Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.
Monday Mantra: You are a gift
I'm going to tell you what I hope for the world. What I hope for myself. What I aim and fail for on a more than regular basis. What I wish I didn't see, but do.
I'm going to tell you a secret.
Do you remember when you were a child? When the only things that mattered were the amazing boxes your presents came in, the joy of running around outside on your summer break, or the warmth of your grandparents rocking you to sleep.
Do you remember this?
When you were perfect exactly the way you were, with your chubby cheeks and your baby fat rolls, your curly hair that never stayed in place. Do you remember this time, the time before you had to be a certain size, have zero wrinkles, and tame every hair on your head? Do you remember the time before you were just a body, the time when you were an entire person- body, mind, and soul? When you were loved by everyone around you, not because you had blue eyes and blonde hair, but because you were a gift. A one-of-a-kind miracle never to be repeated again.
Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I forget and I have to bring me back to myself, the me that is more than the skin that I live in. Sometimes, like this weekend, it's because I hang out with people, like my mom, who can't stand to age or look older or be anything less than what they think is perfect.
I grew up with a lot of very wonderful, loving people. I grew up being told I could do anything I wanted as long as I never gave up. I was told I was perfect and beautiful just the way I was. But my mom was never perfect or beautiful enough, in her own eyes. My mom - who was voted the prettiest girl in high school by her football team and who still looks years younger than her actual age- refuses to age gracefully.
I've always wanted a person who could show me exactly what it would be like to appreciate getting older and wiser. Someone who could tell me about the triumph in giving up youth, for that is the thing for the young and the reckless and the wild. That's the thing for those who haven't yet learned about how the world turns, who haven't witnessed the miracle of seeing their children grow up, who haven't experienced the adventure of living through all phases of life.
The someone I always wanted that person to be was my mom. As she gets older and more frequently complains about herself aging, I find myself fighting with her- for her. I want her to be my example. I want her to love herself. I want her to know she's more than a body and, selfishly, I want to learn how to do this from her. Unfortunately, we are the opposite of each other in many things, including this approach. In fact, in many instances these days, I am more the mother and she is more the daughter. It's devastating to me and she doesn't realize it, even after I tell her.
Sometimes I hate our world, so full of false perfectionism and idealism. So full of loving the wrong things and throwing away the right ones. Embarrassingly enough, I fall into these areas myself. More than I want. Which is why I have a very steep goal that I've been working on for many years now.
I've never really told anyone this, but one of the reasons I've always wanted to wait to have children until I was older is because I want to be ready- and more than the normal amount of what people think of as "being ready". I want to be the person I wish my mom was. I want to fully and honestly love myself, in and out, over and around, every which way. I want to embrace everything about myself that may change, and actually enjoy those changes. I want to have learned the art of patience with myself. And from all of this, all of these things, what I want the most is to be the example for my kids. Maybe the outside world will always be a crazy and wild place, where image counts for more than it should, but in my heart and in my home it won't be. You will be valued as a person. You will be valued because you are good, kind, wise and wonderful. You will be perfect exactly as you are and you will never, not ever, see me demonstrate anything other than that.
I'm still working on this.
I'll be 30 in a year and I'm excited. I'm excited to be the age I've always felt, the age I've been waiting for, for so long. Hopefully, this whole 2012 End of the World deal won't mess it up for me. And if it doesn't, then I vow to celebrate every year after in full. I won't be 29 going on 30 for the second, third, or fourth time. I will be all the ages of my life.
I want you all to know this: You are a gift. There is no one else like you and there never will be again. So be you. Love yourself. Love the life you have been given, even it it involves gray hair and wrinkles. Love each moment of your life, the good and the bad. Enjoy all the phases of your life, because regardless of your age, you are are still that beautiful, amazing, one-of-a-kind miracle child that is - and should always be - loved for who you are as a person, not for what you look like.
Be happy. Be yourself. Show the world how great you are. Show me.