sometimes. We need that. I needed that. The tangible often sustains our beliefs and holds us in moments of weakness when faith is just not enough.

With FORTYtude, I will love some more. There are prizes and treasures in my life who do not receive my love enough. To you (you know who you are), I am sorry. I resolve to work harder at reminding you that I love you and relinguish all of the reasons why I don't have time. You have made time for me. You have remained despite my apathy and I will love you back better. I promise.

With FORTYude, I will love myself some more. It is so very diffiult for women especially, to replace the image of perceptions and public scrutiny and self-loathing and childhood and young adult insecurities with simple and unabiding, unconditional love and acceptance of our beautiful selves. Hug yourself...your dear authentic self sweetly and caress her hair with love as you would your own child. Tell her she is perfect and beautiful and loved in her uniqueness and individuality and I promise I'll do the same. Deal?

With FORTYtude, I will love what I have trouble loving, some more. Instead of inserting harsh words, complaints, poison or just plain and simple adding to the already existing world of negativity and hate around us, I vow with the energy and commitment of fortytude to try to be the love in the room. Replace ridicule with respect... judgement with acceptance,and name-calling and pointed fingers with a quiet tongue and hands that won't point, but rather reach out in kindness. My children deserve THAT woman as their Mother. My husband deserves THAT woman as his Wife. My authentic self deserves THAT woman as her being.


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FORTYtude requires a conscious effort, presence and state of being and mind. But it doesn't have to be a battle and it shouldn't be difficult. I have felt something shift in me for a while...a calling to be better...to be bolder and to be more brave and with that comes such strength and excitement..a paradigm shift that has actually shifted my core a bit. I think it's a sign of sorts...a renewal and a redefinement of my self to tap into the parts of me that I've always wanted to share and shape but never had the courage or knowing how.

I am excited about the possibilities of becoming a better me! I am excited about paths I may cross and chapters I may read that will tell a story of a better, brighter and bolder woman! Because in the end, the truer I am to who God made me to be...the swifter I am in embracing the change I've come to accept, the gentler I am in letting go and letting God, and the braver I am in lifting the shelters parts of me have hid in for so long, the lighter my life will shine, the louder the laughter will boom and the lovelier this life I live, will be.

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