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Fearless to Forty

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Tomorrow I hit a new decade, a “milestone birthday” as some like to call it.  I turn 40.  Yep, it’s my turn now as I have watched others over the years hit this number and survive the change.  So why is turning the Big 4-0 such a huge deal for our society?  Maybe because when you are entering your twenties or thirties, there seem to be prescribed “rules” as to what needs to happen for your life.  You might get a job, finish college, start a career, get married, have kids, etcetera, etcetera.  But no one really has a prescribed roadmap for your forties.  You are supposed to have already achieved all these other things in your life, right?

I look back on the last decade of my life and contemplate what I feel I have “achieved” as an individual.  And I have to give myself some space for self-reflection.  My thirties have been a ride, let me tell you.  I had babies, lost a parent, discovered friendships, and experienced quite a bit of personal heartache.  But I also learned a load about myself and the person I want to be as I enter into a new phase of life.  When I hit 39, I wanted to wrap up this decade by stretching myself emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  I called it my #fearlesstoforty journey.  Because I chose to look things I have always “feared” straight in the face, I gave myself the gift of personal growth and new relationships.  I became a part of movements and organizations that have opened my eyes and changed my viewpoints about how I see things in this world.  I grew deeper in my faith with Jesus and let go of what I thought it meant to be “religious.”   

In the last ten years I have learned to let things slide off my back more and to not try so hard to fit into some ridiculous mold prescribed by society.  I take social media with a grain of salt because I know it’s not the end-all, be-all in how I live on a daily basis.  I have learned how to listen to my body; to know when to back off and when to push harder.  I see things through such a different lens than I did when I was 29, I couldn’t ever go back in time and be the same person.  The challenges I faced in my thirties have given me a jump-start to the personal growth many people think they will have when they hit their forties.  It’s like I am painting my own canvas with as many colors and brush strokes imaginable in my mind.    

When we look at our own lives, it’s wise to not try and compare it with others around us because no one life is the same.  We all have our own battles to forage through, and we all respond differently to the environment around us.  But what we can do is look at ourselves as pieces of artwork in the making.  We are journeys of expressions and experiences, hidden diamonds underneath the rubble of life.  And one thing I want to remember as I go forward is to respect and love myself, to not let inner demons try and determine the level of my worth in this world.  Because I know what drives me, what irritates me, what makes me happy, and where I am the most vulnerable.  That, my friends, is what turning 40 means to me.

Cheers!

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Memory Lane

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New year, and that means doing some closet cleaning. You know how that goes…baby clothes, costumes, toys, and the occasional miscellaneous beach bag you only used once. It all needs to be purged, organized, and eliminated from the chaos we call “life.” But in one of the items I was cleaning out, I discovered some journals from my college days. Oh my, how great it was to walk back down memory lane with my college self, and all the immature selfishness that goes along with this period in one’s life.

Circa May 1997

So what was happening in the mind of an 18 year old college student at Vanderbilt University? Well, stress is one of the common threads in my journal. I talk about the stress of classes, the stress of trying to fit into a world I didn’t think I belonged. The stress of trying to keep relationships going, but watching them crumble. I read about heartache over the loss of family members and frustration with may parents, whom I felt were dictating to me how I needed to live over the two-state distance. I also read about a desire for more confidence and the need to figure out who I wanted to become while living away from home for the first time in my life.

If you have never had the chance to step back into your 18-year-old self, I am sad for you. It is comical, but also a bit disheartening. It will humble you in a flat second too. Because now, as a 39-year-old woman, I realize the things that seemed so major at that time in my life were actually small in scale compared to the challenges I would face in my more adult lifetime. But I also see some beauty in this method of self-reflection. I can get a glimpse into how my daughter might think of things when she is this age. I see how my son could get frustrated at me as a parent when he goes to college. This journal might be a flash to the past for me, but it is also a peek into the future for two children who are very much like me, although still very different. I am thankful for having a sort of “crystal ball” into parenting my children. The things I wrote about the people around me, whether they were fellow college student or my own parents driving me crazy, spans the test of time. Behaviors will remain the same, even though circumstances will greatly change. Yes, my kids will face different battles than me because their world is totally different than the world I lived in during 1997. And yet, common human behaviors and natures will still be there. So maybe this little “God Wink” of mine is a tool I can keep for future use.

I plan to read some of my entries to my 11-year-old daughter because I want her to understand it’s okay to be frustrated with me, but that I am doing what I do for her best interest. And perhaps it will inspire her to start more journaling of her own so she has an avenue to vent out frustrations about life, flesh out personal thoughts, or just rant on how annoying I am as a mother.

Floating down memory lane today made me laugh a little, tear up a bit for lives that are now over, but most of all actually feel very proud of the person I have become. The person God has made me into, and the character I have worked so hard to preserve and grow over the years. Here’s hoping you get to find our own version of Memory Lane, and to take that time to do some good self-reflection. And to take the time to relish in the good and the maybe not-so-good about your own life. Remember, healthy living is always about looking inward and finding what you love and what you want to change.

Happy New Year everyone…Cheers!

Learning to “Fit Out”

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“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone will usually find himself in places no one has ever been.” —Albert Einstein

We live in a wold that is constantly pushing us to “fit in.” We are told through television, social media, our peers, and the entertainment industry to look a certain way or own specific products. But have you ever thought about the notion of “fitting out?” I know, it seems pretty foreign to our über-narcissistic way of living, but just imagine how free and liberating it could be to simply “fit out.”

When I was going through my certification program to become a health coach, I was introduced to this concept early on by the program’s founder, Joshua Rosenthal. He gave a three minute speech on the importance of fitting out in the world instead of always trying to fit in. He brought to the audience’s attention to expect some backlash of fitting out, but then again, we are interested in weird food and far out concepts. So we get those looks anyway. But health coaches love what we do, so who cares what the world sees through their own rose-colored glasses! As coaches who choose to “fit out” in our industry, our community, and our world, we know we are making a difference one person at a time.

By choosing to fit out instead of fit in with what the world around you is doing, you are allowing yourself to experience personal growth on all levels. It could be with your relationships, spirituality, how you dress, or even how you choose to eat. And the best part is, you are accountable to no one but yourself. You are setting the tone of how you want to live your life and the good things you want to spread to others around you. No longer are you tied down to cookie-cutter concepts and expectations. You become the person you were destined to be, and others will stop and take notice of the change. They will see how you are able to handle situations, or see a new-found confidence in you that was not there before. And who knows, you could inspire them to start their own journey of “fitting out” in this world.

In 2017 I experienced a fitting out theme because not only did I grow spiritually in my relationship with Jesus, but I also learned more about my core values and how I wanted to live my life moving forward. It brought about a level of confidence I didn’t even know existed inside my soul. I don’t know if my own experience with fitting out was noticed by others, and really, I don’t put too much thought in that notion. What I also loved about learning to fit out was how my effort level dropped tremendously. I didn’t feel the need to keep up or stay on top of everything. I was able to let things go and walk away, or I could take disappointment in life, learn from that experience, and find a way to rise above it.

We all know that each day will bring new challenges for us. It will bring in new heartaches, disappointments, realizations, and elations. But just imagine how much stronger you could be in dealing with all those things when you are in the season of “fitting out.” So what risks are you willing to take to live the life you want? What ways can you start the process of learning to fit out in your own life and discover what wonderful things can unfold within your heart? That is my challenge for you this week, so start digging and start making those positive changes in your life.

Until next time,

Cheers