Birthdays always make me nostalgic. Each year around this time, my mind starts wandering back, reflecting on where it is I've been and all the things I've done. I start comparing the previous birthday with the current one, paying close attention to the more drastic changes that may have taken place and thinking about where I want to be in the year ahead.
This past year has been full of personal change. The last 6 months, in particular, have been rife with upheaval, uncertainty, and eventually a sense of confidence that I have never experienced. Most of this can be attributed to getting healthy and losing a great deal of weight. As of today, I've lost 51 lbs. I'm still heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Presley, and I want to lose 31 more lbs before next Spring, but I am happy with what I've accomplished so far. It wasn't easy to break out of the rut I had been in for the last few years. In fact, I was sure it was impossible until one day, it just clicked. I started getting healthy and haven't stopped. I don't want to stop. I'm not tempted to stop. Food just doesn't have the same power over me that it once did. I get frustrated and discouraged when I don't see the scale moving for several days in a row, but not to the point of derailment. So even though I'm not the ideal body type, and although I still have a ways to reach my goal, I feel really good about myself for simply having the strength to get this far. That is where the confidence comes from; not from a number on the scale, but what that number represents.
The other big change that has taken place is job related. When the company I worked for closed down, it was like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet. It was terrifying and took a lot of adjustment. It was just like grieving. Now I've come to terms with everything that happened and am happily employed with a new company. In the beginning, I wasn't sure I liked my new job and even found myself outright hating it. Looking back, though, I can see that all stemmed from simply disliking being "the new guy". I had thought I would never find myself in that position again and then I was thrust into the job market and had to start all over. My resentment toward not having control over the situation that forced me out of my previous job made me dread going to my new job each day. At one point, I actually hoped I'd get fired. (This coming from someone who has never been fired before and absolutely hates rejection.) As seems to be the way things work nowadays, one day a switch just flipped and I suddenly felt good about my job. I've started interacting more with my new co-workers, trying to get to know them and letting them get to know me. The work itself is finally making more sense, and call me crazy, but I think working in the trucking industry, even in billing, is pretty cool.
I can honestly say that as I'm getting nearer to 40 years old, I am starting to learn how to like myself and how to shrug off other people's expectations. I hope this trend of discovery and empowerment continues. It's strange not hating myself and sometimes it feels unnatural when I realize that I actually like the woman I am and the direction I'm heading. There is still a small part of me that is insecure and afraid, but that part is shrinking all the time. I don't know if this is the "wisdom" they say we get with age, or if it's how other people have felt all along and I'm just late to the game. Either way, I like it. I don't cringe at my reflection anymore. Sometimes I even give it a wink and a "you got this, bitch", just for good measure.