Why Not Just Moderate my Drinking?

No Alcohol

Image found via Pinterest.

I have a confession.

I lied in my last post.

I lied when I said this:

I am still not sure that never drinking again is even my goal.

It is my goal. I don’t want to drink anymore.

So, why abstain forever instead of moderate and allow myself to drink occasionally?

Well, for me, that just doesn’t work. I’ve tried. Many, many times.

I set myself drinking rules or guidelines:

  • only drink on weekends
  • only after 5:00
  • no more than two glasses of wine in one night…okay maybe three
  • only drink when I am out but not at home or only drink at home but don’t order over-priced drinks when I am out

It starts off fine. I abide my my rules. I even measure the amount of wine to match a serving which is 5 measly ounces.

But then it starts to shift. See, I’m fine I tell myself. I can drink what I want when I want. I’m a grown-ass woman and drinking is one of the perks of being an adult. It’s my off-switch. What’s wrong with that? Everybody drinks.

Soon, I am back to my old habits of drinking during the week, drinking at restaurants, drinking to take the edge off a crappy day, drinking to take the edge off a crappy world, drinking to celebrate, drinking to commiserate. Drinking, drinking, drinking.

Here’s the thing for me. If I am asking myself the question: Should I moderate my drinking? I m already pretty far down that slippery slope. If I am asking the question, the answer is definitely yes.

It takes so much energy to moderate. I have to think about it so much. Should I drink tonight? How much? Do I choose a restaurant that offers alcohol or not? Should I have another glass? Am I drinking enough water in between so I don’t wake up feeling hungover?

The headspace moderation takes up is tremendous and I’d much rather use all of that energy to just quit all together.

I had a writing teacher who talked about having a “yes writing day” or a “no writing day.” Choose one or the other and own it. Be okay with it. He said that those maybe days will kill you.

It’s true. It’s why I now write everyday. It’s no longer a decision that has to be made.

Same with drinking. If everyday is a no drinking day then I no longer have to waste my precious energy deciding whether to drink or not.

The decision has already been made.

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Booze-Free…for Now.

wine

Image found via Pinterest.

I have been extremely  hesitant to share any of this publicly. I kept telling myself to wait. Wait until I had more days under my belt. Wait until I had a handle on it. Wait until I had it figured out.

But here’s the thing. Whether I have 44 booze-free days stacked up (which I currently do) or 440 or 4400, it doesn’t mean I have a handle on it or that I have it figured out or that I will never drink again.

I am still not sure that never drinking again is even my goal.

All that I am sure of is that I what I need right now is to rethink my drinking.

My relationship to drinking has always been something I’ve never quite been comfortable with. I had my first real drink when I was thirteen with my cousins. We stole cans of Budweiser and I hated the taste but forced myself to drink it by taking big bites of a ham and cheese sandwich on Wonder Bread to help wash it down.Why? Why at 13 was it so important for me to finish that awful beer? I wanted to fit it.

In high school I drank to fit in and to be less anxious. I became a way more fun version of myself instead of the usual studious, honor society version of myself.

In college, the trend continued. Drinking was fun. Drinking made me feel more confident. More comfortable in my skin. It made it easier to approach guys and their attention was something I craved.

I actually didn’t drink much while my children were young. I jokingly now say that that was a blessing because I probably would’ve turned into an alcoholic if I had  turned to wine every time I was stressed. But it probably isn’t a joke.

For the last couple of years, I haven’t had a drink on New Year’s Eve because I don’t want to tarnish the beautiful blank slate ahead of me by being hung over on the first day of the new year.

I’ve participated in Dry January the last 2 years.

I stopped drinking for over 50 days earlier this year (after a particularly terrible hangover) but then had some wine the day my best friend had open heart surgery, telling myself that if there ever  time the I “deserved”a glass, it was then.

We drank a bit on our trip to Europe but not as much as I would’ve expected.

This latest foray into not drinking didn’t start because of a hangover. In fact, we had friends over in June and were drinking Moscow Mules and I was tipsy but not drunk. I wasn’t even hungover the next day. So why did I decide to try sobriety again? I think it was because I thought I should’ve been more drunk than I was. And that disturbed me. Was I trying to get drunk? Was that my sole purpose in drinking? And how much more would I have to drink to get to that feeling I was apparently chasing?

These are questions that I still don’t have answers to.

I still don’t know how long this will last.

