Yes, it is true. Today is my birthday and I am turning 40… woot woot! I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t believe she is going to be 40. Her skin is flawless. She is freakishly smart, witty, fashionable, flat-out adorable, courageous and her hair always looks like she just walked out of a salon.” But it’s true. Some people hid their age, but I like to think of it as my 40th anniversary. So what are some of the things that love about getting older?
1. I’ve made it through 40 years and I am still alive!
-Colon Cancer and Parkinson’s disease ain’t got nothing on me. Life keeps handing me lemons, but I choose to make lemon sorbet… dude that sounds delicious!
2. I know that I’m not in competition with anyone.
-Sometimes it can be easy to compare yourself to others. Facebook pages showing all the delightful moments your friends are having. Romantic comedies portraying what being in love should look like. Feeling like your life would be perfect if you just had that house with the white picket fence, 2.5 kids and a Labrador retriever. But now I’ve come to realize… everyone has their own crap they’re dealing with and I don’t have to be anywhere in my life other than where I am right now.
3. My hair looks a-mazing.
-Regardless of the challenges, pain, fear and utter chaos my life has been, one thing that has been a constant is my hair. Not saying I don’t have bad hair days, or that I didn’t get sucked into the 90’s bang craze…. no judgment. But overall regardless of the color, my hair has been fabulous!
4. I’ve learned to be my own advocate.
-I used to be afraid to ask for something I needed or wanted. But that flew quickly out the window when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. If I don’t understand something I educated myself on it. If I’m not satisfied with a claim denied by my insurance company…. you better believe I’m calling them. I’m not afraid to say no to something that I know I’m not physically or mentally capable of doing. This lead me right into number five….
5. I don’t feel guilty setting boundaries.
-I used to try to please everyone… typical female. But now, I’m not afraid to say, “I have plans, but thank you for thinking of me. No, I don’t care for Indian food, but I will take a rain check for dinner another night. Sorry, but I don’t drink alcohol, but I will get wasted on Shirley Temple. I’ve had a difficult day with my Parkinson’s, so I can’t promise that I will make it to your party tonight, but I will defiantly try.”
6. I allow people to help.
-I will ask for help when in need. I have gotten over feeling like I’ve got to be Ms. Independent. I’m no Beyoncé and I’m not throwing my hands in the air… well maybe if I am dyskinetic. But now that I have elegantly aged, I know that it takes a Wolfpack to keep mentally and physically healthy. I am not afraid to ask and accept help when I am feeling challenged.
7. I have eliminated toxic people in my life.
-When I was younger I used to strive to have a ton of friends. Every year, I would want the huge birthday parties where everyone was invited. The more the merrier. Just like my 13th birthday party, which was held at the community pool. Oh yes, I rented out the whole pool… that’s how I rolled. The mountain of gifts weren’t my target… that was just the sweet icing on the cake. I believed that having a huge amount of people at my party would equal the amount of those who cared about me. But now I understand it’s not the quantity of the relationships in my life, it’s the quality. I have learned to eliminate those in my life who don’t bring me happiness, even if that means losing people I love.
8. I don’t waste my time on worrying about things I can’t change.
-I have Parkinson’s disease. I will not healthy long life. I will deteriorate and will lose the ability to care for myself. But I am not going to waste space in my head worrying about the decline of my health. I will cross that bridge with style and sass when that time comes.
9. I don’t feel awkward about my frozen yogurt obsession.
-Yes, I do eat a lot of fro yo. Yes, I am addicted. Yes, I do make it a goal to find frozen yogurt in all the places I travel from Amsterdam to Portland and everywhere in between. And yes, I do rotate locations of frozen yogurt shops just so the staff behind the counter doesn’t realize just how much of the yummy treat I consume.
10. I’m hopeful for the future.
-I truly believe in my lifetime there will be a cure for Parkinson’s disease. We’re getting so close. I see all the medical advances that have been made since I was diagnosed the just seven years ago and I feel optimistic. I will continue to be a proud member of the Parkie community and I will do everything in my power to fight against the impact of Parkinson’s. I’m aware of the difficulty the future will bring, but I’m hopeful with help from my wolfpack, my personal strength and determination I will handle the next 40 years of my life with a smile… and of course incredible hair.