I will be turning forty-six this coming week. On the average day, I remind myself that we should always be celebrating the journey through this life.

I do that most of the time, and to be honest, I still feel thirty-six, until I happen to walk by a mirror and catch the glint of silver in my hair. I used to be afraid of getting older, but to be honest, the last year has reminded me that there is an uncelebrated beauty in aging. Don’t get me wrong. I know it can feel challenging when we are bombarded by the belief that you must be young and thin. We are surrounded by a culture that seems to worship unattainable airbrushed perfection.

Your world doesn’t have to be that way. It can be a lush life, if you allow it. The truth, darling, is that these are the years that we can dive deeper into who we are meant to be. It begins with awareness and acceptance.

One of the keys I’ve discovered to stepping more deeply into that awareness is to look upon my birthday as an opportunity to catalog the lessons I’ve learned the previous year. Going into this whole aging thing with knowing that we can all choose to be ever evolving creature that has the opportunity to learn and grow. If you’ve been around for long, it’s something I’ve shared here on my coaching blog since it began in 2011.

So let me share a confession: I honestly believed that I had been going through the most radical transformation I could ever experience ever between 2010 and 2012 (my 2011 and 2012 posts). In fact, I was kind of smug and settled into this beautiful life I loved (which is where my 45th birthday post came from).

Boy, was I wrong. 

After a year of settling into who I had grown into as a woman, this past fall I found myself right back in the beginning stages of my next evolution. I’ll admit that a part of me was angry, because, damn it, change is hard work. It was frustrating me, because I was suddenly thrust back into another stage (or season). I was also scared, because I love my life. At the same time, there were also big doses of excitement, because every fiber of my being is telling me that this would be even bigger.

So, there’s no denying that the journey from forty-five to forty-six has been a transformational one. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Sometimes, you have to relearn an old lesson. Often, it isn’t the exact same thing, but simply another level of that lesson. Sometimes, it’s the exact same lesson because you didn’t quite take it to heart.
  2. No matter your age, it’s time to accept yourself for who you are now. It doesn’t mean that you are settling for less than you deserve or agreeing to be less than you are. You are simply choosing to stop arguing with your current reality.
  3. Acceptance doesn’t mean letting yourself go. You have one body and one mind, so treat them accordingly. This means fueling your body with good foods, getting adequate sleep, and moving your body.
  4. Don’t buy into the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Baby, you are never too old to learn, grow, and create change.
  5. If you want your life to be different from what it is, you must begin by deciding that you are ready for your reality to be different. Only then, darling, can you begin to create a plan.
  6. If you want that change, you need to be willing to do the work. Thinking about it doesn’t make it happen. That means you need to take action. Know that it may take sweat and tears.
  7. Kindness and Grace go a very long way. The first person who needs to be offered these things is yourself. When you are kind to yourself and extend yourself grace, then, darling, you are better able to offer it to others.
  8. When you come across someone who is angry or mean, extend them more kindness. I’ve come to understand that when someone lashes out or blames others, their inner dialogue must be incredibly unkind.
  9. Speaking of that inner dialogue…the way to quiet that inner critic of yours is to extend her love and compassion. Your inner critic was born out of a desire to keep you safe and she is simply that frightened child who first believed that in order to be loved, she needed to be someone she wasn’t. Tell her it’s going to be ok. Because, baby? It is.
  10. You are born worthy of being loved and accepted for exactly who you are.
  11. As a human being, you are whole and complete as you are now. That means, my darling, that you you don’t need anyone to complete you.
  12. Though you don’t need anyone to complete you, your intimate relationships are part of your spiritual path.
  13. Our significant others are our partners, not our adversaries in this life. Each person is entitled to privacy, but keeping secrets means we’re not on the same team.
  14. Speaking of our partners are in our lives to assist us as we heal our childhood wounds. They are meant to bear witness as we age and grow into our best selves. We’re meant to do the same for them.
  15. It’s ok to be happy. In fact, you deserve to be happy. This isn’t about becoming lost in the pursuit of happiness. It’s simply a reminder that you don’t need to feel guilty for being happy (or successful).
  16. Speaking of success let me tell you something, darling: there is more than enough love to go around. Someone else’s success, financial situation, love life, health or happiness isn’t robbing you of your opportunity to experience these things. This includes you. If you are experiencing these things, it doesn’t mean that you are keeping someone else from being happy, successful, healthy, etc. Too often we feel guilty for being successful.
  17. Busy doesn’t equal worthy. Darling, it’s time to ditch busy as a badge of honor.
  18. There is a special beauty in stillness and silence. You need both of these things in your life. This means meditation, prayer, and simply sitting and doing nothing.
  19. Become besotted with the art of living.
  20. Allow yourself to experience your own darkness so that you can see the light. If we are unable to stand in the shadows with those, then we are blocked from experience the ecstasy of the light. That means feeling everything, sweet cheeks.
  21. When you experience a trigger of any sort, understand that it doesn’t appear in your life to harm you, but to heal you. We heal in stages, darling.
  22. When you experience something painful, don’t just dismiss it. Yes, I know that you have a lot to be grateful for. Yes, I know that others have had more harrowing experiences or an unhappier childhood. But just like your happiness doesn’t rob another of happiness, your pain is valid.
  23. It’s time to step away from the shame of ordinary desire. There seems to be a belief that you have to be bigger or better in order to be happy. You are meant to be a star in your own life, but that doesn’t mean you have to be famous or rich or thin in order to be worthy. It’s ok to desire a simple life and to find pleasure in the beauty of the ordinary events of living.
  24. You deserve to be devoted to your daily life. My new mantra for the journey to forty seven is that I will be like a Monk in my Devotion to myself.
  25. You get to be unapologetic about the choices you make and how you choose to live your life. Seriously, you don’t need to apologize for anything.
  26. You also don’t have to explain yourself. Nope. You don’t have to explain your decisions or choices. This doesn’t mean you behave like a two year old and do what you want without consideration for anyone else in your life.
  27. If you want to love your life, then, darling, you need to take responsibility for creating it.
  28. Sometimes, you must surrender to what is. This isn’t giving up. It’s letting go of attachment to the outcome and trusting in God. It’s about having faith.

These are just some of the lessons I’ve learned in the last year. While, for me, they represent the journey from forty-five to forty-six, they can apply to women of any age. I’d love to hear from you. What lessons have you learned in your journeys?

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