Today I turn 38. I’ve never felt more grown up than I do right now.
Not grown up in the sense that I feel old or can finally go out unsupervised. But that I really own my shit. I’m good with who I am and confident in where I’m going. I put on the blinders and follow my own path.
Being 37 was a huge transitionary period. It was the first full year being single in my adult life. I used to choke through that sentence as though a giant wad of chewing gum was stuck in my teeth.
Single mom. Single woman.
Now I’m cool with it.
The past few years were filled with so many highs and lows.
In 2015, I finished grad school and shortly after went through a disruption in business when my partner resigned because his personal brand was growing at immense speed. I realized that though educated and business-minded, I spent my entire entrepreneurial carry building the brands of everyone else.
In 2016, I separated from my husband of 18 years and started a new business Fit Thrive. It was the first time I focused on my own brand.
In 2017, I finalized my divorce and sold our family home. I moved into my own place—the first time ever living alone (with kids and dogs). I cried a ton. Tears of joy. Tears of letting go.
Then spent a lot of time wondering what the hell am I doing with my life? Is this reality? Am I going to wake up any minute now in my middle school bed, my room aglow from the light of my fish tank, black light posters and Eddie Vedder magazine tear-outs pinned all over my walls?
Was 2017 a glimpse of what my life could look like if I didn’t pull it together, get that full-ride sports scholarship, stop worry about boys and worry more about honor society? And stop reading so much damn Sylvia Plath? She’s making you angsty.
It’s all happening. Every single moment of it.
In my 37th year, I spent far more time lying in bed than I care to admit. Some days I just couldn’t get out of it. Or would momentarily only to crawl right back in.
I finished far too many bottles of wine. Sat through more bad dates that I ever want to remember.
I focused a lot of time and energy on the wrong things. Worried about things that didn’t matter. Made impulsive business investments that didn’t pan out. Bought a few too many pairs of shoes.
Many of which I haven’t worn. Not even on bad dates.
I designed a series of new fitness programs, launched an app, penned dozens of articles around the web, and designed a new apparel series. On the days I could get out of bed, I was highly productive. Apparently.
I also really, truly fell in love with who I am. All of me. Every square centimeter inside and out. And that is the purest, best love I’ve ever felt.
It’s messy love.
Unadulterated. Compassionate. Universal. Thick and boundless and fluid.
It’s the kind of love that no matter what, I’m good. I’m really, really good.
I see this quote floating around the internet in all its various forms. “You have survived 100% of your worst days.”
It’s supposed to inspire, but bothers me. Life is a series of middles stuffed between highs and lows. If we didn’t have lows, then we wouldn’t have highs. Everything would flat line, and we’d never appreciate anything the world offers.
If you simply survive your worst days. You are simply surviving your best days, too.
You must live all your days. Fully. Completely without covering your eyes. You are meant to see the full spectrum of color that is your life, no matter how dark it gets.
When you live all your days, the lows are as exhilarating as the highs because you come off those days with an entirely new perspective.
To be cliché, life is short stints on a rollercoaster ride. The climb to the peak is your high. The drop is your low. Both are equally exciting, but in different ways.
Your middles are when you exit the ride, have two feet on the ground, and your heart returns to normal pace.
You spend far more time in the middle, but when asked about the rollercoaster you describe it as a single experience. You don’t break down the thrill of the climbs and the survival of the drops, loops and spins. Sure, you dish out these details when you tell your friends about the ride.
But there is no differentiation between the climbs and drops, because without one you wouldn’t have the other. Imagine a rollercoaster that zipped in a straight line. You’d probably only ride that once. Because where’s the excitement in that? You know exactly what to expect.
Live all your days. No matter how high or low or middle they feel.
Living your days means you won’t get stuck in survival mode when you go through the darkness.
Living is experiencing. Surviving is existing.
This year I learned to love, which meant I learned to live. Love begins within you, and living begins when you feel the same sense of excitement about the lows as you do the highs once your feet are on solid ground.
You are not here to simply survive. You are here to live. And love.
To be messy.
To be crazy.
To be whole.
To be unadulterated. Compassionate. Universal. Thick and boundless and fluid.
You are here to be you. Enjoy every moment of it.