I do know that I managed to not drink over 4th of July, on my birthday, at the art fair, at Girls’ Night Out and on our anniversary. Every time I am able to show up fully without the blurry haze of alcohol distorting my experience, the better I feel.

What I know for sure (right now anyway) is that as a yoga teacher, yogi and human being I want to be the most authentic version of myself. Looking back to the that very first drink, I can see that my intention in drinking is to be other than who I am, to feel something other than what I feel. That is not being authentic.

Sharing this before I know where it will end up or how it will end up is me being real.

I am booze-free, for now.

(I will continue to share my journey here as it and I evolve. This is not a judgment at all on those who do drink. This is an exploration into why I drink and if it really enhances my life or diminishes it. I plan to share the ups and downs, resources I have been drawn to that I have found helpful and what I am learning about myself along the way.)

The Heart of the World.

heart of the world

Image found via Pinterest.

I read to slip into other worlds. To escape the world I am living in. While writing is solitary and it isolates me, it doesn’t allow me to escape the world. I don’t escape my life. If anything, writing slams me smack into my life. It slips into the crevices ands corners, hiding in the shadows that I’ve overlooked, taking me deeper into what I think, feel, believe at any given moment. 

Meditation, yoga and writing all allow me to slip deeper into myself, rather than away from myself. In each practice, I meet myself exactly where I am. I sit on my meditation cushion, set a timer and just observe my thoughts, observe my breath. Some days it is easier than others but it is never easy. I step on my mat and meet my body where it is that day. Rather than just moving through the poses, I try to drop deeper, connecting with my breath and my mind. Writing brings all of these together. It’s a practice I’ve been showing up for for over 30 years when I first picked up “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg. I began filling notebooks with timed writings, not expecting them to lead me to a destination such as a story or a published book, for once just being content on the journey.

Once my girls were in school and Pre-K, I used my precious alone time to go to the Starbucks around the corner from the school to write. I didn’t call myself a writer. I just wrote. Sitting there with my soy chai latte and pumpkin scone I picked up a pen, opened my notebook and let the words spill out of me. Being a stay-at-home mom, I had a lot of pent up words.

I began to use writing as a way of untangling the knot of thoughts in my head. Stories that were guiding my actions—and reactions—but that were rarely based in reality. Once I found yoga, I learned that those stories have a word: samskara. Things that happened in the past that we don’t process and they get stuck in the body as energy. 

No matter what I write—fiction, memoir, personal essays or a blog post—there is no hiding from the world, from myself. Everything I write reveals my obsessions, reveals a piece of me that I may have been avoiding or was completely unaware of. Natalie Goldberg says, “Wild Mind isn’t just your mind; it’s the whole world moving through you.”

Reading allows me to go into other worlds; writing takes me straight into the messy, pulsing heart of the world.

Books Read in July.

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“This Naked Mind- Control Alcohol- Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change your Life” by Annie Grace

3:33 a.m. I wake up at the same time every night.

Continuing my exploration of my relationship with alcohol, I came across this book and it was eye-opening. Sharing her own story as well as thorough research into the industry of alcohol and the effects it has on society as a whole, Grace offers a new perspective into the role we allow alcohol to play in our lives. 

Her intention is to lay the facts out there, to help us see how the unconscious mind is what keeps us stuck in the cycle of drinking and show us a path out. 

A sentence that resonated deeply as soon as I read it:

Alcohol erases a bit of you every time you drink.

“Remedies” a novel by Kate Ledger

Simon Bear knew he probably shouldn’t have hired the young nurse with the bouncy ponytail, a slender woman whose clavicle bones protruded like bicycle handlebars at the base of her throat.

I love when I can peruse my own personal library and select a book that has been lingering on my shelves for years!

Told in alternating chapters from Simon and Emily’s POV, we get an intimate look into a marriage headed for trouble. Simon is a physician who specializes in pain management and is willing to do whatever his patients need to help them find relief. Emily is a public relations expert who is struggling to connect with their 13-year-old daughter. A tragedy from their past has taken up residence between them, a new breakthrough sends Simon off on a new quest and Emily is left trying to figure out what it is that she wants.

This is a gripping sage of a family is crisis. A story of the many kinds of pain we endure as humans navigating our lives and the relationships with those closest to us.

A sentence I love:

What kind of pain had she been enduring? Something dull and tight and forced, imprinted under the skin like a watermark, and yet there were times when she’d convinced herself she had everything in order and she’d managed not to feel it at all.

