Seriously, though. Join me as I share some of the fantastic journey that was the magical mystery experience that was 2016.
I have embraced many things that my now 40-year-old self couldn’t fathom as a 30-year-old—like big, floppy beach hats and flowy coveralls. Why? Because, friends, sun spots and tiny wrinkles are fighting their way from my face and down my arms. And while I really don’t want to say it’s because I’m vain, the truth is I’M VAIN! I can’t help but compare myself to much younger women who don’t have the postpartum pooch or early signs of aging, and I struggle to reconcile the not-40-year-old-feeling brain with the defintely-feels-40-body. I was really hoping this would be the year I’d figure out how to apply makeup correctly and learn how to dress appropriately for things. Alas, sometimes I will show up to important things with a unicorn t-shirt, jeans, and Converse. (See my post on turning 40.)
While I’m on the topic of clothing, can we talk about the leggings in the room? Lularoe is to the over-30 woman what Pokemon Go was to everyone and their grandma earlier this year. It’s bad enough the soft feel of their textiles makes me want to wrap my entire body in funky printed clothing, but every time I see an invitation to a pop-up party or a live unboxing event, I have a sudden urge to stop what I’m doing (like work) and BUY ALL THE THINGS. WHHYYYY?! It’s not like I have to go anywhere regularly and need to have all the combinations of Irmas and Cassies in my closet. I have three really nice outfits that I’m keeping in rotation for client meetings until I can actually complete a workout routine that gets me back into the 20 or so other outfits I used to wear to the office. I completely understand my mother’s connection to Tupperware and Home Interiors. There is a sense of community and urgency when hundreds of us gather on Facebook and rabidly try to be the first person to submit our SOLD comment for the holiday print leggings with snowmen on it. I am surrendering to the stretchy pants and bold prints. And it feels very weird.
This year crushed my soul in so many different ways, and will likely do so on New Year’s Eve and a little into 2017. This entire year has pushed me into Year Two of nursing my youngest. Yes, you read that right: We. Are. Still. Nursing. And while this is actually quite normal, I’m tossing this into the Weird For Me category, as I was really, REALLY hoping to be done with this. Blah, blah, it’s great, blah, blah, awesome health benefits, blah, blah. I really want my boobs to myself. I was pretty bummed that this didn’t end after a week-long trip—I fantasized about celebrating the end of Uppa* while I was away and was miffed that she asked for it immediately upon seeing me. While we only nurse at night, and there are great continued health benefits, I’m done. She’s not, and lets me know about it when I try to divert her. Dang you, strong-willed child!
I’ve adopted Dory’s mantra and will just keep swimming with it, because, after all, next year she’ll be less and less a toddler and more and more a kid. Cue the waterworks…
(*When we taught her how to sign for “Twinkle Twinkle,” she later confused it with the sign for “milk.” So, she would ask to nurse by signing for milk while asking for “up above” or “Uppa.”)
Transitioning to working from home/running my own business has not been all weird. I still type speedily while drinking coffee and muttering to myself. I still avoid eye contact with others to keep my eyes from rolling (though I’m the only one here, I still find reasons to roll my eyes at my own behavior). I’ve created connections to help me stay socially involved with others while not worrying about office politics or hurting someone’s feelings. I’m getting a handle on being productive, though there’s still not much housecleaning happening. Behold! Embrace throwing money at this problem and learn how to not be awkward while sitting at your desk working as someone cleans your house for you. Sigh. Whatever. I’ve completely embraced the idea of making life easier through paid help and frozen organic vegetables this year. That is how we do it all, and let’s not wear the judgy leggings when we do it, OK?
I would be remiss if I didn’t also address all the other things that made me feel weirdly connected to more and more people: coming together to protest or take action for so much that has happened in this country this year (not to mention things happening globally). UGH. YES. It’s THAT elephant in the room. I can’t single out any one thing that’s finally brought me to the point where I look for public soapboxes to stand and shout from, but the frustrated rage I’ve felt for many social injustices is now a part of something larger. It is unreal to me that things like reproductive rights, equal pay, and race are still subjects that are being debated. It seems that there are so many ways to view the current state of our country’s affairs, and many families are divided on these issues. Thankfully, we aren’t one, so our meals aren’t full of angry, political comments and are instead a space where we share our bewilderment and talk through ways we can be involved and educate the girls about what’s going on. As Bob Dylan sang over 50 years ago, “The times they are a-changin’.”
So, hello to 2017! Let’s work to make some change in the world through example, hope, and patience. I welcome you with open arms, a fresh cocktail, an unplanned dinner, and a messy home.