I was not chasing 40 with grace. Quite the opposite, as I was discontent with life in general. I constantly blamed my age.
Forty was the enemy. The next decade of my life was chasing me. Or at least, that's what I thought.
It was a predator, unraveling guilt and regret...and when it pounced, I withdrew. The "it", mentioned above is a part of me. The "it" I am talking about is depression.
This was embarrassing to admit out loud and even now, I tremble while typing this. But, "it" is a part of me. A part of my life - for better or worse. A certain stigma held within depression's definition caused my denial to anyone over the past year. Especially within myself. My internal autopilot switch was flipped and I hoped no one noticed. No blame was thrown around. It just was, what it was.
My body was tired. My mind mush. I was done trying, so I stood in the shadows watching. Stepping back into the shadows was not a conscious decision. It was decided without my full consent, yet I made the decision on my own.
Somewhere between the day-to-day grind and the fact that motivation exited stage right, my mind shifted inward. I was an outsider to my own life. Internally detached and numb became a way of life.
My DNA is not built to sustain this type of shift, so I hid; camouflaged within tangled, fibrous beliefs and decaying personal denial. Perfection had no room during this transformation, along with the necessity to be social and the will to care about my appearance. I removed them from my life. Problem solved. (But, not really.)
The end of the year brought holidays and the perfect excuse to alter my multitasking-super-parent-super-everything focus to a simpler-singular focus. (And no.... I did not consider myself a super-mom, nor do I now, yet the dark perfectionist intent was imminent.)
December ended and I continued telling myself “just another week/day/month. I will blog/write/make goals….. Once I have time.”
The household remained in good working condition. Everyone was functioning and getting where they needed to be. The pigs, dogs and kids grew and continued to smell. (Yes, they ALL smelled!) I conversed with fellow parents. Cheered at my son’s games. I even signed up for a Creative Writing Course at a local college for the Spring, All positive shifts forward, but I felt myself shrinking.
Pointing the blame at my approaching date with the big 4-0 in April, I kept the autopilot on.
February began and ended. Autopilot was still going strong at this point. March began and almost passed, yet something began to change. Through ugly, racking sobs, I admitted that I needed a change. Not a physical change, but a mental change to the way I viewed my life.
Accepting and taking credit for my life's accomplishments, was frightening and definitely has not happened overnight. I began by opening up to those close to me, talking to my doctor and finally acknowledging the unnecessary guilt I had been carrying.
Guilt of not being perfect.
Guilt because my expectations were way over the top and unrealistic.
It is okay to feel crappy sometimes.
It is okay to not be okay.
Today, April is upon us.
A new month is awaiting me. And tomorrow is be a new day. There will be happy moments and difficult times. I am a work in progress and that is OKAY.
My lens will continually need re-adjusting, as it captures snapshots of my life, goals and even the momma-has-gone-crazy episodes.
And that is okay, too.
In four days, I will be FORTY and I am happy to say……I am no longer running from it. I am standing tall and awaiting the day with open arms.
My life is what I make it. No one else has the power. No one else can dictate who I am. Taking care of my “self” has become a priority. I am not talking about a mani/pedi or coloring the silver tinsel sprouting between my brunette strands……..but the more internal part of who “Jennifer” is.
She is not only the Mom or the Wife. She is someone I am still getting to know. A person I strive to acknowledge, nurture and support.