You know what’s weird? My peepers flew open at 5am today, just like every day (I totally didn’t make it to midnight last night. Actually I didn’t make it to 10pm. Don’t judge me.) and I kind of expected today to feel different than other days. You know, because it’s New Year’s Day and all, and perception is king where that kind of stuff is concerned. I am a big fan of New Year’s Day usually; I love the idea of having a fresh new year to write on. 2017 is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while, so I’m a little surprised that it’s here and it feels…the same as yesterday. Oh well. I’m not a superstitious person and I know that the idea of New Year’s Day is arbitrary, so moving on: so what if it doesn’t feel all new and sparkly? I’m still gonna make some big things happen this year.
Anyway, hello 2017, nice to meet you finally. I’m going to wax a little self-indulgent here but stick with me for a few minutes. 2017 is special to me because this is the year I will turn 40. FORTY. I used to think forty meant old-ish. Middle-aged. Kinda frumpy, maybe. And yet here I am at the doorstep of turning 40 and I’m definitely not feeling old – I’m still getting better, getting stronger, feeling more comfortable being me than I ever have. My forties are going to be GREAT, and damned if I’m not spending this whole freaking year celebrating. Oh yes I am.
If I look back on each decade of my adult life so far and the defining moments that punctuate them, here’s what I see:
My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) got me a card for my 20th birthday that had a Doonesbury cartoon of a funeral on the front that said, “We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of our youth.” I thought my life was over – that I had failed, missed the train. I wasn’t a superstar yet and I figured that was it for me – what a drama queen! Ha ha.
At twenty-one I got married. Worked in various retail management jobs. Raged against life. Felt lost. Didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I grew obese and weak. I knew it, but didn’t want to face it – kept thinking that at the next big milestone I’d do something about it.
Twenty-five: joined Weight Watchers. Decided to go back to school and study music – this time I was going the whole way: masters’ degree and symphony orchestra job. Instead, I got pregnant.
Twenty-six: became a mom. Didn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time for probably the entire year. I don’t remember much about that phase of life…but something about parenthood forces you to get your shit together pretty fast – we paid off our student loans and bought a house.
Twenty-seven: pregnant again. Baby #2.
Twenty-eight: Turning point! Figured some stuff out – taught myself how to train, lost just over 100lbs, did five triathlons, became a group fitness instructor, went back to school to be a trainer.
I figured I had my shit sorted out at this point. I knew what I wanted to do and thought I knew how to do it.
Thirty: went back into the work force as a personal trainer in a commercial gym. Given my history as a nerdy overweight girl, I couldn’t even keep a straight face when I told people I was doing. It was awesome.
Thirty-four: Took Precision Nutrition’s coaching program, and PN’s professional certification. Life took a sharp sideways turn – something in my body went funky but couldn’t identify what was wrong. First bout of real depression.
Thirty-six: Darkness. Fell apart in all directions. Gained sixty pounds. Crushing disappointment in myself. Crazy amounts of stress from extended family issues. Serious clinical depression. Body funkiness finally diagnosed accurately: benign but active pituitary tumour. Tried to start treatment but stopped because of nasty side effects. In spite of all this I managed to complete four Spartan races and brought home the Spartan trifecta medal for completing all three obstacle race distances in one season. Got my first tattoo to celebrate surviving that year.
Thirty-seven: Quit my job to be self-employed. I was surprised to find that I didn’t really like it. Took a position at a smaller personal training studio and learned some tough lessons about life. Started treatment for pituitary tumour again and saw it through this time. Discovered powerlifting as a band-aid solution to training while I fought my way through side effects of medication, and totally fell in love with it. Found joy in playing music again.
Thirty-eight: Went back to my job in the gym. Made a conscious decision to stop hating myself. Stopped taking anti-depressants. Did my first powerlifting meet and got hooked. The sun came out again and life got exponentially better.
And now here come my forties. I definitely do not have my shit sorted out and I don’t feel one bit bad about it; life is a fluid process and hopefully the learning never stops. I have no regrets – every loss, every mistake, every roadblock taught me something valuable. My strong, smart, amazing daughters are growing more independent at kind of an alarming rate and I have clear ideas about what I want to accomplish this year: gonna lift up lots of heavy stuff, write, coach, train, and always keep growing, getting better, and giving back. Here’s to a great 2017, guys!