Filling Your Niche
birthday cupcake

The best version of yourself

My neighbor Greg said the other day that 40 is the new 20, to which I replied “Spoken like a desperate almost-40-year-old.”

“Ugh, you’re right,” he said, shoulders slumping, because even though I’m closer to 40 than he is, he’s a lot more depressed about it. But the idea that 40 is a dead end is something that only people in their 20s (okay, and most of their 30s) believe.

As of today, my 39th birthday, I’ve officially entered the last year of my 30s, a decade I would describe as tumultuous even at my most optimistic. From figuring out how to build a blended family to navigating life during a brutal economic recession, the last 10 years have been nothing if not intense.

It’s only now that I feel like I’m finally getting my feet back under me. That for the first time since my decision to move to Las Vegas mere weeks before I turned 30, life kinda sorta makes sense and feels solid again. Like maybe I can put my full weight behind my next step without landing in a steaming pile of disaster. I don’t know how other people feel about getting within spitting distance of  40, but I feel like I’m just now getting started.

Every year on my birthday, I give myself a present. This year, I’m playing hooky from work and taking myself to the movies and then to a massage. And almost certainly a birthday nap. But I also have another gift in mind, one that I can enjoy long-term.

The older I get, the more I realize how critical my physical health is to every other aspect of my life. Raised in an academic family that looked down their noses at any semblance of vigorous activity and dismissed organized sports as something for “dumb jocks,” discovering how much I love being active has been a revelation to me.

Looking back at my life, joy in movement formed some of my most evocative memories, even if I’m only now realizing it (like so many things). Spending every summer climbing trees, exploring the woods, taking long walks down the beach. The time I accidentally biked the 16 mile loop instead of the 7 mile loop on some church trip to the state park– but finished the whole thing anyway, shaking and exhausted and the most proud of myself I’d ever been. Swim team: sweating in the water, the muscular liquidity combined with mental clarity I felt at the end of every practice.

So this year, as I explore what new features Version 3.9 of myself has to offer, I’m embracing more motion. More physicality. More action; less inertia. More yoga. More biking. More climbing. My personal health goal is to be able to bike to a yoga class, survive the yoga class, and bike home again without wanting to die.

I want Me v3.9 to be the best physical version of myself to date; making time in the next 12 months to get out of my head and into my body is a critical aspect of laying the foundation for my next 40 years. I have 365 days until the big 4-0, and I plan to make them count.

What’s the best version of yourself you’d like to see in the next 12 months?

foundationword of the year

Maarit • 10/07/2014

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