Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Finding 40: Nothing To Be Afraid Of

I spent all of my thirties, the entire fucking decade, being afraid of turning forty.  Having ages 35, 39, and 40 on the horizon made me swell with discontent, fear, and sorrow.  I cried and panicked, thinking life would end at 40 if I didn't reach certain life goals before that clock turned midnight.

But as a result of that fear, I was a deer in headlights.  I stood still, staring at the countdown, motionless, for years.

I failed to live.

But do you know what happened when I turned 40?  

Well the day of, I was numb for most of it and had a break down in the afternoon.

But the next day at age 40 and one day, I was fine.  Actually, I was better than fine.  The week that followed was really nice.  

I'm still incredibly heartbroken that motherhood seems impossible for me now.  I didn't wake up the day after my birthday with a magical cure for my life-long desires.  I haven't figured out a way to let go of that dream.  But I think a lot of the fear that lived in me during the entirety of my 30's has slowly been dissipating.  

Instead of being sad and scared all the damn time, I've now taken to absolutely owning being a 40-something.  And oddly, I kind of love it.

I'm all, Well in my 40's.... Or now that I'm 40....  And my 40 year old self is flat out of fucks to give!

But like, I said all of this the day after I turned 40.  Because I'm weird.  Or I turned a corner.  Or both.  Who knows.  It feels good though.  It feels good to genuinely care less.  Because I'm not just saying that.  As strange as it sounds, I suddenly but actually do give fewer fucks.  

For example, I've used the word fuck countless times in this post and just do not care.  At all.  A friend asked me to do something the other day and I said no.  I didn't give a lengthy, swirly dissertation on why I was declining.  I just said no.  And I've become obsessed with sensible shoes.  I just put all of my monogrammed Bonannos and Jacks in the thrift store pile because I'm not about to spend a lifetime trying to sell my monogram on eBay and I just cannot wear those back destroying things anymore.  {Confession: I'm keeping two pairs because old habits die hard.}  

I've found a bit of freedom in my forties that I could only dream about in my thirties and I am just going with it.  I do wonder though...what I might have done...or not done...over the last many years if I had known that 40 wasn't a death sentence.  

If you are on the cusp of a big number and dreading it because you haven't checked off the boxes that everyone else around you checked off, please know that first and foremost, I get it, sister!  I know that fear and heartbreak and feeling that you are not just late to the party, but wholly uninvited.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You feel alone, but you aren't.  And second, your birthday isn't a death sentence.  It's just a day.  That might be hard.  But let me tell you a secret.  Lean in.  The joy that comes from wearing cute but sensible shoes and drinking more water than wine and doing daily yoga and saying fuck as much as you please isn't something to be scoffed at.  It's not a family.  But it is a bit of an exhale that you didn't allow yourself for all of your 30's.  

Next up on my personal agenda is to channel the body positivity and adorableness of The 12ish Style. Do you follow her on Instagram?  She's amazing and I want to channel a bit of her in a bathing suit this summer.  I've already told District that I will be joining her at her country club pool {40 year olds just invite themselves to things} this summer.  I've also ordered a bunch of new sundresses.  Something I used to wear six out of seven days during the summer but rarely wear now because I no longer fit into things.  But I'm tired of not fitting in.  So I ordered bigger sizes.  And that's that.  {40 year olds stop hoping to squeeze back into old frocks and just order new things that will be comfortable and cute in their bigger and better size.}

I found 40 and it's not at all the scary, dark place of my wild imagination.  So far, 40 feels fun and freeing and fabulous as fuck!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Band's Visit, Brunch, Beach, Birthday, and My Best B's

Two weeks ago I headed back down to NYC to have a pre birthday weekend with two of my favorites, Hamilton and Eliza.  And those little cherubs once again managed to make every moment into a sweet memory!

While we all know how trains work and no one needs a play by play of me sitting in a seat, I will take a moment to point out that about one minute before my train pulled out of the station here in Albany, I got up to move my coat.  The conductor announced that it was a sold out train and we would need every seat.  I was being courteous to move my coat next to my bag in the overhead storage to save space.  And as I slid my coat to the side, my right index finger {just my most used body part) caught what I think was a metal seam.  I immediately knew I'd cut myself but it wasn't until a moment later when I pulled my hand down that I could see the flap of skin hanging off and the blood start to run.  

