Saturday, February 17, 2018

I'm 47 For A Moment

by Monica Bobbitt

Today is my 47th Birthday. Forty-freaking-seven. Holy crow.

In three years I will hit that milestone age of 50. If I am lucky.

Yes, if I am lucky.

For a lot of years, especially in my early forties, I was ambivalent about my age. It wasn't that I was particularly stressed about aging, it was just that I was meh about it.

When I look back on those years, I can see I was meh about a lot of things. I couldn't see it so clearly then though. The funny thing is Dan could, though we never really talked about it.

That's why he wrote inside my forty-third birthday card,
"43 is better than the alternative."

Three months later he died, at 43. And I hit rock bottom.

It was the lowest point of my life-- physically and emotionally.

I was a 43-year-old unemployed widowed mother of three teenage children. I had no idea how I was going to support my children, where we were going to live, what I was going to do with my life.

The weight of those uncertainties almost crushed me.

But as I lay there in the darkness, under the pile of the broken pieces of my life, I realized that no one was going to save me. No one could rescue me or fix my life. Except me.

I needed to get up and be my own hero.

And so I did. I got up and I rebuilt my life, piece by painstaking piece.

And as I did, I realized just how much of my life had passed me by. I missed out on so many days because I was too busy stressing about life to make the most of it.

Loss teaches you the true value of time. And changes your perspective. It teaches you what's really important, and what's not. All of those things that are seemingly so important, the ones that cause us so much stress, they really aren't.

So much of my life I spent longing for the elusive "if only."

If only I were better at this or that.
If only I was taller and thinner.
If only my hair was straight so I could have one of those cute haircuts like everyone else.
If only. If only. If only.

The last four years have given me the wisdom to know that none of those things would have made me happier (well, except maybe being taller).

Last year as I was having my hair done for a function, the gal doing it straightened it first. It was the first time my hair had ever been that straight. I looked at the woman in the mirror, and I didn't even recognize her. She wasn't me. Turns out these crazy curls are part of who I am; they are part of what makes me me.

So here I am at 47. Happy being me, just the way I am. Crazy curls and all.

I'm emotionally and physically healthier, and fitter than I have ever been in my life.

Because I decided I was worth the effort (and I am so worth it).

And because I did the necessary hard work. No one else did it for me.

And a crazy thing happened along the way, I realized that not only did exercise help me become mentally and physically stronger, I actually enjoy the physical challenge that comes with it. Who knew? Certainly not me all of those years I spent thinking I could never do it.

I will never be any taller (but I can buy awesome heels). My crazy curls will always be crazy and now they are a little more grey (well, maybe a lot more grey). And I have more wrinkles than I did four years ago, and you know what? I'm okay with that. I think a few wrinkles are to be expected at my age, especially after what I've been through.

I've come a hell of a long way in the last four years.

Farther than I ever thought possible.

I am so damn proud of the woman I have become.

I have a fantastic new speaking and writing career, and I get to study a subject I love.

I've been able to reach out and support others who are struggling. Knowing I've made the difference in someone else's life makes all the difference in mine.

I have three amazing children who never lost faith in me, even when there were times I lost faith in myself.

I have a good life. Because I've built it. It's not perfect; because nothing ever is, and it's not without difficulties and challenges, but it's good nonetheless.

For a long time, I felt that I had to qualify my happiness. As if it was somehow wrong for me to be happy again.

But not anymore. I will no longer justify my happiness to anyone. Because I don't have to. And I shouldn't have to.

I deserve to be as happy as I possibly can be.

I've paid a steep price for my happiness; the true cost of which is impossible for anyone else but me to ever fully comprehend.

At 47, I truly know how very fortunate I am to be 47. It is a privilege that is denied to far too many.

Each day really is a gift. Yes, even those not so good ones.

I am so very grateful for this year. And I intend to make the most out of every single day of it.

Hello 47. I am so alright with you. 

"There's never a wish better than this when you've only got one hundred years to live." ~John Ondrasik 

Click here to read I'm 45 For A Moment 

To learn more about grief, resiliency, and life after loss, follow Monica Bobbitt on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agoatrodeo/
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