I’m Glad I’m a Grown-Up: February’s Last Thought

I loved college.  I grabbed a hold of that experience, held on and wrung out every bit of fun that was possible for years – including summer sessions.  Even better than college was AFTER college.  After a year of living for the weekend (and going back to college) on a small island, I spent 5 years living in Maine’s largest city, being a bar district regular, and reigning as the Princess of Portland.

I physically moved on.  I ended up living in a couple large cities, and I’ve had a fun time in my 30s. I didn’t rip it up like the 20s, but it was pretty great. Sure, my alcohol tolerance isn’t what it was, my feet couldn’t take a whole night of dancing, and I called a cab instead of walking home.  My husband has told me, repeatedly, that I’m living in the past, too obsessed with college and my 20s.

I admit, I still keep in touch with friends I’ve had from those times.  We have more than enough #tbt dirt on each other.  Unfortunately we’ve also bonded over the loss of some of our mutual friends – taken from us much too young.  I go home usually once a year to see my parents.  My trips end up including visits with friends and my favorite places.  I like to watch what some people think of as “teen” shows.  But, honestly, either I watch because I like the actors playing the parents, or it’s about vampires.

Not bad.

Not bad.

It doesn’t hurt that I still can pass for being in my 20s.  I love getting carded.  I feel better than I did when I was in my 20s.  I’ve mastered dressing better and I’ve rehabbed the mistakes I made in over plucking my eyebrows.  I have some really awesome jewelry now including 3 wedding rings.

After a conversation on Twitter with a friend from college I came to the realization that without seeing it happen – I grew up. Despite my husband’s protests, my love of 90s music, and the fact that I get off the airplane in Portland and go straight to Margaritas – I’m a grown up and I’m okay with it.

I don’t miss the craziness and uncertainty of that time in my life.  I’m glad I no longer am drawn to drama.  I’m happy with who I am.  I like things about myself, even when I’m striving to improve them.  I have advice to offer women younger than me, because there is a lot of thing I wish I had know when I was in that spot.  I don’t envy the young anymore, I just want to see them have an awesome life and enjoy themselves as much as I do.

It doesn’t bother me that my doctor, hair stylist and boss are younger than me.  I don’t view age as a peg of authority anymore, I now see it as expertise and accomplishment – and we aren’t all going to have the same at any age.

I looked up to women my current age when I was in my 20s as surrogate big sisters and I hope others do the same with me now.  But I dreaded getting older and growing up even if it made me like those women.  I didn’t want to get boring!

I’m not boring.  I love my life and every experience I’ve had.  I’m looking forward to the ones I’m going to have.  I might end up with gray hairs and some wrinkles, but it’s going to be okay when it happens.

Digging out of the hole.

I’ve had a pretty rough couple of weeks.  I’ve mentally felt pretty damn terrible.  It isn’t the way I normally feel nowadays, so it was very strange.  But, it kicked me hard and it felt nearly impossible to get out of.

Climbershandholding

There are reasons for sure. I had a few arguments with my partner.  I was frustrated that the large goals I had set for myself and my business weren’t really working out.  I had no momentum going. I am in month 4 of being off the Pill. I had finished up 21 days of restrictive eating.  I wasn’t getting shit done, and I knew it. I had taken a long, harsh look at some things that are very important in my life and I entertained the thoughts that they may not be what I had thought they were.

I have dysthymia.  I was probably born with it.  I live with it everyday.  Basically, dysthymia is chronic depression.  My normal state is like Eeyore, I guess you could say. I cultivate a very careful positive bubble around myself to protect me.  Sometimes that bubble is a little Pollyannaish.  Sometimes that works, and some times it doesn’t.  Instead of denying, I let myself feel a little bit of the sting.  It sucked me down a little bit.

This is what I learned this time around: I was in a hole.  There actually is no getting out of the hole that is dysthymia.  I’m going to have to live with this for the rest of my life. I’m always going to climbing, I’ll probably never see the real top. The measures I take to dig out are important.  I will always have to be the one climbing.  I can use tools, like medication, therapy, positivity, environment to make things a little better.  But these won’t be solutions, just safety measures in case I start to fall.  I won’t fall as far.  I can have as many safety lines as possible, but I’ll always be doing the work.

So, this is also an apology for the people I picked fights with these last few weeks.  The people I ignored. The people I hid from. The people I obviously lied to when I said I was fine. The people I turned away from when I felt like the tears started to well up.  This is a thank you for the people who let me randomly text them and vent.  The friends that took my phone calls.  The people who dished out a serving of REAL.  Maybe the past few weeks happened because of dysthymia and circumstances, but in the end, it was the way I reacted to things that made them suck.  Understanding of the big picture is going to help me get better at dealing with these little drops.  They are going to happen.  Life happens.  Shit happens.  I just have to make sure I can still climb upward despite everything.

Jenga Booty

It sounds a little bit like “Jungle Booty” doesn’t it?

I came up with the expression “like a Jenga Puzzle built on quicksand” awhile ago.  I can’t believe I haven’t wrote about this before.  When you lose weight, things change.  That much everyone knows.  Your body changes, you start to look better.  Yay!  Well, usually.

Let's see what happens!

Let’s see what happens!

Weight doesn’t come off the way it went on.  It’s like the honey badger, it does what it wants!  It would be so nice if weight loss worked like a rewind but it has other plans.  Right now I can feel my ribs clearly.  I can even reach under them.  My ass has flattened.  I no longer have “the bubble” off my caboose.  But, I still have two rolls of abdominal fat.  And that same abdominal fat is not symmetrical from left to right.  Once again, I’m having trouble keeping my pants up because without the butt, it’s like trying to put a belt on a beach ball.  My arms have lost underlying fat, but have just ended up looking deflated, while my neck has gotten gorgeous angles.

The real source of the expression is more about the way that I feel when I exercise.  Even losing a modest 6 lb has ripple effect impacts in my body.  A small change in weight, a shift in how it works, and everything is different.  The way I think about it is my body has adjusted to life being larger than expected.  Some large and small muscles aren’t being used as they were probably intended.  After years of living as a larger size, they’ve made adaptations to still be able to move as much as possible, even if it isn’t the right way.  Once I start to lose this extra size, suddenly they are not required to work as they once did, and they are not ready to work as they should.  This sometimes feels like a giant step back, but it is more like a side step, followed by a forward step that is really, really hard – like walking against the current of a river.

I’m still active and it’s still forward progress, even when it feels like it isn’t.  I’m using more and more of my body the right way.  It’s actually really great to learn to recruit my gluteus properly.  I’m still mastering the lunge, but I know that it is always improving.  In general, I love being more active. I love waking up in the morning and not having pain in my hips and lower back.  I’m looking forward to my next round of learning more about myself and my body and I’m excited to see what I can do.