This is the year I turn forty. I haven’t blogged about it because it seems cliche to worry about turning “the big 4-0″. And truly, I’m not the kind of woman who worries much about aging. At least, I never was until very, very recently.
This is the year my body started to betray me in little, rebellious ways. Those metal fillings I suffered through when I was a girl? Turns out they ALL need replacing this year. My wrist aches when it rains and it can’t bear the weight of my workouts very well. I’m up a dress size. There was a skin cancer thing. Little by little, my body seems to be telling me forty is here.
The best thing I did this year to combat feeling fragile was to participate in Rosie Molinary’s VisionSPARK class in January. I went hoping to unclog a writer’s block that kept me treading literary water. Yet, even though I tried to convince the women sitting around Rosie’s workshop table that really my only goal for the year was to get my damn book written, they seemed to know otherwise. ”Maybe it’s bigger than that” someone gently offered and the others nodded rapidly, imploring me with their wide eyes to see what they could. Could this be about more than writer’s block, I wondered?
It didn’t take long to realize that at the root of my writer’s block was my old frenemy fear. At VisionSPARK, you choose a word to live by, sort of a theme for your year ahead. I had never been intentional about an entire year of living so choosing a single word was weighty, but once I hit upon the right word it felt both obvious and prescriptive.
I decided my word for the year would be EMBRACE. I am, in many ways, a woman who lives closely with fear. I have a great and terrible imagination. But for the year of 2012, I decided to not let that be me. My fear is like a bully, trying to keep me from living the life other people get to enjoy. This year, when fear poked its fat finger in my chest, I decided to push my bully down to the ground, step over it, and go have some fun.
Here are some of the things I embraced in 2012 that I would have politely passed on in 2011:
• Riding a series of zip lines high in the Puerto Rican forest
• Jet skiing in the ocean (while alternately laughing and shouting profanities into my poor child’s ear the entire time)
• Receiving critical feedback on my book proposal, making substantial edits, and resubmitting
• Going rock climbing and white water rafting
• Riding a roller coaster – an old wooden roller coaster – through the pouring rain
• Training for my first ever 5k (coming up in November)
• Eating raw fish
My year without fear has been one the best years of my life. For this reason, I am starting a tradition of beginning each year with a new word. Will you join me? If you live outside of the area, I hope you’ll spend some time thinking of what your obstacles were this past year and choosing a word to represent 2013 for you. But if you live near Charlotte, I hope you’ll actually join me at a special 2013 VisionSPARK event. Rosie has enthusiastically agreed to conduct a VisionSPARK class just for friends of Michelle in the Middle. This means you! You can read about my day at VisionSPARK here to see what the morning entails. I hope you’ll take some time to set your year with intention, meet other amazing women, and let me meet you. I really love getting to meet you all in person! Here are the details:
What? Michelle in the Middle @ VisionSPARK
Where? Triple Play Farm, Davidson NC
When? Friday, January 4th 9:30 – 12:30 (go ahead and take that day off work)
Who? Led by the extraordinary Rosie Molinary, attended by the friendliest, coolest women you could hope to meet
Why? You deserve it
How much? $40
How? Click here to reserve your spot!
Michelle Icard is our resident middle school expert. Please visit her website: www.MichelleintheMiddle.com and like her on facebook: www.facebook.com/middleschoolrelief