A couple of years ago, I heard a renowned wellness expert tell Oprah that she conceals her age from others, not because of personal shame around aging but because others will “put you in a box” based on that number. She hid the number due to other people’s shame and society’s generally ageist expectations.
So I gave her method a go, keeping my age as private as possible for a stint. The only difference I noticed was “August Mclaughlin age” rising up as a top Google search hit for my name. (Hello, folks who found this that way!) I’ve since realized that rather than dodge the age-box others might put me in, I would prefer to challenge it.
So, everyone? I’m almost forty! And that feels pretty rad to say.
While I aim not to base anyone’s worth on age, I do value the growth and wisdom that come along with increasing years and the mighty gift of existence. I love having friends who are far younger and significantly older than me, all of whom I learn from. I love feeling stronger in my sense of self as time passes. And I love that the learning and growing never stops, even when I long to bypass the growing pains.
As much of a “numbers schmumbers” person I generally am, forty does feel significant. There’s something about the start of a new decade, especially this one perhaps, that feels symbolic and refreshing. I’m a brand newbie in a whole new block of years. It feels like yet another Chapter One.
If you’d like to celebrate with me, here are some suggestions based on goals I value increasingly with time:
Do something kind for the planet. I love it so and worry about it often.
Do something kind for yourself. From there, so much more is possible.
Have the difficult conversation, the one that’s gnawing at your heart. I can almost promise you, it’ll be worth it.
Listen more, with the aim of understanding. Do so especially when it feels difficult. (Deep breaths, thoughtful questions and practice help.)
Take a ginormous step toward a dream. “Baby steps” count, too, and can feel just as hefty.
Learn (or learn more) about intersectional feminism and ways to practice it. It helps absolutely everyone, especially those who struggle unjustly most.
Stand up for someone who has less agency than you, not for credit or praise but because it’s the kind and loving thing to do.
When you fall into comparing yourself to others, aim instead to be true to yourself. There’s little more powerful than authenticity when you’re stuck in “why don’t I have as many accolades/followers,” etc. as so-and-so.
Allow yourself to feel, rather than bully, your feelings. During the toughest times, the only way up is through.
Lastly, seek whatever support you need. If you’re not sure how or where to go, ask someone who might.
A bit of fun news:
This feels like a good time to officially share some fun book news you may have missed if you don’t listen to Girl Boner Radio. My second Girl Boner book, Girl Boner Journal, will release this coming spring! It’s a companion and standalone workbook, filled with stories, prompts and inspiration. I couldn’t be more stoked to launch it into the world, thanks to Amberjack Publishing. To check it out or pre-order a copy, click here.
Thanks ever so much for being a part of my journey. Wishing you and yours all the light you deserve this holiday season.