Here’s what I think about getting older: I like it.
I like it for a million reasons, but the main thing, and the thing I want to talk about right now, is this: the more time I spend in my skin, the more comfortable I am in it.
That might sound ridiculous to you. If so, you’re probably one of those lucky few who have always felt pretty much okay, not out of place or awkward or as though you did not fit. (I know a couple of your kind, but only one or two.)
I am not a member of that tribe.
I am the kind of person who wishes that I could travel back in time and comfort my younger self. And also, maybe, kick her ass a little bit. I’d like to go to ten years ago me and tell her that she should stick up for herself, not let anyone run over her, that having an open and loving heart does not mean letting someone walk all over your heart.
I’d like to go back to twenty years ago me and tell her that she is beautiful. That she is and always will be enough, just the way she is, that she is braver than she knows and stronger than she thinks.
I didn’t know those things then. I didn’t know that the thing that was the most wrong with me was the amount of time that I spent worrying about the things that were “wrong” with me and ignoring the things that were right with me.
I can’t go back in time. None of us can. But what I’m realizing I can do – and should do, in fact need to do – is keep reaching out to other people. Pinky swearing with an 8 year old, promising him that he is awesome, and worthy, and a good kid? That’s pretty amazing. It’s good for him and good for you. Telling people who are struggling that they are worth it? That they are strong, fabulous, wonderful, that you are happier because they are here? That you struggled and survived so they can, too?
That’s the point.
And that’s the beauty of time, stretched out over birthdays. The looking back. The seeing who you are and who you’ve been, and using all of that to help the people around you – and yourself, as well – become who they will be.
Best birthday gift ever.