36 and Full of It

Tomorrow I turn 36. Now on the back half of my thirties and one year closer to 40, society has made a valiant effort to plant seeds in my subconscious that aging = bad. I don’t feel bad about aging. In fact, I think I’m doing this aging thing pretty well. I often crack jokes about the gray hairs creeping, prominent pimples, and my new postpartum body. I’m not self deprecating when I make these jokes. I’m just keeping it real.

I have gray hair. I have since I was 24. If I was ashamed of this I would let far less time go between hair dyes.

I hate that I’m 36 and still battle clear skin but it is what it is and I have no interest in makeup.

Though I often make comments about this new post baby bod, I’m super happy with where I’ve landed. I still don’t know what I weigh and I have no desire to learn. I checked that scale for about 6 months after Isabella was born but it was when I started feeling more like myself I stopped. My lower abs are a little softer than before but lucky for me, high waisted pants are heavily in style. And like the grays, if this was something I was super concerned about, I could put in the work to make a change but I’m good. I’m happy.

Traditionally on my birthday I post a 100% au naturale photo of myself on instagram. No filter, no facetune, no makeup, no botox. And traditionally I feel great about myself when posting. Being authentic and unapologetic about who I am, imperfections and all, was more or less on brand for Jessica for many years. However, despite all the aforementioned positive self talk, I am finding myself doubting the necessity of that selfie tradition this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not over here feeling all bad about myself with self image issues looking for praises from the people. I’m just saying that I simply find myself looking in the mirror more frequently than I used to and the reflection looking back at me has me feeling a little…old…er.

OldER. Don’t start throwing stones. I said oldER. Not old.

Feeling older presents itself in a variety of ways, some good, some painful.

It’s that first reach for my toes to put on pants in the morning. It’s playing Shoop in cycle class and the 19year old member to say she’s never even heard the song before. It’s dropping your jaw in shock when you hear the lyrics to WAP and then dropping it again when you find out what WAP stands for. It’s turning the music down on the car radio so you can better see street signs. It’s getting frustrated when kids these days don’t know the difference between they’re, their, and there. And it’s using the phrase “kids these days” in frequent conversations without sarcasm.

It’s also letting go of things you once thought were important. Example, I did not make it to the ball drop on New Year’s Eve and it turns out I missed absolutely nothing. It’s knowing that people who you put value on can disappoint without explanation and finding peace with it. It’s showing your love and appreciation for those you put value on who don’t disappoint and who see you as equally valuable. It’s knowing EXACTLY who you are and EXACTLY what you want and being super out loud about it.

I know who I am, I know what I like, I know what makes me happy and shy has never been a word used to describe me so why start now? The following is the short list of what makes me me:

  • I love my family and the older I get the more I consciously take time to soak up how lucky I am to have them.
  • Exercise is my favorite activity and I get paid to do it. Need I say more?
  • Watching my daughters face light up when she sees me when I pick her up at school and the hug that follows is my favorite part of each day. I get excited pulling in to the school parking lot with anticipation of wrapping my arms around her little body.
  • My husband continues to bring lightness and goofiness to life’s mundane moments and figuring out this parenting thing with him has been our greatest journey together thus far.

• My favorite emotion is nostalgia.

  • I don’t care what people think of me. I do care what they think of my work.
  • Though my insta stories have made a big shift, I am still a proud cat mom.
  • Wine is delicious.
  • I like to write even if no one reads it. I find it to be therapeutic and I plan on making more time to do it more. Thus this post.

This abbreviated list of what makes my heart happy didn’t come with age. Learning to acknowledge and appreciate it did.

Despite what getting oldER might be doing to that reflection in the mirror, I know 36 is going to be yet another great year. It’s cliche but true to say, especially in this case; it’s not whats on the outside that matters, it’s what’s inside. At the youthful age of 36, my insides are overflowing with love, pride, happiness, gratitude and of course, wine.

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