Today I turn 35. Growing older used to scare me. I’ve been telling everyone I’m 33 for the past year because I just liked that number, it sounds less old than 34. In fact, I’ve been telling people I’m 33 so often that I recently had to get the calculator out to confirm just how old I actually am turning this birthday.
After typing in 58008 and turning it upside down to have a giggle at the word BOOBS (perhaps I’m not turning 35 after all! haha!) I typed in 2018 minus 1983 and there it was. I’m 35. I’m 35, and for the fist time in my life, I feel contently alive.
It’s like a thick brain fog of distorted views, opinions and self doubt is lifting and here I am, just me. Ready to begin the next half of what has so far been, if I do say so myself, a pretty great life.
So exactly what is so great about turning 35? Well…I’ve written a list of 10 things that feel pretty good within me right now.
1. I’m at the beginning of my life – This might sound like a strange thing to say seeming I’m quite clearly not at the ‘beginning” of my life but for me, with fresh eyes and a fresh outlook, I honestly feel like the world is my oyster. I am young enough to start afresh with my health, my mind, my spirit, my body and my soul and reap the benefits for years to come of a healthy, happy life. I have so much to look forward to. This no longer scares me, it excites me.
2. I’m smarter – Probably not technically, let’s be honest. if I sat my VCE again tomorrow I think I would probably flunk it! French revolution what?! But I’m street smarter. I know when people are duping me. I know when people are not telling the truth or when their actions don’t match their motives. I can contribute to “adult” conversations without feeling out of depth and if I do feel out of depth I’m usually pretty honest and say “what does that word mean?” or “I have know idea what you’re talking about!” If you can’t join them, make them laugh!
3. I’m in love with my body – Ok, so I’m not all like “look at me, look at me” in my short crop top and mini skirt but generally, when I look in the mirror, I like what I see. And that is purely down to positive self perception. I honor my body for growing three humans. My skin is soft around my middle and that’s perfectly ok. I’m a size 12-14 and my boobs hang low from having the life sucked out of them, but that’s perfectly ok too. My freckles add character, my strawberry blond hair no long needs to be dyed blond to be “pretty” and I love my smile because it reminds me I’m happy. I am ok being me in this body with this face, because at this age, it’s so much easier for me to see the inside out first and not just the outside out.
4. I’m confident enough to just be me – Body image aside, I finally feel as though I can just be me. No pretending, no falseness, no trying hard to fit in (thoughts that consumed my teenage years). I am so happy now just being me. I am happy giving my opinion, ask me any question and I will tell you the honest truth. I am content in knowing that I might not be for everyone, but I am definitely for someone. I’m no longer worried about fitting in, or saying something silly or not wearing something because other people might think I look weird. I am me and like it or leave it, this is what you get.
5. I’m able to block others opinions – “What you think of me, is none of my business – Terry Cole-Whittaker” It took me awhile to decipher this quote, and now I have, it makes perfect sense. Your opinion of me is not going to shape who I am, it is not going to hold me back in achieving my goals and dreams, it is not going to change the way I parent my children or love my husband. In fact, your opinion of me is actually just a mirrored reflection of your opinion of you (wowzas, getting deep here!) So how about you do you and I’ll do me. Simple.
6. I’m content staying home – Honestly, I don’t know how I ever had the stamina to go out the way I did before kids. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday nights AND go to school/Uni AND have a part time job. Exhausting! Now, I am much more happy when I’m staying at home, wrapped up in a giant blanket with my babies eating copious amounts of popcorn and chocolate with a grateful heart. Don’t get me wrong, this mama still loves a good shing ding and I jump at the opportunity to get dressed up and go out when I can. But for me, being home is just as excellent as being out, a peaceful balance.
7. I’m so grateful for my friendships – True friendships are about quality, not quantity. I can count all of my best friends on one hand. True, beautiful friendships that I have had for years. I met my best friend Karen when we were just 5 years old in prep. My girlfriends from high school are just the best and now my school mum friends, my cricket club girls and dear work colleagues I have met over the years fill this group too. Lisa and I met in high school and have been friends now for over 20 years. I have found my tribe and I hold them close.
8. I’m a role model and a positive influence – I am kind hearted. I always put others before myself. I am the first to help a family member or friend or a stranger for that matter. I am generous with my time. I volunteer regularly with a local mixed ability sports club, I am on the committee at the cricket club. I help people with their resumes and self confidence. My door is always open no matter what the time of day for a cuppa with a friend. I attend church with my children and I teach them to be good people. I work hard on my relationships and my friendships and my heart genuinely cares for others. It’s taken awhile, but I am so happy I can finally say all of these things out loud and feel proud of myself for doing so. It’s not narcissistic or gloating, it’s simply contentment and hopefully inspiring to others.
9. I’m becoming a better mama – A mixture of a couple of things. Firstly, as I grow older, my kids grow older and I feel as though my kids growing older is helping them become a little easier for me to manage, hence why I’m probably becoming a better mama. I have more patience and understanding and I believe I am learning from mistakes once made which is enabling me to make better decisions. My heart seems to be bursting with love for my children twice as much as it was. The sleepless nights and the tireless resentment is easing. I love my children more today than I ever have. I’m not saying I’m a perfect mama but I am definitely becoming a better mama.
10. I’m so much more than a mama – And, in direct contrast to number 9, I am so much more than a mama. So, so much more. The fog is lifting and things are becoming clearer to me as to what I need to do in life to be strong, not only for my husband and my children, but for myself. My health, my spirit, my soul, my mind. Self care, self love, continual education and reading and inspiration. I have so much to give to this world outside of the walls of my home. And I am ready for what ever the future holds for me to inspire and encourage others to believe the same about themselves.
And so, this is 35. This is what 35 means to me. Happy birthday girl. Go get your cake and eat it and enjoy every delicious mouthful.