Today is my birthday.
Today I am 45.
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. ~Mark Twain
Did I mention, today I turn 45?
This number to me has more impact than I thought it would.
45 is 5 short years to 50. (and 50 is a big BIG number!) That is a concept I am having a difficult time believing. Seriously. It’s like it’s someone else’s life, someone else’s parents, some other ‘old person’, someone else who isn’t me. But then I look in the mirror and see the dark circles that are ever-present around my eyes, the almost completely grey roots popping through my bleached blonde hair. I notice the thicker waistline than I am accustomed to. I see skin on my neck not nearly as firm as it was and I notice the small jowl looking shapes on my cheeks. For better or worse, as women we identify with our appearance as one of the ways we create our sense of identity. I know that sounds shallow, but for many (most?) women, it just happens to be a fact.. No matter how we look, regardless if we consider ourselves a beauty queen, a plane jane, an exotic beauty or any other number of identities, it’s difficult to see that self-made identity age in front of our very eyes. My body is aging, as today marks the beginning of its 45th year on this planet all I can do is take a deep breath, and smile and get on with it..
Then I remember what a fabulous life I have. I have been traveling around Latin America with my son for over 2 years. I have been living a virtually stress free life. I smile and laugh daily. I have been experiencing the world in new ways with my son. I have met thousands of people along the way and so many of them have touched my life. I have so much to be grateful, so much to appreciate, I try to remind myself that when I have stressful thoughts about my body’s changes.
Recently I read a novel that had a profound effect on me. It was called Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Here’s the story plot, in brief:
A powerful and righteous 8th century king named Alobar narrowly escapes regicide at the hands of his own subjects, as it is their custom to kill the king at the first sign of aging. After fleeing, no longer a king but a simple peasant, he travels through Eurasia, and eventually meets the goat-god Pan, who is slowly losing his powers as the world turns toward Christianity. In India, he meets a girl, Kudra, who goes on to become his wife. As with most of Robbins’ couples, their mutual libido is enormous, and their love quite like something out of a fairy tale.
After an encounter with a mysterious group known as “The Bandaloop Doctors,” Alobar is set down the path towards eternal life, which, according to Robbins, can be attained by a consistent ritual of controlled breath work, simple eating, sex, and bathing in extremely hot water. Alobar and Kudra, successful in their immortality, prance about Europe until the 18th century, when they attempt a sort of new transcendental meditation and become separated into different astral planes.
There were other themes and story lines in the book, but what I was most intrigued with was the path the characters Alobar and Kudra took to find eternal life and eventually taking them through several hundreds of years together. In the story, their lives were filled with passion and I cannot think of any other way to live life. But I realized I do not wish to live several hundred years. But I am fully committed to living a stress free life, even willing to adapt to a life with controlled breath work, simple eating, and bathing in extremely hot water. Sounds good to me. But I think their journey was symbolic of healthy thinking and healthy living. That is something I can commit to and hope my decisions have the effect of longevity on my life as well (yep, something a 45-year-old starts to think about).
Anyway, for what it’s worth, I recommend the book, it’s an entertaining read.
Miro and I have just moved from Huanchaco, the beach town we lived in for 2 months previously, to Mancora, a small tourist beach village here in the north of Peru. And it’s time to make another change.
So rewind to three days ago.
Miro and I were sitting at small table in front of the cafe, where we live now. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon with the Pacific Ocean just in front of us. We could see many surfers enjoying the waves and almost as many kite surfers flying high with the wind as they periodically touched down on the water. The breeze was filling my hair and the sun provided warm kisses on my shoulders. The 2 of us were playing a challenging game of Monopoly, the Peru version and I was drinking a bottle of Cusquena black beer. It was a lot of fun, really. The afternoon flew by and each moment was more perfect than the last. Lots of laughs as each of us not only played the game, we played with the moment, filling each moment with joy…..At one point, I said with a smile, “I love my life.”… and it was true.
In my life, I have experienced so many drastic changes. Many of those changes occurred in the last 30 years. More changes in the last 3 years. Not to mention even more changes in the last 3 months. I am a person who has always loved changes and welcomed them with as much grace as I could muster. But I have to admit, this one is a true challenge for me.
I am raising my glass now with you, to the changes 45 years has brought and welcoming all other changes this landmark will continue to bring in my life.
45 Life Lessons
Oh, on a side note, I wanted to share this link of a post I read some time ago. It’s called Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on. Here’s the beginning of that article, but I recommend going to this link to read all 45 lessons. It’s really a great read.
To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
- Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
- When in doubt, just take the next small step.
- Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
- Pay off your credit cards every month.
- You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
- Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
- It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
- Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
- When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
The rest can be found here.