“The She Book” by Tanya Markul

Once a silent star in the sky, lost, alone, and unnoticed, she began to dream her life awake.

I literally just sat down and devoured this entire book, underlining words, phrases, entire passages that spoke to me. Making notes in the margins of the page and the margins of my soul. I found myself unearthing prompts from her writing, to take me deeper into own writing. Right after finishing it, I started writing using the free 30-day class she is offering if you buy the book in July + August. That led me to then write a post for my blog and a promise to write one each day this week, leading up to my birthday.

Her words are both soothing and stirring. 

They cool me and light a fire with in.

They make me write YES!!! on the page. Me, too!!

They inspire me to go deeper into my own life, my own heart, my own darkness to discover my own truth, my own sparkles.

A sentence I love:

Because my self-limiting beliefs are a mere pile of tinder, shame the spark, and fear the oxygen it takes to burnt all to ashes. 

“The Lightest Object in the Universe”  a novel by Kimi Eisele

Thirteen days into the second month of the year, the light began to go out.

One of my favorite bookstores, mentioned this book in their social media and since I have a bit of an obsession with dystopian/apocalyptic fiction, I had to get it. Especially since it was reviewed as a hopeful end-of-the-world as we know it scenario. And I don’t know about you, but I can use all the hopeful scenarios I can get.

What might happen after a global economic collapse and the power grid goes down? Sounds like the recipe for chaos. And perhaps there is some of that. But this novel dives deeper into the experience of being human in the face of that chaos. Beatrix is from the West coast and Carson is from the East. Though apart, they still hold each other’s heart but  without communication or travel options, how or will they even be able to find other? Carson sets out on a journey while Beatrix learns to work with the people who remain in what is left of her community.

This story is not just a love story between two people, it reads like a love story to humanity, of what we are capable of in the face of the unimaginable.

2 sentences I love: 

In all the reflective surfaces, you could practically see the desire there between them, like a third person, large and billowy.

The  sky was a pure gray but for a single cloud in the shape of a whale, large enough to swallow everything—the field, the house, June’s sickness, his sorrow.

“Severance”  novel by Ling Ma

After the End came the Beginning.

This book was mentioned in the same recommendation as the previous book. So, keeping with the end-of-the-world theme I picked this one up, too.

Quoting from the back cover: “A satirical spin on the end times—kind of like “The Office” meets “The Leftovers.” This is the perfect description of this novel. 

Candace, working in a company that produces Bibles, continues to cling to her work routine after her parents’ death. She is so entrenched in her structure that she barely notices as the world begins to fall apart around as a plague sweeps through NYC followed by Shen Fever. As people around her succumb to the fever, Candace agrees to stay on at the request of her boss who offers her a huge bonus at the end of her work period. Soon, there is no work left to do. Candace begins roaming the city, photographing the eerie remains as the anonymous NY ghost Blogger.

Eventually,  a survivalist group led by Bob, encourages her to join them as they make their way to what is only known as “The Facility.” Bob promises that the Facility will be a place of renewal, a place to reimagine and reinvent society. But Candace is leery. She is not sure if she trusts Bob or anyone else.

It’s a story that is both moving and quirky about how we respond when everything familiar is lost.

A line that scared me because if feels prescient:

The End begins before you are even aware of it. It passes as ordinary.

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Son, Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body.

In a deeply moving and profound letter to his son, Coates offers all of us an examination into the story of inhabiting a black body in this world. How his body no longer belongs to him, how everything choice he makes, every  interaction he has is informed by this essential fact. 

He explores the history of our country, the falsehood of “race” and how it exploited and continues to exploit the black body. 

Because it is addressed to his son, I could feel how he holds both exquisite love for and fear for his own blood. He shares with his son his experience of being a black body in this society, while knowing that his son has his own journey to make.

Toni Morrison says of this book, “This is required reading.”

I couldn’t agree more.

A passage I marked: 

The point of this language of “intention” and “personal responsibility” is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. “Good intention” is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.

And another:

This need to be always on guard was an unmeasured expenditure of energy, the slow siphoning of the essence. It contributed to the fast breakdown of our bodies.

And one more: (the mother of a murdered black man tells this to Coates’ own son)

“You exist. You matter. You have value. You have every right to wear your hoodie, to play your music as loud as you want. You have every right to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.”

“More Than Enough- Claiming Space for Who You Are (No matter What They Say)” by Elaine Welterworth

Growing up, Oprah was my favorite imaginary auntie.

