Yesterday I turned 43. I had a good day. I felt really loved and pretty calm, and genuinely happy. This is saying a lot coming from a woman who has a history laden with birthday anguish leading to bizarre behaviors ranging from crying in the bathroom from disappointment over a gift of leggings in my teens to hiding in a closet from anxiety over opening gifts (in my twenties). Yesterday, for maybe the first time in my LIFE, I received gifts with ease and without judgment. I'm not sure why. I have some ideas---I'm older. I'm a mother. I've mellowed out?
I practiced yoga yesterday, my last day of being 42. And it was good. The heat was raging and I was fresh off of a plane from New Orleans, so badly needed the detox. The class served me well. I embraced it because I really needed it. But today was a different kind of good. A great good. A good like I rarely get. Every once in a while, there is a mental connection for me that makes me feel like I'm Pema Chodron meets Michael Phelps. Basically, I love and accept myself and I kick my own ass. I talk about it sometimes when I teach. It's a voice that encourages you to work harder, give more, go deeper. The unique part of it is that the voice is welcome. There's a physical desire to respond to the voice, and while the body works harder, the postures feel almost easy. Getting there is challenging, often elusive, and for many of us, unpredictable.
When I have a practice like that, I can barely remember what it feels like to not want to practice (which of course happens all the time). It's like the beginning of a love affair. It's perfect and electric and easy. So why is this the exception rather than the norm? I doubt I could experience what I had today every time I practice, but I think I could have it more. I've been so dreading my advancing age. 43. That's pretty solidly middle-age. Wahhhh. But, maybe the older, wiser, mellower middle age is where I need to be. Drama free birthdays? Hallelujah yoga classes? Heck yeah. I'll take it.