Happy birthday to me…

I’m turning 35 today! What a strange feeling. I’ve always felt somewhat like a kid, and for c 35most of my career, I’ve always been the youngest. The youngest in my grad school program, the youngest in my job in DC Government, the youngest in my family to get married…and, well, most likely, that’s kinda changing.

I have mixed feelings about getting older. The older I get, the more comfortable I get in my own skin. The older I get, the more I’ve come to truly love and respect myself, and treat myself gently and kindly. The older I get, the more my priorities reflect what’s important, and the more likely I am to say no to what doesn’t serve me, and to stand up for myself and what I need. And, of course, I’ve been unbelievably lucky that many of my medical issues have quieted in the last few years, although this month has been pretty challenging.

And yet for some crazy reason, a contingent of grey hairs has taken up residence on my head. I have no idea why they’re here, and quite frankly, I’d prefer that they leave. Not only that, the more I glare at them, the more that appear, so I’ve decided to ignore them for the c bday caketime being in the hopes that when they don’t get the reaction they’re looking for, they’ll leave. As much as “wisdom streaks” are often a part of the package, I’m less than enthused, and for the first time, I actually have the sense of my body aging, which feels foreign.

I feel like we’re constantly bombarded by images of women in their teens or 20s as the standard of beauty and so there’s a sense of strangeness there. They look so young! How could this have happened?  Like anyone, I enjoy being seen as attractive and start to notice the subtle changes in my face vs the cultural norms and standards. But I also like growing into who I am rather unapologetically as well.

Most of the feedback I get from people around me is how hard it is to get older. It may be that I just don’t understand yet and that in 10, 20, 30 years I’ll be singing the same song. But there’s a part of me that also welcomes all the changes, too.

surprise flowersIt’s funny…as I was reflecting on my birthday, I really feel the need to take some time to celebrate my life. I mentioned that to Mr. Dude, and his response was *duh*, that’s what birthdays are about. I tend to disagree. We celebrate a fun, self-indulgent day, eat a tasty cake, figure out interesting stuff to buy and/or get stuff…but that’s different than a life-celebration. I haven’t quite figured out what I want to do, but that’s definitely on the agenda.

Please, gift me with your comments on what you enjoy most about getting older, or how you like celebrating the years of your life.

About Cheryl Harris

Life played a funny trick on me. I've studied nutrition for years, and much to my surprise, found out that I could manage many of my health issues via diet. I've been GF for years, and I've got a bunch of allergies and sensitivities. But it definitely doesn't keep me from cooking, baking and enjoying my food. Thanks for stopping by.
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9 Responses to Happy birthday to me…

  1. carrie says:

    I had a wise, wise english teacher in high school and during one particular class I remember her saying quite clearly (it was an all-girls class), “ladies, wait until you’re 35. You won’t really live until you’re 35. You will finally know who you are, you will be comfortable in your own skin, and you will finally love the person you’ve become.” I have never, EVER forgotten that… and there was so much wisdom in that statement that has truly come to pass in my own life. I too am at the 35 mark and like you… I think I’m finally becoming quite comfortable in my own skin. I’m finally proud of who I am and where I’ve come from and what I’ve worked through. You’ve been a big part of that and I’m so thankful! I love this post Cheryl. I think you should just bask in the sunlight, pet sweet kitties, make your favorite dessert, write a love letter to yourself, and do the little things that absolutely make you smile and cherish every minute of it! ((( big big big hugs to you!)))

  2. Thanks, Carrie. What a great line, and how wonderful to have such an inspiring teacher. A lot of people talk about how you get comfortable in your 40s…I figure we’re close enough, yes?

  3. Tamara Lea says:

    Happy birthday! I loved being 35. By that age, I went back to school and loved it, I had finally reached a point of financial stability, strong friendships, personal confidence, professional respect, forgiveness for the past, etc….. My 30s have been the prime of my life, for sure, with 35 being right smack dab in the middle of all of it.

    My 40s will come quickly and I’m a little apprehensive about that. I see what my late-40-something friends are going through and I wonder if it will be the same for me. Things like workplace age discrimination, wrinkles / age spots, decreased libido, parents with failing health, struggling with teenaged children, financial woes (college, retirement, etc.)….. Sorry to be such a negative nelly. 🙂

    But the bottom line is, I can’t stop time from passing. So, I’m trying to do things now to make the rest of my life – 40s, 50s and beyond – better with every year. I try to take care of my health, I try to not get hung up on my “flaws” (yellowing teeth, uneven skin tone, adult acne), I am working on spending more time with my parents, I stay positive…. I’ll let you know in about 10 years to see if its paid off.

  4. Happy Birthday! It seems like the people who do best with aging are the ones who love themselves & take care to remain healthy and active. You’re doing both, so I think you’ll do just fine!!!

  5. Thanks, Tamara–wise words! It is regretful how much age discrimination is present in our culture, and I think it’s a loss all around.

    Thanks, Kate! I wouldn’t consider myself healthy or active, but I certainly do the most I can on both fronts, which is all that is in my power.

  6. Mike says:

    I think you are right and carrie’s teacher was right too, you have too see the good side of things, always. You are 35, you are still young and have a life ahead of you and can do any thing you want, because you’re young. So, carpe diem and happy birthday!

  7. Ricki says:

    I have to agree that 35-40 were fabulous years. 🙂 And while I’m not crazy about the physical changes that have come with aging (one’s body just doesn’t want to do all the things it used to any more), I am pretty pleased with the changes that have gone on inside. . . getting older really does let you become more of whom you’re meant to be, and to be comfortable with yourself. And that’s a good thing. 🙂 Happy birthday, lovely lady! Hope you’re enjoying every minute. xoxo

  8. Ricki,
    I appreciate the positive vote and the birthday wishes! It was a fun day, and I’m still celebrating. why not 😉

  9. Cheryl, I think I wished you happy birthday on Facebook (I hope so!!), but I missed this birthday post. 🙁 You’re not really getting old until you can’t remember how old you are and have to do the math. 😉 35 seems VERY young to me now! LOL I have no great words of wisdom. Overall, I’m much more relaxed than in my youth, but lately I’m going through a sort of 2/3-life re-evaluation thing. Anyway, hope you are still celebrating! I don’t believe that birthdays should be taken lightly!


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