And run and run and run.

Ever prepared for mini emergencies, I found the tissues and band aid from my purse.  But I bled through three tissues.  And when I put the band aid on thinking the pressure would stop the blood...all I did was bleed through it.  

And I was in a LOT of pain.  

I managed to get the train's first aid kid, which like the train, was brand new.  Ask me how easy peasy it was to open plastic from every single box and then open boxes and then open band aids and y'all...I had blood running down my hand at this point.  

And I was in a LOT of pain.

I got new bandages on and stashed away extras because I knew I'd need to change them over the several hour ride.  I also asked Eliza to please bring me some Neosporin {which FYI is not included in train kits} and a new band aid.  {About an hour in, the bleeding stopped.  It hurt like hell...seriously one of the most painful things I've experienced...but no longer running.  Also I promise I guzzled water on the train.  And side note...the train was not sold out and no one ever sat next to me so the whole moving the coat business was pointless.}

We all met at Eliza's office, where she got me cleaned up, stashed my bag away, and off we went for drinks, snacks, and Broadway.  

The next time you are in New York City, don't waste time trying to get tickets to whatever you think is the hot.  Go see The Band's Visit.  Because when it's up for Tony Awards in June, you are going to want to be in the know!

It's nothing short of brilliant!

I laughed out loud a lot.  And cried.  And grinned ear to ear.  All the best possible emotions.  The Band's Visit is different and unexpected and absolutely beautiful!

Drinks and dinner at Bar Central and back to their bubble for bed.  

Saturday morning was lazy and lovely.  Coffee and bagels {my favorite food ever} with lox.  Quick showers and off we were on another train to the Island of Long.  My first visit to Long Island in more than 20 years to see Hamilton and Eliza's beautiful new beach pad in Long Beach.  The whole weekend was drippy and foggy but it was also warm and made for a perfect winter walk along the boardwalk.  I can't wait to see the landscape and town when it's colorful and chirping this summer.  While we were only there for a short visit, the town gave me familiar vibes.  Parts of it definitely reminded me of old Fort Lauderdale {North on A1A where the homes are a block or two from the beach}.  You know how excited I get when I can connect the imaginary dots in my mind!  I'm so happy to see my sweet friends so relaxed in their new home!

A late breakfast meant skipping lunch and three very hungry piggies who may or may not have ordered dinner 15 minutes before they would even open the kitchen.  Which lead to ordering all the things and eating all the things and enjoying all the things but definitely regretting it when we were rolling out the door before normal people even think about dinner.

The rest of the night included drinks with friends, Olympics, and baking the best Bourbon Pecan Pie I've ever had in my life!  {And we all know I've eaten a lot of pie in my lifetime}.  It was a complete collaboration between the three of us and the sweetest ending to the most relaxing day.

Eliza spoiled me once again with breakfast on Sunday with her famous Eliza Eggs {I don't think she calls them that...but I do...because she's the first person to ever make me fried eggs so for now and all of time I will always attribute them to her.} and bacon.  And eventually we were off for a bit of adventuring.  To see the amazing Ashley Longshore exhibit in Bergdorfs.  

I'm a big fan of pop art.  And just bright, cheerful, colorful art from living artists in general.  But to see her giant pieces in person was such a thrill.  Even if it meant feeling like hooker Julia in Pretty Woman as we maneuvered through snooty snobby, out of my league Bergdorfs.  

A casual walk turned romp in torrential downpour later, we were back in the bubble, drying off, squeezing in last laughs, and then I was off to the train once again.

Those weekends seem to take forever to get here and then fly by in a blink of an eye.  I never take enough photos or remember all of the things I want to discuss in person.  But I do my best to savor the sweet moments.

It's not lost on me how lucky I am to have friends who will give me their entire precious weekend.  And instead of doing some far cooler city girl activity, will bake a pie and watch the Olympics.  I'm a very lucky little squirrel.

Hamilton, Eliza, and the City made me feel so loved!  They are the most special people with the biggest hearts!

Here's to my 40th birthday!  And to the friends who love me!  And to more adventures in my new decade!

Your favorite 40-something!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My Very Last Day As a 30-Something

I've dreaded this week for most of the past decade.  It feels like things are just ending.  And I'm not ready for it.

But I can't stop time.  

