Today, October 5th, is my 45th Birthday, and as I often do, I’m sharing reflections of my past year.
I woke up this morning, the morning of my 45th birthday, with a terrible RA flare up. Every inch of my body ached. In addition, I’ve been playing tennis almost every night for the past couple of months and for the past few weeks have had a horrible case of tennis elbow. Seriously – I can’t even squeeze toothpaste or turn the keys in my ignition without searing pain. Getting older is a lesson in patience and acceptance, isn’t it? (Happy birthday to me – I ordered a tennis elbow brace last night at 10pm that will be delivered for free today by Amazon. What a time to be alive!)
This past year of my life has been a challenging one. Really great in a lot of ways, really not so great in others. As someone who has stayed home with my kids for the past 17 years, owning my own business for 13 of those, I came to a crossroads last year at this time when I realized how terribly unfulfilled I felt. I was living “the dream”, but wasn’t satisfied. I felt restless, useless and just down right depressed. Over the past year I’ve questioned my purpose, was honestly concerned about my sanity, and have been on a roller coaster of emotions.
Working from home is awesome, but working from home for yourself when all of your kids have gone back to school can be isolating. It definitely has its perks, but it gets terribly lonely. There are no water cooler talks, a lot of lunches alone, and basically a lot of one sided conversations. As much as I LOVE Meg and Slim Shady, neither of them are very good at conversation, to be honest. Online conversations and friendships can only take you so far (not to say my online friendships aren’t important. I value these relationships so very much).
In December I started Orangetheory Fitness Lenexa. Game changer #1. I haven’t been able to go the past couple of months because of my schedule, and then now because of my arm injury and I miss it. Putting effort into bettering your physical self is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. I highly recommend it. I’m not skinny – I never will be – but I feel physically stronger and mentally tougher than I have in a long time. I’m also playing tennis regularly now – which is my happy. I hadn’t picked up a racquet since college and I’m so annoyed about that. It feels so good to be out on the courts again!
In July I started therapy, which also included a low dose of meds for ADD (she called it peri-menopausal ADD – which is one of the most under-diagnosed issues in people my age – ask me about it so you don’t have to suffer) and depression. Game changer #2. I’ve subtly seen a change in the amount of motivation I have, my outlook and desire to get things done. What was once an overwhelming task for me to focus on, is now something I can tackle like I could when I was in my 20’s & 30’s and was on the top of my game. I’m not running around cleaning my house from top to bottom, or changing the world, but I’m once again able to focus in a way that is “normal”. It feels so good to be able to say that!
In August I started a new “real” job completely unrelated to blogging. Thank you to my friend Kelly for believing in me, recognizing I still have something to offer, and bringing me back into the fold. It feels incredible to feel valued for my brain and talents again – something that I lacked owning my own business. Because of my new job, I’ve been even more motivated to focus on my own business, which is an unexpected turn of events. It’s funny how changing my blog and freelance focus to a no pressure, fun thing has completely changed my attitude about blogging. I’m able to stay in my own lane and do it my way now, which is so freeing.
So I wrote all this to let you all know – because I know that so many of you are struggling right now – the light will shine, things will get better, and a wonderful life is just waiting for you right around the corner. I’m so thankful for the chance to get out of bed every day. There are a lot of triggers out there, especially in this politically enraged climate, but we WILL make it. Life is good. We are, as they say, hashtag blessed.
Thank you all for your friendship, especially to my husband for putting up with me this past year. It’s been a weird one and I’m glad you have stuck with me.
Love you all and thanks for the birthday wishes! Ending my novel now.
Love – Kristen
PS – If you’ve made it this far – my “stop isolating myself” goal for 45 is to meet someone for coffee once a week. Hit me up so we can meet up – even if it’s a virtual skype coffee, I’d love to catch up!