Last week I marked my 45th birthday and I discovered something neat. I actually really like me.
I have always found birthdays slightly stressy. On the one hand, all the birthday greetings and love from friends and family are wonderful. They remind me how blessed I am. I have been whisked away on surprise trips, had birthday parties and I usually treat myself to an extra long massage session. I mean, pretty blessed, right?!
But then there is that niggly feeling, that “still not good enough” gremlin. Still not married. Still not thin. Ungrateful for what I have. And, somehow the “middle of the decade” birthdays seem worse. Somehow, 35 felt closer to 40 than 30. Time slipping away into another year of failure. And, 45 has brought 50 into view for the first time.
So, while I love celebrating my birthday and being reminded of all the great things about my life and especially all the wonderful people in my life, I find myself unconsciously bracing myself for the emotional blow of “not good enough”.
When that didn’t fall this year I was left a little like a stranger in a strange land. It was a new place, a new landscape. I felt my shoulders gradually begin to loosen from their tenseness of the anticipated blow and I realized – I am so okay with where I’m at this year. Life is full of wonderful things which I am ever grateful for. And, yes, it still has the struggles that I still keep chipping away at. That’s what exploring is. Enjoying the journey, the view and the scenery while facing the unknown and doing my best to change directions when I need to, with honesty, gentleness, compassion and fierce loyalty to myself and my path.
On the day of my birthday I took myself off to the glass studio for some creative time. And, I made myself a heart. This was only my second try at making this kind of pendant and I absolutely love how it turned out. I’ve been working on pieces for other people over the past while but I decided on my birthday I would make something just for me.
Only later did it occur to me that I had made myself a heart. A manifestation of love for myself.
Self-love is a pretty awesome gift at any age.