family life

Shrugging off shoulds {a birthday post}

Birthdays get me feeling even more introspective than usual and I’ve been thinking about shoulds. I’m sometimes told I don’t look my age, or I don’t look like I could be a grandma — but who says what 46 or “grandmotherly” should look like? Or act like, or dress like?

Life is too short for the nonsense of “shoulds” and I’ve been working for years now to break free of that burden. As a people-pleasing conflict-avoider, it hasn’t come easily.

I want to speak my mind (with kindness), live authentically, and be my quirky self — and I want everyone around me to feel the freedom to do the same.

Here’s a thought: how ’bout we all spend less energy worrying what everybody else thinks about us, and give ourselves a little pinch when we find ourselves concerned about what other folks do.

You do you. I’ll be me.

Here’s how that’s looking for me right now:

I’m going to get better at my new hobby of stand-up paddleboarding. And I’ll keep on rocking a bikini. Maybe even when I’m 70, if that’s the style that makes me smile then.

For years I considered getting my nose pierced but I worried about being judged. Once I got over that, I worried it would be silly because I’m no longer twenty-something. But a couple of weeks ago, I did it anyway.

I’m going to keep on sharing no-makeup, post-workout sweaty selfies like this one on my instagram. But if I get gussied up one day and I’m feeling FINE, you can bet I’ll share that too. Because they’re both the real me.

I won’t hide the silver hairs that keep multiplying because I’ve earned every. doggone. strand. {Hello, kids.} But when it’s finally mostly silver, I might dye it purple just because I can.

I’ll keep doing this mom gig til all the kids are out of the house; that’ll be nearly another decade. I may or may not continue homeschooling past this year.

I’ll relish the years ahead as J-Ma to my grandkids, and do my darndest to love on them and make fun memories. In another couple of years we’ll start our annual Grandkid Camp and they’ll go home each summer with stories to tell their friends about their silly grandma who bakes them cookies, takes them kayaking, and teaches them to love baby sea turtles and the ocean.

{And then I’ll sleep for 3 days and hermit up for a few more to let my introverted highly-sensitive heart and mind recover from all that fun.}

I’ll stay as fit and strong as possible because I enjoy it, and so I have the energy for all these things — and I’ll keep on helping others do the same.

Hello, 46. I think I like you.

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