This past Friday I turned 36. I've never been a big birthday person, but it holds a different meaning this year. My beloved grandmother passed away two weeks ago and it's made me reexamine my relationship with aging. I'm lucky. So very lucky to grow older and be healthy and happy and surrounded by people I love.
It's been a pretty transformative year for me. I set out to make some major changes at 35 and I feel proud of all of the work I did. I made my mental health a priority after finding myself overwhelmed with anxiety on a daily basis. I doubted myself constantly, second-guessing everything from my career to my role as a mom, and realized that my relationship with myself had become far too toxic. Being open about those things is never easy, but it wasn't until I was honest with myself that I was able to actually make changes. I stopped saying mean things in my head (and out loud)—if I accidentally dropped a glass, didn't land a deal I'd hoped to get, or if I wasn't as patient with G as I'd have liked. I always thought my success had been dependent on the fact that I'm hard on myself, but it was only through therapy that I learned it's not the case. I would never reprimand a friend for not going for a run or tell Sloan that she's not worthy of praise, so why should I treat myself any differently? Once I came to understand I need to treat myself with the same amount of respect and admiration as I do everyone else in my life that I love did I start to see a change.
I now try to tackle things that make me nervous instead of avoiding them. Tough business discussions, uncomfortable physical situations (hi, gondola ride in Jackson Hole), and difficult parenting moments. When my grandma was sick and nearing the end, I initially thought it would be easiest to simply not tell Sloan when her great-grandma had passed. They were very close, but figured I'd save myself from having to have such a tough talk with a four-year-old. But instead of ignoring it, I was honest and open with Sloan, which was ultimately the best decision I could have made. In handling these tough situations head-on, I've come to realize I'm a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
I used to be kind of bashful about my age, feeling like I should have accomplished more or that I should be in a different place. But I've somehow caught up with where I've always wanted to be and I'm allowing that to sink in for what it's worth. So here's to embracing wherever it is we are, wherever we're going and giving ourselves the permission to not get too caught up in the details. I have a good feeling about 36. x