Celebrating My 2nd Annual 40th Birthday!
|September 8, 2010||Posted by Jenny Ann Fraser under Feast...|
In honour of my 2nd Annual 40th Birthday, I thought I’d share a few of my many dreams for a better world.
I do not celebrate my 2nd Annual 40th Birthday because I don’t want to face the reality that I am 41. My math skills, though nothing to write home about are far too good to fool myself that way. Besides, I love turning 41. It’s a good sign that I’m still alive.
My 1st Annual 40th birthday, could have gone in one of two directions. It could have been the beginning of another monumental life-threatening bought of depression due to the fact that it was the official moment marking the death of my dreams of being a mother and having a family of my own. I could have curled up into a ball lamenting the years lost to depression and anxiety and the long hard hours of work that drove me deeper into financial insecurity while stealing my youth.
Or, it could be a new beginning. The recognition that I am far from dead which means that I can create new dreams and move towards them with the wisdom that only years can provide.
Obviously, I chose the latter and threw myself a party. It was more than enough fun to warrant doing it again. Hence, the 2nd annual…
I do feel sad and more than a bit short-changed sometimes that my life did not turn out the way that I had planned. There has been far more tears than joy, and far more broken dreams than successes but I have so much that I am grateful for, I often suspect that I am happier than some of the women I know who have everything I ever wanted. Who would trade happiness? And for what?
So, as this birthday approaches, I find myself contemplating many of the things that I have learned over these years, and what I would love to share the most to mark this occasion.
I worry about the world. I worry about climate change and the fact that we don’t seem to understand that if we don’t make drastic life changes starting yesterday, we may be killing our children. I worry because I think I understand why we’re not getting it.
I understand, that we’re too focused on the wrong things and our belief in those things runs so deep that we cannot see clearly where we are headed...
I write with the hope that we will learn to see things differently without having to grow older, because we might be running out of time.
Over the years I have struggled with feminist ideals. The sadness I feel that women still do not enjoy equal rights all over the world, and the fact that women in wealthy nations are more stressed than ever balancing motherhood and career. Clearly, we have a long way to go.
What saddens me more than that, is how I see all of us, men too in some cases becoming more and more concerned with the superficial trappings of our sex. I’m speaking here of how we look, how we age, what we wear and our concerns over how others perceive us. I am sad that we still cannot believe in ourselves enough to let our accomplishments stand on their own.
It breaks my heart that even those who are incredibly successful, all too often, cannot accept ageing gracefully and instead allow time to take away so much joy. Too often we believe that they have to look a certain way to find fulfilment and self-esteem. For all that we have achieved, our appearance is still somehow tied to our self-worth.
It is the ultimate carrot on a stick as true self-worth and confidence will never be found in the reflection in the mirror. It can only be found within our hearts and minds. These are places it seems, that so many never look.
We still don’t know how to love ourselves enough to eat healthy and exercise just because it makes us feel better. We think that we need to do it so that we can get better partners, better jobs, or, just better.
Yes, I am aware, that those who are considered better looking do better in life according to some statistics. I have to ask however, why so many accept that and choose to conform? How can we improve the world if we don’t celebrate whatever it is that we have to give regardless of how we look? Why are we still buying into these myths when our survival is at stake?
Why are money, prestige, material possessions and beauty taking precedence over love, compassion and peace? Why have we still not learned to pay attention to what is most important?
We all have the potential to learn to love each other, and in doing that, I am certain that we will finally learn to love ourselves. It really does happen in that order. We could not possibly feel so lost if the good of the whole served as our guide. I believe that it is the key we are missing that would allow us to begin to solve the monumental problems that we must face.
The key? We need to focus on what we give and practice gratitude for what we get. We need to focus on being kind, sharing smiles, learning to forgive. We need to be brave enough to share our wisdom and our love even when we feel unsure. We need to focus on gaining compassion for who and what is around us so that we might best serve for everyone’s good.
Then, we won’t need to look in the mirror to find reasons to love ourselves. Self-love will be easy to find because it will be a growing flame that we can’t possibly miss. It will be so obvious that we won’t need to look. We’ll never be able to miss the feeling of being beautiful because it will live where we can always find it. In our hearts.
What is even better, is the fact that this “inner beauty” is visible to others. Think of it. How many people have you encountered in your life that you would consider to be truly beautiful who would not in any way make it to the cover of some magazine? It stands to reason that if we were to cultivate this inner beauty and allow it to shine through, others would see it, and we would enjoy the same benefits that the stereo-typical beautiful people supposedly enjoy.
Today, I choose to accept time, gravity and age. I choose to celebrate what I have learned, what I am learning and what I will learn in the years to come. I choose to celebrate everything that I have to give, even if it is just a smile directed at a perfect stranger. No matter who that stranger is.
Today, I choose to be beautiful!