50: The big picture

The whole week I’ve been struggling with my birthday. I am really trying to focus on the reality of turning 50. It’s just a number. My 40s weren’t bad. In fact, they were pretty great. I think I’ve gotten bogged down in the stuff right in front of me. I’m referring to my post, Hiding from 50,  “I haven’t collected a check in nearly a year. I’m – bare minimum – 20 pounds overweight. I’m a terrible nonsmoker, and I think exercise is a wonderful thing other people do.” All true. But hardly the big picture.

The big picture: I started my own consulting firm in 1999. I did it so I could work for myself. My time is my own. I drove carpool. I manage our home. I taught college classes for three years. I volunteer. I serve on boards. So I haven’t collected a check in nearly a year. I’m not starving. I’m about to start a new venture mentoring a high school student who happens to also be in foster care. I love to have time to work in my garden, read books and play with my kitties. I like being available when someone needs a ride or a visit. And just because I don’t have any paid work today, that doesn’t mean I won’t have it tomorrow.

The big picture: I am at least 20 pounds overweight. But I’m not ginormous. I’m bigger than I want to be, and that’s my own fault. I need to eat less. I’ll never be one of those tiny, cute girls (or tiny, cute 50-year-old women) because I’m 5’10” tall. A size 10 is a dream. A size 12 is terrific. But I’m ok with size 14. Nothing bigger though. That’s my limit. And if my 14s aren’t fitting right, it’s on me.

The big picture: I hate quitters. Winners never quit. Quitters never win. When I “quit smoking” at the end of December, I hated the phrase, so I said, I “stopped smoking.” I did. For a bit. Then I allowed one or two a week. Then one or two days per week. Then I said, screw it, I’m not 50 yet. I said I would quit smoking when I turned 50. Stupid idea. But I’m in. So do I technically turn 50 on my actual birthday or the day after? Either way, I’m smokin’ tonight!

The big picture: “Exercise” is an eight-letter word… Twice as bad as a four-letter word. Or that’s what I’ve been saying for years. I hate exercise. I hate being winded. I hate muscle cramps. I hate sweating, and I can do that without moving a muscle. See, the thing is, I only do things I’m good at. I suck at exercise. I’m uncoordinated. I have NO stamina. I’m pretty sure I was born without the stamina gene because I have never had stamina. In freshmen P.E., when we had to run around the outdoor track, I couldn’t even make it a third of the way. And I was 13 then. The whole exercise thing is a conundrum. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. And I’m tired of feeling like I’m a failure because I don’t run or do pilates or yoga.

The big picture: Life ain’t all that bad. I would love to be a super-fit, five-foot-ten-inch, 150-pound, 40-year-old. But those ships have sailed. I can only be me. And tomorrow I’m 50. And I choose to be happy.

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