First of all, I want to thank Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach for posting about this book on Instagram. I went out and bought it that day. Though I had watched “Teen Vogue” begin to morph into this powerful political, social and cultural voice, I didn’t know the story behind it. Or the woman behind it. Know I do and I am forever grateful.

Elaine Weltherworth is a powerful force. Her voice, her vision, her story, her example have created huge waves of change in the fashion and magazine industry. She has changed the trajectory for so many young women by showing them what is possible. She explores the roots of her own struggle with not-enoughness—something that so many of us can relate to. We see her determination to pursue her dreams even when she isn’t sure what the dream exactly is or if it is too big for her. We see her step out into the abyss time and time again, learning  to trust her inner guidance, trust that not only is she enough but that she is MORE than enough.

No matter what decade of life you are in, this book, her story will resonate and inspire.

So many gems to share! Here are just a few:

When women affirm women, it unlocks our power. It gives us permission to shine brighter.

But as I saw it, we were all in it together, in an ongoing process of waking up to how we could be better journalists, better allies, and better citizens in a world in turmoil.

Our lives are a series of dreams realized.

Owning my Dream.

I REALLY REALLY WANT

My jaw has been clenched a lot lately.

Usually I write it off as stress. But in my Poses, Pens + Inner Peace class last night, I wrote this:

I wonder what I’m trying to hold back by clamping my  mouth shut.

Wow! Such a tiny yet huge shift in perspective. So, today in my Morning Pages I explored that question. I was stunned by what I discovered:

What else? I don’t say how badly I want to be published. I focus on how much I love the process and even if I never published another word I would still write. And that is true. But this is also true:

I REALLY REALLY REALLY WANT TO HAVE MY BOOKS PUBLISHED.

There I said it. I declared it. I owned it. It’s scary because now I can fail by not getting published. It was safer the other way, just dipping my toe into publishing here and there but focusing more on the process. I could hang out in that limbo forever. 

But that is not what I want.

And I am uncomfortable with wants. I’ve usually focused more on needs. Wants felt self-indulgent. Frivolous. Dangerous. Because then not getting what I want feels like a failure. Feels like I am a failure.

No wonder I’ve stayed away from wanting this, from declaring I want this.

But no longer. I want this and I am willing to work my ass off to make it happen.

What dream have you been afraid to own? What goal have you kept your enthusiasm tepid about in case it revealed how badly you truly want it to happen? Share it in the comments.

Want it badly enough to declare it to the Universe.

Onward!

 

 

So-called Food Rules.

Obsessing over food

Image found via Pinterest.

I just made a list of all the so-called food rules I have absorbed over the years and, let me just say, I was stunned. I had no idea how much garbage has been implanted in my brain, garbage that has defined how I see myself, how I nourish myself and most importantly, how I deprive and shame myself.

  1. Weight loss/maintenance depends on 80% food and 20% exercise
  2. You can’t out exercise a bad diet
  3. Eat healthy food 80% of the time, “cheat” the other 20%
  4. Sugar is evil. It feeds cancer cells. It’s as addictive as cocaine.
  5. Carbs are bad
  6. Fat is bad
  7. Avoid white foods: rice, bread, potatoes, flour
  8. Gluten is an inflammatory
  9. Dairy causes mucous
  10. Don’t eat after 7 PM
  11. Fast for 12-18 every day
  12. Break your fast with a smoothie or green juice
  13. Eat only fruits one a day week
  14. The less ingredients, the healthier the food
  15. Track every morsel you put in your mouth
  16. A moment on the lips, forever on the hips
  17. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
  18. Use a small plate
  19. Leave 20% on your plate
  20. Dont’ serve family style as it encourages second helpings
  21. Don’t go back for seconds
  22. Don’t eat off your child’s plate cuz a bite here and a bite there adds up
  23. Sip water or tea while cooking so you don’t taste as you go cuz those tastes add up
  24. Brush your teeth as soon as you are done eating so you won’t want to eat more
  25. Don’t go to all you can eat buffets
  26. Eat before going to a party so you don’t eat the party food
  27. Fill up on soup (clear broth of course) before a meal
  28. Eat salad after a meal to aid digestion
  29. Measure all foods and liquids
  30. Eat at the table without the distraction of reading or TV

I could probably come up with 30 more but this is enough for now. Seriously, it is enough forever.

