Monday, March 25, 2013

Birthdays and Compassion

I never thought I would be one of those women (or people) who dislike getting older or won't reveal their age.

It always seemed so silly to me.  Like, everybody ages! Everyone gets older!! Be proud of that number!

The same goes with weight- I think we have a somewhat skewed idea of what weight looks like because there is this unspoken rule that a lady isn't supposed to ever say how much she weighs.

Well, earlier this month I turned 29 and suddenly it seemed like a "Big Deal".  I've written before that I sometimes question whether I am a "Real Adult" (and the answer usually is negative).  But, for some reason, 29 threw me a little bit.  It started out with me joking that I was entering the "last year of my youth", until I realized that I wasn't entirely joking anymore.  I have many friends who have passed 29, who have passed 30, and yet all of a sudden it was freaking me out.

I think overall keeping track of my goals on here has helped me to see the big picture.  That even if 29 isn't what I imagined it would look like at 19, that I have a firm sense of direction towards what things will be like at 34 or 39.  I'm making changes and making progress and usually feel like I'm on the right track.  But birthdays still sometimes mess with that.

It isn't just about the numbers, either.  When I started running again recently it felt much more strenuous than when I was in college.  I could have a few drinks, not get drunk, and yet still feel hungover the next day.  Realizing my body isn't going to stay young forever was surprising in that I couldn't believe it WAS surprising.  Obviously my body isn't going to be 22 forever! Except maybe?
This is what I look like after a party now that I'm sooo old.
Once I realized I was slightly freaking out over my age, I made a conscious choice to allow it.  I acknowledged that it is fine to sometimes panic about getting older, and that even if I knew I was working on stuff, sometimes the brain still wants to panic.  Once I allowed it, and let it be there, I didn't really notice it as much.  Once the resistance against the panic was gone (of being one of those people), the panic didn't really seem that bad.  It wasn't so much panic as...mild anxious thoughts.  And that is something I can totally deal with.

This was also a really helpful reminder about being non-judgmental of others.  That thing I was sooo condescending about last month or last year? Totally experiencing myself now, thanks Universe!  I needed that little nudge!  But seriously, a struggle is a struggle is a struggle, and even if someone else's struggle doesn't make sense to me, it doesn't mean it isn't just as valid (or that I won't one day have the same one).  So, as my last post was a reminder to myself about self-compassion, so this is a reminder of compassion towards others.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Blog Series #4: Endurance and Giving Up

My birthday was less than a week ago, and I've found myself to be more reflective about my journey and who I am than usual.  Perhaps it was the recent loss of 2 family members within 3 months, perhaps it is that I'm in my last year of my twenties; likely both.  I began working on my next installment of "30 Things I've Already Done, Accomplished, or Experienced" and grouped together 5 items that all took endurance.  However, I was even wordier than normal, and decided to dedicate this post to just 1 item on that list, rather than knocking out 5 at a time.

For those of you just joining me (or have forgotten) this list is a reminder of things I've already accomplished that I am proud to have done. This is a list I can revisit when I have the blahs, or am feeling unaccomplished, or pront to comparing myself with others. Previous installments include list items 1-5, 6-10, and 11-15.

16. Gave up Dieting
As soon as I began writing this list, I knew I would include something about this. I’ve mentioned it before in less detail (here) but I wanted to talk about it more in-depth, as it is one of the single, most positive things I have done for myself (and one of the hardest). I’d say it was even harder than giving up smoking, as I started dieting way before my first cigarette.

I’m not exactly sure, but I probably began dieting around age 13. I remember disliking my body and worrying about my size as early as 9 or 10. I remember skipping breakfast and lunch and only eating dinner in high school so my parents wouldn’t know I wasn’t eating. So many diets, so much disappointment. And all this before I was “fat” (High school weight fluctuated between 135 when I started and I think was around 160 or so when I graduated).

I remember picking up running again in college, because runners were skinny, and if I were a runner, I’d be skinny too! When it didn’t work, I gave it up, despite the fact I managed to run 2-3 miles several times a week when previously I couldn't run for 2-3 minutes. (Since I’ve started running again I can’t believe I quit it so easily before, I think about how far I’d be now if I only had kept with it!). The year before I got married I obsessively followed the South Beach Diet, and managed to land at what ended up being my lowest adult weight- around 170.