Be All You Can Be?

 

 

I’m selling my paddleboard.

It’s a beaut! A tricolor bonanza of bright white, fuchsia and teal – so exuberantly bright it almost hurts to look at it. Sort of like staring directly into the sun. Side-eye is recommended.

I bought it a couple years back in a fit of girl power, I had been taking classes to help strengthen my core and using the spiffy “surf-set” boards. I was riding a bigly wave of empowerment and internally seeing myself in a soft focus vision typically of those seen in ads for snazzy surfwear. Oy. The last time I was actually fit enough to stand on a paddleboard long enough to stay dry and enjoy the ride, “cores” didn’t exist beyond nuke plants and apples. I work at my core now that I know it exists, I do Pilates, yoga, I’ll start tennis lessons soon and I hear all that running (and the possible subsequent dry heaving from heatstroke) will also strengthen my core! Yea me. But, while my core holds up my skeleton pretty admirably, it has it’s limitations. Surgeries, scoliosis, decades of cheffing – my core is doing the best it can with the tools it has to work with. There are limits to what I can get my core to do.

I’ll be 50 soon, that seems so crazy to contemplate! I mean, as a cancer survivor, I’m happy to reach the mid-century mark, but – 50. Wow. I thought I’d be MUCH more together at this point, you know? I would have at least learned how to french braid my hair! (that was a big deal when I was in High School, french braided hair with a Gunny Sak dress was the holy grail for girls who wrote poetry) I would know all the state capitals, speak a foreign language fluently (I got close while living in Germany, that almost counts!) I’d be able to start a freaking revolution if I wanted to!

Nope.

My hair gets curlier and wilder with each passing year, crowds freak me out so no revolution and apparently glottis stops are the only fun function my vocal cords can manage, so German will remain the only foreign language I can speak. For those who don’t know – German is not one of the romance languages. I asked my friends on Facebook what they did when they turned 50, did they take up mountain climbing, start a charity, change careers….? Some said they started traveling to the places they’d always wanted to explore, but mostly it seems everyone is still trying to figure everything out in the same ways they always have. Apparently less than 1% of us ever got the hang of algebra, but loads more became loud, proud, self-proclaimed “grammar nazis” and find deep fulfillment in pointing out incorrect usage of “they’re, their, there”. (It IS annoying, what are schools teaching these whippersnappers?!) The only women I know personally who are leading a revolution or changing careers entirely at this age are, quite frankly, independently wealthy. Cushioned enough to pull the plug on their old life and go full Oprah! That’s not me, though I DO enjoy the stories from those who do those things, it’s inspiring! But, like my dreams of paddleboarding every day and wearing a kickass bikini while I did so, I realize that while I can do a LOT, it’s NOT true that I can do anything I put my mind to. That’s not to say I’m going to stop trying new things, taking chances, seeking adventures. I think I’ll just try to be less disappointed in myself when I discover that my goals won’t always become a reality. That it’s ok to fail or fall short. Participation doesn’t deserve a trophy (it doesn’t) but it definitely counts big time!

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