What is it about a birthday? It's a time to celebrate life but there can be so many emotions wrapped up in that special day. It seems no matter how old you turn those that are older express how "they've been there and done that" and those that are younger just can't relate as if it won't happen to them. Time for new birthday perspective!
As a teenager I set a few goals for my life. I'm not sure what prompted me to do so but I've carried them with me throughout the years.
I would be married by the time I was 30.
I would have a horse by my 40th birthday.
I would live to be 100.
I chuckle at these goals as I really wasn't focused on being married at that time nor was it a focus in my early 20's. So, when I got married just before my 28th birthday I thought perhaps I wasn't wrong and my other goals might come true.
Well, the horse goal didn't quite work out as I planned. As with many goals, they morph over time. In high school, I owned two horses. I knew that I wanted to return to the horse life but that didn't really mesh well with the first goal. By the time I reached 40, a horse was no longer a practical addition to our family. Life had begun to take over with kids, activities, an intense career and minimal time for leisure activities.
Now, as I turn 50 I am able to reflect on the third goal. I was told when I turned 40 that "you'll love your 40's" but I would be remiss if I said that was my favorite decade thus far. I found my 40's to be overwhelming with the aforementioned activities. So, here I sit reflecting on the past 50 years and feeling quite optimistic about the next 50. My kids always remind me "you've got half your life to live, mom!"
Knowing that this milestone birthday was on the horizon, I've been a bit melancholy (for months). At least until I made some major decisions which included celebrating life and travelling more. I realize now that until this point in my life, I've been focused on doing more, having more, being more which has led to being overwhelmed.
In my 20's I wanted to learn as much as I could resulting in MORE education. I also wanted to run LONGER, cycle FARTHER, be STONGER. Reflecting on that decade I probably pushed my physical body to the limits which has left some ailments and limitations to this day.
My 30's resulted in 3 beautiful healthy babies and 3 that were not meant to be. There was joy and sadness as a result but mostly joy for what we had. The 30's were filled with diapers, feedings, sleepless nights coupled with work deadlines and a stressful work environment. But mostly it was a happy time as I managed to keep running, cycling in the forest and ignoring the signs from my body that I was fatigued.
So, I now think the 40's were an accumulation of ignoring my body for years in the pursuit of more. Serious overwhelm. In the last two months, I've had the opportunity to recognize these patterns and am coming to terms with my limits, as an employee, athlete, mother, wife and individual. I just can't do it all. Can anyone?
And finally, to my 50's. I now feel like I'm able to honor my time, the 24 hours in the day that we all have. Spending the summer at the cabin with less responsibilities I am aware of how much of the day is spent on dishes, laundry, family time, exercise, daily chores and a couple of hours of work. My day is full without the hours of a full-time job. I'm beginning to see just why I always feel like I never have enough time. With limited access to the internet and no television I can identify how much time I sink into these activities when we are at home. For what? Some of it is for work but most of it is a coping approach for my exhaustion. With this awareness I now get to ask myself as I move forward "How shall I spend my precious time?"
If my goal is to LIVE until I'm 100 and not "DIE" when I'm 100, I must change my pace. Why do I need to have MORE, do MORE, be MORE? I now feel as if I can relax into a more sustainable pace.
Here's where the Healthy Knitter comes in. When I began The Healthy Knitter it was to help knitters develop healthy lifestyle practices that could be sustained. That means we can't try to knit everything, work, exercise, eat right, have a clean house, read all the good books, be organized, garden, be involved with the community, etc. We need to identify our priorities that can then be sustained. We then need to let go of some of the other expectations. When we say "yes" to something/one, we must say "no" to something else. To whom are we saying "no?" Usually it is "self."
If you feel like you need to realign your priorities to honor your "self" with the goal of infusing healthier choices in your life ask yourself the following questions:
1. What are my top 3 priorities in my life?
2. Where do I fit into those priorities?
3. What can I let go of so that I can make time for my health?
living a simple, healthy life each day that can be sustained.
another 50 years that are filled with peace, joy, laughter and love for everyone.
days that include time to breathe deeply, honor self, knit a few stitches and walk.
One more row, two more steps...