Life can be such an unpredictable adventure. Taking time to process experiences, and to consider lessons provided and one’s current position, is grounding in a way that I find comforting. As I greet a new year of life, it feels only natural to reflect upon both where I’ve been, and where I hope to go. The fact that my birthday marks the change of seasons only confirms this impulse.
Fifty-five arrived on a wave of frustration and sadness, tempered by the soul satisfaction of a summer road trip taken with my youngest son. Unlike 30 years previously when I turned 25, I wasn’t feeling panicked by the fact that I was now closer to my next decade in life, rather than the one I was leaving behind.
55 simply was a number. I wasn’t worried about what may, or may not happen, next. I knew I could, and would, manage it.
While I may have achieved a level of acceptance in the past three decades when it comes to age and the number which defines it, I recognize that the numbers which express my weight and size remain an issue for me. I continue to be too much of a slave to those measurements but, in this new year, I intend to explore my need to monitor these digits as closely as I do.
Why do I allow my weight to impact the way I feel about myself so much and how can I resolve that?
Speaking of numbers, after 28 years in my field, I’ve achieved a new salary milestone. While it’s a figure that seemed wildly excessive years ago, in reality, my salary is still significantly less than how much my brother made 30 years ago in his first professional career position, post medical school. But, of course, teaching and medicine are different professions – and I’ve always known that I’d never make a salary comparable to my brother’s.
Sidebar: That being said, can someone please explain to me why the CEO in a not-for-profit hospital in Albany (who coincidentally graduated in 1992, just like my brother and I) receives an annual compensation of $1,000,000.+? Is what he does really that much more important than what I do?
Speaking of things that seem to be too much, or just too good to be true… well, as I’ve come to learn, they usually are. Like when that guy who swept you off your feet only to unceremoniously dump you 8 weeks later, celebrates a year’s anniversary with another 362 days before the two of you actually broke up.
Sometimes, the cheese just stinks.
Somewhat harder to come to terms with is the realization that my physical strength has peaked. No matter how many yoga classes or runs I take a week, I no longer believe I’m going to continue to grow stronger. While I’m not prepared to give up my attempts to remain as fit as possible, I am trying to be realistic about my capabilities. There’s comfort to be found in the fact that other strengths have manifested – an increased ability to deal with people directly and the power to disengage from people who are hypercritical or who bring more irritation than joy to my life, along with the willingness to ask for help when I need it.
Life is so often about losses and gains and it’s important to remain cognizant that it’s rare to have one without the other.
A year ago, I observed a birthday feeling a bit emotionally bruised. Despite that rough start, it’s been a year filled with moments of wonder and new understandings. I’ve learned to slow down to watch a butterfly fight and to chase woodpeckers with my eyes after hearing their drilling. I know now that sometimes a bath and a book are what I need even more than a run and that sometimes the most decadent thing to do is nothing.
I’m ready for 56.