Funny, I feel very different about hitting this age than I thought I would a decade ago. Which made me think – what was I doing at 28? Or 18 or 8 for that matter? I really had to think hard to remember. Because that’s how life goes, time passes, the pages turn, a chapter ends and another one begins and suddenly, today, I wake up as a 38 year old woman. Perhaps, technically a grown-up? We can debate that later.
From the tone of these first few sentences you might think I’m not too happy about this occurrence. But, actually, amazingly, and surprisingly (perhaps most of all to me) I feel pretty great about turning 38. Now that I’ve had time to think, I can recall what I was doing at 18 and 28. At 18 I was just beginning my second year at MJC community college and had a small celebration with some friends. I recall that my friend Adriel gave me a Matchbox 20 CD and to this day if I hear “walking on the sun” I’m taken back 20 years.
Fast forward a decade to 28. I was a little over one year in to my Assistant Professorship at LSU and had just landed a half million dollar grant! The topic of the grant was blueberry production and my husband took me out for a celebratory dinner at Fleming’s steak house where I recall enjoying one of the nicest meals I’d had up to that point in my life. Of course, I also enjoyed a blueberry martini to celebrate the grant.
So, let’s recap – at 18 I was in college in California. 28, a professor at LSU in Baton Rouge. Now 38, just beginning my second year living as an expat in Germany. I’m starting to see a trend emerge. The 8 decades appear to come with change and there also seems to be something about moving east…hmmm. Maybe I should take a vacation to China at 48 just to get to complete the eastern migration.
But, seriously, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had some time to think about what I believe, what I’ve learned and who I am now that I’ve reached 38.
I believe… that all those interviews I read with leading lady movie stars who talk about how amazing it is to get older and be more confident literally in your skin and know that all the other stuff is just noise. Well, it turns out that everything they said was TRUE! I didn’t believe it at the time but I’m here to tell you that now that I’m in my late 30s I’m finally starting to understand myself. The best part is that I like the person I have found.
I’ve learned… that I can, in fact, shape my destiny. It’s true that you are what you eat and it’s important to control your thoughts, because what you think will determine your attitude. And the crazy thing is that, it is possible to listen to your thoughts and then decide which part of your soul to feed. Finally, I’ve learned this delicate balancing point that, yes, some days are tough, but this too shall pass, and tomorrow will be better. But feeding bad thoughts for too long gets me absolutely no where that I want to go. I choose to surround myself with positive people, and yes, dark thoughts will come, but only for a time, because frankly, life is too short! Laughter feeds my soul and I want to nurture my soul.
I am… stronger than I realized and that strength can help me accomplish any goal I fancy. Which is a wizarding sort of power that I now know I should focus only to places where I truly want to go. Case in point, recently I decided that I was fed up with my creeping weight, yes, it’s true that with age metabolism slows down… Perhaps the biggest downside of aging. So, a month ago I decided to tackle the trifecta: increased exercise, smart food intake and reduced caloric drink (ahem) intake. I’ve tried this before and I was skeptical that I would have any success. This time I did it for ME (not for the world) and I’ve already dropped 4 kilos. Don’t ever give up on yourself, you’re worth it!
So, today I celebrate 38 years on this beautiful planet. To all the younger ladies reading this, particularly those of you in your golden 20s who dread 30, don’t put your energy into this worry. I promise that you are going to love this magical decade when you will confidently come into your own as a woman.
Now I’m off for a birthday coffee in the garden with my cat, Tony.