06 December 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I realise that I’ve been MIA for a while. When I started this blog, I really wanted it to be purposeful and not just the ramblings of my inner thoughts at any given time. I mean, do you really care what I had for breakfast today or what my commute was like? Something much more exciting than bagels and traffic happened recently. I turned 40.

I can’t say that I completely dreaded turning 40.  I think because I am not married with kids like many of my friends of the same age, I kind of feel like I’m still in my 20’s - but with a better budget.   Anyway, I had been reflecting a lot about how I got to where I am right now and I’d like to share with you what I learned.  So here it is:

What has 2 thumbs and loves cake? THIS GIRL!
Niffer’s First Forty Years of Insight 

I spent a good chunk of my life trying to repress a lot of my personality - things that make me who I am. I’m a high–energy person who is very sensitive, too. As a child I was told to calm down. When I got older, I was told to be quiet, stop talking so loud, don’t take things so personally. Suck it up. I was told that people were laughing at me, not with me. Because this was coming from people I loved, I believed them. I tried my best to be quieter, calmer, more even keeled. But all I accomplished was ending up hating myself and being uncomfortable in my own skin.

In my mid 30’s I found myself more or less on my own with time to think about a lot of things. I also had no one to tell me how to behave. After a lot of time brooding and healing, I started to get a very interesting feeling. I started to feel like “me”. It was a very comfortable place. I started having fun again and I channeled my energy into things that made this feeling grow – running, cooking good, delicious food, spending time getting to know new people and making new friends.

Being 40 also means embracing
your style with no fear.
And you know what happened? I discovered that there are people who love me for who I am. They tell me that they love my energy and spirit and they like being around me. This shocked me. How could these people care so much for me? Many of them haven’t known me for very long. How can they find good in the same things that I’d been berated for by people close to me? 
Don’t get me wrong, feeling loved for who you are is a great feeling, but I was genuinely confused. At first I assumed that they really didn’t know me and once they did get to know Full-On Niffer, they’d back off. But they didn’t. Then I assumed that they were being kind to my face and annoyed behind my back. But they weren’t.  These people actually love me. The real me. The loud, crazy, jagermeister-loving, dirty-joke telling me.

It feels amazing.

A little gift to myself - Tiffany style
 So today, I’m going to stop doubting and questioning and analyzing why people love me and accept it and embrace it. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned in my life is to love yourself. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s really true.  Embrace your own quirks and characteristics. Be genuine. Be who you are with no pretenses and people will love you.  They may not be the people you expected to love you, but they will love the true you and you’ll never spend another moment trying to be someone you’re not. It’s a very wonderful place to be. Trust me.
If you haven’t hit 40 yet, I hope it helps inspire you and if you’ve already surpassed the Big Four-Oh, I’d love for you to add your own pieces of wisdom and knowledge.

PS - I was lucky enough to spend my birthday weekend with many of these treasured friends. Shopping, drinking, eating, laughing. Best birthday ever.