What a waste of precious brain space and energy these rules are. They suck the fun out of something that should bring me joy: feeding and nourishing this body of mine.

It’s hard to let them go but I am trying. Just writing them out, getting them out of the dark recesses of my subconscious and into the light of day is helpful. I can’t change what I don’t see.

By doing this, I am clearing out space for my dreams, for my sanity, for my Self.

Onward!

(This exercise is from “The F*ck it Diet” by Caroline Dooner, an absolute game-changer.)

Shhhh…

Shhh

Image found via Pinterest.

Should and shame go hand in hand.

I should be thinner or weigh this number or fit into this size but I don’t so I feel shame.

I should have a book published by now but I don’t so I feel shame.

I should meditate more and when I don’t I feel shame.

I should drink less or not at all and when I do  I feel shame.

On and on and on.

All of these “should” create a constant cascade of shame within me. Brené Brown describes the difference between shame and guilt like this: Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is “I am bad.” Guilt is “I did something bad.”

I almost always focus on me rather than the behavior.

It’s not a coincidence that should and shame both begin with the “sh” sound. Both are used as way to quiet our authentic selves. To shut up the parts of us who want to stand out, that don’t conform to expectations.

Shhh…don’t make waves. Just follow society’s expectations of women being thin and smiling and nice.

Shhh…don’t you dare accept your body at the size that it is. Not when there are so many diets plans and books and pills out there to “help” you be thin.

Shhh…don’t ever think you are enough just as you are because then an entire industry build on selling you products to “improve” your body, your home, your life will be irrelevant.

It’s interesting and not surprising that the new wave of congresswomen are being shushed all over the place for speaking their truths that don’t conform with politics as usual. They are being shushed on-line and with threats.

Women are shushed all the time by being told they are bossy instead of leaders. That they should smile more because it’s obviously our job in life to make every single person around us comfortable and if we aren’t smiling then they are uncomfortable and we can’t have that.

Women are shushed when we are paid less than men for the same work.

So, how do we begin to escape the cycle of shoulding all over ourselves and the shame that follows?

I’m not exactly sure. I am still working on this myself.

I know it has to do with starting to accept myself as I am right now because if I can’t then nobody will.

It has to do with using my voice even when it shakes. In fact, espcially then.

It has to do with staying in my body, in the moment rather than getting my mind and emotions tied up in knots over how I think I should look or be.

It has to do with redefining and rethinking who and how I want to be in the world instead of letting others decide that for me.

As with everything, it’s a process. So, it also involves immense compassion and tenderness and awareness of when I slip back into old patterns of thought and behavior that are so deeply entrenched in my body and psyche.

Onward! (Liz Gilbert uses this to end some many of her posts and I feel it is so fitting for my life right now, so I am using it, too. Thanks, Liz!)

 

Onward!

happy Birthday to Me!

Image found via Pinterest.

I don’t know what this coming years holds and I am learning to get comfortable with that.

I don’t know if I will drink alcohol or not. I don’t know if I will make peace with drinking or not drinking or not.

I don’t know if I will finally say “Fuck it” to all the diets and food rules and truly mean it or if I will still be stuck on this crazy rollercoaster of restricting and judging and trying to find peace instead of actually finding it.

I don’t know if I will find an agent or be published or land that writing residency.

What I do know is that I will keep showing up to all of those areas and all the nooks and crannies of my life.

I do know that I will let myself down, feel ashamed and guilty when I do and then I will find the compassion to pick myself back up and continue onward.

I do know that writing every day has become so intricately woven into who I am that I will continue to write under all circumstances—a lesson from Natalie Goldberg that I have finally absorbed deep into my bones.

I do know that showing up is non-negotiable.

Showing up to my relationships.

Showing up to my writing.

Showing up to my creativity.

Showing up to my body.

Showing up to my yoga practice, and teaching practice and students.

Showing up up my meditation practice.

Showing up to my Self.

I do know that not knowing and continuing on is part of this human experience.

So, I may not know what this 55th cycle around the sun has in store but I do know that I plan to dive deep into the juicy, messy, perfectly imperfect, beautifully rich and complicated heart of this life I am so grateful to be living.

Onward!

Birthday Reflection #7: F*ck It.

Birthday Reflection 7Warning: Shit-ton of profanity ahead.

I am 96 pages into this book by Caroline Dooner that arrived in the mail yesterday and I can tell that it is a game-fucking-changer.

