This year I set out to prove to myself that my life is just beginning. I admit that I haven’t taken too well to the thought of aging. I’ve had people tell me that I’d look my best at 27. I should be married and have my first child by 27, 28. My fastest running times would happen in college.
But nobody decides for us when we reach milestones. In the last year, I’ve fallen back in love with running, and I’ve seen some of the most amazing sights right in my own country. Some people get to their 40’s before they ever leave their state, and I visited six new ones just this year. And maybe with the help of my genes, nutrition, and sunscreen, I will age like J.Lo, Halle, or Angela (have you seen Ms. Bassett’s guns?)
My lady tribe has been crucial to my success this year, and I want to share with you what I’ve gleaned from them, ages 3 to 72.
- Find your own bliss outside of your relationship. Love is amazing, but it’s even better when you have the freedom to form bonds and explore what you want.
- Don’t settle for toxic relationships. You are not obligated to anyone who robs you of joy, peace, or time. You can’t change family, but even they can be toxic. You may not be able to change or control them, but you can control your exposure.
- Find a beer you love. Not all beer is created equal, and if you find it’s not your thing, there is always ginger beer or cider.
- Order dessert. If that’s something you rarely do, get it on nights out with friends and share. If your friends don’t ever eat dessert, find some who do (like runners).
- Reclaim your time. Don’t take up a hobby, sport or TV show that doesn’t fulfill you, or you dread doing. Just because everyone is raving about Game of Thrones doesn’t mean that you have to suffer through the 1st season.
- Show up. And in what ever way fits your needs. For me that means not brushing off comments, or saying, “Actually, I’m not okay with that.” It means me not skipping out on karaoke. That also means expressing myself on paper, and pushing myself to go out when my brain and emotions tell me that I need to stay home. It means pushing past my perfectionism and running a race that I may not PR. Showing up in my running has meant epic times, and placing first overall and in my age group. It has been a hella rewarding lesson.
At 31, I will get married. I will see more continents. I will reach new career heights. And I will be resilient and ready and grateful for every lesson and milestone that awaits me.