Show Up for Myself: January review and February preview

In January I wanted to show up for myself.  I don't think I realized the idea of turning 40 had begun to leave a bad taste in my mouth.  Even though I realize that 40 is not old at all, it definitely moves you out of the young club.  So, in an effort to be more purposeful about myself, I spent some time evaluating what makes me "me" and also thinking about who I want to be (and how to get there).

Here are some of the things I've worked on this month in an effort to Show Up for myself:

1.  Ease back into running.  Exercise saved my life 5 years ago--and I don't say that lightly.  I look back at pictures of myself and remember being overweight post-baby, depressed, and not a fan of my body.  I'm not saying that I'm a fan of my body now, but I'm thankful for the work it's able to do.

I sorta hate running and I sorta love running.

Running is relatively free (shoes, running clothes, and race fees if you're inclined), but a pretty easy and portable workout.  You can do it anywhere and on your own schedule.  We are busy people and finding time for me is difficult unless I make it a priority.  Luckily, my husband is really supportive and also started running to support me in my efforts.  Occasionally, I get the elusive "runner's high"--but I still have to work to make myself get out there and get it done.  

I take my headphones, but I have found that I prefer running in silence--taking in the world, listening to my body, praying and sorting out my thoughts.  I'm highly motivated by achievements, so I've signed up for a race and have others on the calendar to keep me accountable to myself.  

2.  Basic skin care. I am the worst when it comes to taking off makeup each night.  I find that I am so tired and rarely go through all the routine to take my face off and wake up with impressive raccoon eyes each morning.  But my skin is not getting any younger, and if I'm not careful I'm going to regret not taking care of it--so I've been getting back into the routine of washing and toning my face, using a night cream, undereye repair, and hand lotion at all times for this dry winter air.  

3.  Diet.   I have never met a french fry that I disliked.  Salt is my spirit animal.  Sour is my friend.  I love all the things in this world that will clog my arteries and add to my waistline.  However, I want to be able to wear all of my clothes, and after the holidays I was feeling a little bloated and gross.  I have gotten back into the routine of taking salads or healthy lunches for school, and drinking mostly water.  I have learned to like water over the years.  We've cooked more this month, and I've been better about watching what goes into my meals I'm preparing at the house.  We still eat out a few times a week--especially on weekends.  

4.  Listening to my thoughts.  My mind tends to run faster than my legs.  I have a constant mental to-do list, anxiety, and responsibilities.  They fly through my brain all the time telling me to pay attention and remember.  When I have time to stop and listen, I often feel like I'm forgetting to do something.  But, the truth is, I don't even listen to what my brain is saying because I'm so busy trying to sort through what I'm doing at the moment.  But freqently what I need to do is not the current task I'm working on--there are more important things like paying attention to the people in my house, taking care of my wellness, and letting some small things go. 

5.  Remembering what I like about myself.   It is really easy to beat yourself up or to put others' needs before your own.  However, I am a person with basic needs and likes and it's important to accept your quirks and likes.  I love to write, take photos, sing/listen to music (not just the classroom variety), and live in a clean and tidy house--but I've gotten really busy and have stepped away from doing those things on the regular because I don't feel like I have time to devote to them.  It makes me miserable when I don't have time to do the things I enjoy, and I do not function well in a cluttered environment.  My husband gave me a new lens for my camera for Christmas, I'm making more of an effort to write here and in my journal, I'm still having a hard time keeping up with the house and laundry, and I'm trying to remember that music for pleasure is just as important as vocational listening.   

Final thoughts on Showing Up for Myself:  This month has been good for examining what makes me tick.  The last few months I've been wrestling with some defeating thoughts and issues.  I've had more failures than successes and it's been extremely hard on my ego.

I think what makes turning 40 difficult (at least for me) is how one starts to question his/her worth in the world.  I understand the midlife crisis.  No longer am I the cute, youngest person on the team or at work.  Age is not on my side in regards to metabolism, skin, and energy.  I've found myself questioning if I was current or important enough, or if there was a point in which I needed to step aside to allow others' room.  

I've spent my whole life being told that my value comes from Christ--which is 100% truth.  But, in this time of immediate validation from social media, sometimes that can fall a little flat to my sinful heart.  I want to be seen.  I want to be heard.  I want to save the day.  I want to be important.  I, I, I, me, me, me.  To be told that my worth is found in Him and not about me at all is counterculture to everything this world tells us every day.  It's painfully true that it's something I have to wrestle with all the time.  In my efforts to show up for myself, I must be careful to ensure that I'm not putting my needs above everyone else.  

It's a delicate balance.

And it's what I'm going to focus on in February. . .         

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