The gist of it is that diets don’t work. They just don’t. Sure, our bodies can be tricked into losing weight for a while but our bodies are brilliant and all they want is to survive. When we diet and restrict food our body thinks we are experiencing a famine. Which we are. So, they go into survival mode. Which means slowing down our metabolism and storing fat.

As I read, I was flooded with memories of all the ways I having been fucking enmeshed in a battle with my body, food and body image for decades. Fucking decades.

Here are some in no particular order:

  1. Dancing to the Locomotion in a friend’s basement with boys and my friend yells at me in exasperation to stop stomping around like an elephant.
  2. Staying at a friend’s house I saw that they poured more cereal into their bowls after they finished so they could finish the milk. I thought that was genius. When I tried it at home, I was told I didn’t need to eat more cereal.
  3. I was 12 or younger when I wrote in my diary a confession about eating a Hostess Apple Pie and some Oreos.
  4. As a cheerleader in high school I heard some guy in the bleachers call me Thunder Thighs.
  5. I’m always afraid and ashamed of being weighed at the doctor’s office.
  6. I believe that gaining weight is a weakness and losing it is a strength.
  7. I judge every body I encounter. Mine, family, friends, strangers.
  8. I have so many food rules that I’ve attempted to follow over the years: eat “healthy” 80 percent of the time, “cheat” the other 20 percent; don’t eat past 7  at night; try not to eat for a full 12 hours, 16 is even better; limit bread and other starches; don’t eat processed food; the less ingredients the better and on and on and on.
  9. Holding my 10-week old baby a stranger the airport asked me when I am due.
  10. People feel free to comment on my weight loss but never weight gain. It’s crazy when you think about it. When we do that we are basically saying: “Congrats on taking up less space in the world!
  11. The first thing I do in the morning is stand in front of the mirror, lift up my shirt, turn sideways to see how flat or bloated my belly is. And that sets the tone for the day.
  12. I’ve tried the South Beach diet, calorie counting, hormone diets, sugar-free diets, intuitive eating, mindful eating

My most recent foray into weight loss has been using Spark People again to track my food. And it works. I hate doing it, but it works. In 3 weeks I lost 7 pounds. I did it by starving myself. My calories intake was between 1200-1500. I stayed within that range and usually at the lower end. But then I also exercised but didn’t track the calories burned. So, say I ate 1300 calories one day, burned 400 on the elliptical at the gym which means I ate 900 calories that day. Nine. Hundred. That’s insane. Especially when you read about the “The Minnesota Starvation Experiment” in Dooner’s book. Whcih you should. Every person, especially every woman, needs to read this book.

Her formula of eating what you want, when you want, as much as you want scares the crap out of me. But I am SO fucking exhausted from hauling around this baggage about my weight and body. I remember entering my 30’s, then 40’s then 50’s determined that I would finally be done with this obsession, this constant battle I wage against myself.

Well, I turn 54 tomorrow and I am apparently still deep in the battle. But with this book I see the possibility of freedom at on the other side. Before I went to bed last night, I took Spark People off my phone. Before I went to bed last night I ate a bowl of granola with blueberries and almond milk which freaked me out. But I was hungry so I ate. Novel idea. But it broke my rule of not eating past 7. And I didn’t measure anything. I just ate what I wanted, when I wanted in a quantity I wanted. Again, what a novel idea.

This morning I did not gauge the size and shape of belly. I ate what I wanted without measuring anything and I feel full.

I feel satiated.

I feel my body softening into gratitude for finally beginning to listen to her.

(I think I may have what Brené Brown calls a vulnerability hangover but I am going to press publish anyway. My motto as I turn 54 is: “Fuck it, I am who I am.”)

Birthday Reflection #6: Second Act.

Birthday #6

I firmly believe this.

This perspective changes everything.

It’s no longer “it’s all downhill from here.” That’s bullshit.

This is a second act. I have more freedom now. Freedom from hands-on parenting, from caring so much what others think of me, from my own incessant self-crticism. Why squander that freedom?

I am stronger now than I was in my twenties.

I am more confident.I am getting more and more comfortable in why own skin.

I started yoga in my forties and became a yoga teacher in my late forties.

Although I have been a writer for over 30 years, I believe I will be published in my fifties.

I’ve gathered an amazing tribe of women who offer fun and support and encouragement.

My marriage (thankfully) has continued to evolve as we have evolved individually.

So, how does your life change if you imagine this is the beginning rather than the end?