Today is my very last day as a 30-something.  39 years and 364 days old.  

Tomorrow I start a new decade.  One where I have to figure out some new dreams while, if I am being really raw and honest, I also figure out how to mourn my old dreams dying.

I'm not ready to let go of the dream to have a family.  But time doesn't seem to be interested in my wants.  

I'm trying not to pick apart how I got to the eve of my 40th birthday without figuring life out.  I wish I knew exactly where I went wrong.  But I also know that it does me no favors to lean into those thoughts.  Marinating in self-deprecation is a toxic behavior on my end.

I have to move forward.  I have to just take the next step and work on some new dreams.  Which is so much harder to put into action.  

So I am determined to figure out some things in this new year.  Come hell or high water, I want my post at age 40 years and 364 days to feel more hopeful and sure of things ahead.  

I want the woman who writes that post to feel like she made a lot of self progress and has solid ideas of where she wants her life to head.  I want her to stop comparing herself to people who aren't even in her life and to let go of the fact that she will never get closure on certain issues.  I also want her to have fully embraced the fact that she really needs to wear more supportive footwear.  Her beloved flip flops and Jacks are fine for bit but she can't walk all day in them.  Her back and shins require more support.

It's a lot to ask for a year. But I'm putting it out there anyway.  Life feels like it's slipping away and I really want to grab it back.  While wearing less cute but decidedly better for me sandals!

Here's to turning 40 tomorrow and learning to let go!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Changing Things Up and Starting Fresh

New year, new garden plans.  On January 03, I officially started gardening.  Though, all I did was stick two sweet potatoes that I grew last year in jars of water.  It takes ages to get them to root and start growing slips, especially with our lack of sunlight.  I won't start anything else, or turn on the grow lights, until the beginning of March.  But it felt positive to see my first gardening task getting checked off the list.  I'm so ready to play in the sun and soil again!

Now for a bit of housekeeping.  

I have had a YouTube channel called Preppy Crocodile for years but I've never really done much with it.  I still haven't figured out how to use it as writing is really much more of my happy place.  But I decided that if I do use it more regularly, it will be in tandem with this blog.  So it will be more personal.  {If you don't yet follow me there, please do!}

I love doing DIY and cooking and craft projects.  I also love watching them on YouTube.  I feel like it's often a better platform for how-to tutorials than a blog.  So I started a second channel and anticipate this being the channel I use very regularly.  I don't yet want to commit to a set schedule but if you like DIY tutorials, I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you'd pop over here and subscribe.  I've already posted two new DIY project tutorials that are super fun and easy.

Speaking of tutorials...  Let's talk about Instagram.  Specifically Insta Stories.  I flipping love Insta Stories!  I post there frequently.  I often do step by step recipes in stories.  And when they added the feature to save your stories on your profile page, I began saving the recipe stories there.  So if you want a recipe for my favorite Turkey Black Bean Soup or last night's Spinach Mushroom Quiche, pop over to my Instagram profile to see the saved stories.  

And finally, to really round out this all over the place post, I marched again last weekend.  Last year I took up marching and this year I vow to do more than march and make phone calls.  But participating in the second annual Women's March was a good start.  

I march here in Albany, because it's convenient and I also firmly believe that all politics are local.  I had the most amazing day because it was sunny, extremely positive, encouraging, and my dad came!  The turnouts were expected to be much lower this year but that just wasn't the case.  Thousands showed up!  Humans of all ages and genders and beliefs, and their dogs, as far as the eye could see.  I never regret marching and participating!

As was the case with the first Women's March, one of my signs went a bit viral.  {Not me personally...just the sign.}  Last year, my snowflake sign got picked by the AP and still today I see my hand and head and sign all over the Internet in articles about the March.  This year, my Voldemort/Hermione sign seems to have been a favorite because it's been popping up a bunch too.  Which endlessly amuses me!  I mean, the back of my head and glove covered hand are like, totes famous, y'all!  {giggles}

Oh I more thing...

Have you listened to the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman yet?  I saw the film on Christmas night and have been jamming to the soundtrack ever since then.  It's so great and positive.  If you are into musicals and upbeat music, I just can't recommend it enough.  

So how are you?  Did you march this past weekend?  Did you click over yet to subscribe to my new YouTube channel? a girl a favor!  I'll be forever grateful!



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