I remember her. That girl who dreamed big. The one who had a million hopes wrapped up tight in her pocket just waiting for reality to snatch them.
At sixteen, happily ever after was all she really wanted. She didn’t lie on her bed imagining to one day be thin and tight bodied. She didn’t dream of smooth skin and an exercise regimen to put Jane Fonda to shame. She never thought, “Just wait, I’m going to look killer in my forties.” She only dreamed of true love, children, the hope of a life filled with friends, joy, and happiness. (She may have also wanted to be a famous singer, but we won’t go there…) She wanted to experience her world as if she belonged there. Because, let’s face it, sixteen doesn’t always make a girl feel welcome.
When did it happen? When did her dreams become the hope of a smaller jean size and the willpower to resist all things cheese and chocolate? Since when are dreams bland and sugarless?
As a teenager, she had it right. She dreamed of a future filled with what life is supposed to be. She memorized the words to every eighties love song and declared it would one day be her right to claim victory. After all, Pat Benatar clearly said, “Love is a battlefield.” One day she would feel complete and content in her skin.
Now, granted, she never expected the skin to expand and loosen a bit. The poor thing didn’t see it coming. And do you know why? I’ll tell you why: it wasn’t important to her. She knew if it happened she could throw on a pair of cute leg warmers and move to the beat. And she has. Only with a modern twist. Jane Fonda is out and insanity with Shaun T is in. Also, in this world we’ve fast forwarded to, no one really cares how cute you look when exercising. The point is to sweat until you almost die and then you’ll live longer and look better. It truly is insanity. And it’s crazy amazing. (For those who actually do it) But that’s a whole other story…
So, here’s the thing: In order to reevaluate the future, you need to reflect on the past. I’ve been doing just that, and I’ve been working to pinpoint the meaningful things in life that I want, but don’t have, so that I can figure out how to attain them. And guess what? I cannot think of one.
I’m in love with a man I’m married to. I have three beautiful children. The battle to have those kids was the hardest I’ve ever fought, but It made me stronger and proved I’m a fighter. I have amazing friends that make me laugh until this forty-something bladder waves the white flag of surrender. And, though this skin is a little saggy and my jean size a little larger, I feel like I belong here. The forties welcomed me with open arms in a way that sixteen never did. I’m comfortable here.
So as you’re working to attain New Year’s resolutions and reach for everything you think you want, first, take a look at what you already have. Remember who you used to be when you were a tender, sweet sixteen, and compare it to your reality. I’m willing to bet that many of those hopes you tucked safely inside your pocket have, indeed, been snatched away by reality. If the glass is half empty, maybe it’s because you’ve been quenching your thirst and you’re finally filled to overflowing.
Sometimes, we only need to change our perspective in order to reach our goals.
Happy New Year!