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Happy Birthday to Me.

Brandee at 44

It’s been two weeks since my birthday.  I haven’t had a moment to sit still to contemplate the day, as I have in years past.  Recently, Dave and I sat talking about birthdays, our parents and how we see ourselves as we grow older.  We had our children young, and are looking forward to the time in the near future when we can begin a new chapter and enjoy some of the things that we didn’t do when we were first married.  We want to travel, work on our home and spend time on our various hobbies.

I am fortunate, in that my parents are extremely young-minded.  They are beautiful and active…they don’t “act their age.”  My grandparents were the same way.  They are my examples.  Currently, my dad is sailing up (down?) the Potomac River with our kids.  He took them to Washington D.C. for the week, on a grand adventure.  My mother just bought a new bike, and is working on decorations to take with her to provide for a friend’s baby shower in Indiana later this month.

As documented here, I recently started training with a roller derby team.  The typical reaction, when I tell people about it is to tilt their head to one side and say, “Roller derby?  You?  Really?”  Most don’t know that I do have a competitive side, as they only know the part of me that sits at a desk all day.  To counter that, I needed something to get me up and moving.  After seeing my first bout last summer, I was hooked.  Women of all ages, shapes, sizes and walks of life were doing it…why couldn’t I? 

For a while, I got stuck on the age thing.  I figured that I’d be competing against people half my age.  And, there are some girls that are much younger; but, there are also women my age and even older that skate.  They are also TOUGH.  Within just a couple of days of starting practice, I learned quickly not to say anything about my age.  It’s not a factor.

Suddenly, I find myself conducting myself with more confidence.  Where I’ve spent much of the past several years self-concious about my appearance, and with trying not to look silly, I now find that I don’t care.  I am not the smallest person on the floor; but, I’m not the biggest, either.  My body is changing with the hard work and changes in diet…as it should.  Facing the fear of starting something new causes me to carry myself differently…I can speak up if something bothers me.  I can more easily communicate something that is unpleasant to a client, realizing that it is merely a message and that they are not upset with me personally.  I smile more.

This past year has been one of enrichment.  The relationships in my life have evolved in ways that I could never have imagined possible.  I have been drawn into a wider circle of friends…a group of people who routinely grace me with their kindness and support.  As my children get older, we enter a new phase in our relationships.  I have to begin the process of letting go, so that they can become adults.  My husband and I will celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary this summer.  We are learning to pull together now, more than at any other time in our marriage.

My life is not perfect; but, I am grateful to say that this birthday found me in a very good place…happy, healthy and facing new horizons with a clear eye and a determined spirit. 

(Wow.  I really need to do something different with that hair.  That fluff will NEVER work with a derby helmet.)

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