I’m flying home next weekend to attend my 30th high-school reunion. I skipped the 10th but really enjoyed attending my 20th. If I’m perfectly honest and these days I don’t know how to be anything but, I was a no-show at my 10th high-school reunion not so much because I live across the country from where I grew up but because I was still deeply ingrained in my I’m not good enough, pretty enough or successful enough story that so many of us find ourselves trapped in as we navigate our 20’s.
By my 20th high-school reunion I had attained some things I was proud of. The ring was on my finger, I was close to catching up to my classmates in the kids department and I had achieved a certain level of success in my career.
But I still cared what people thought back then. Would the boys think I got better looking? Would the girls think I was skinny enough yet? Would the cool kids think I was cooler now that I was working in Hollywood?
Do you want to know what my one and only thought has been going into my 30th high-school reunion?
I can’t wait to see so many people I haven’t seen in ages and just catch up with them.
There has been hardly one me-centric thought. Not, “I have to lose weight so people think I look good.” Or “I have to find the perfect outfit so people think I look good.” Or “Better touch up these roots, splurge for Botox and buy $100 worth of new makeup so people think I look good.”
Nope. Here’s the fucking beauty about being in the 2nd half of my life…
I don’t give a rat’s ass about looking good anymore. And I don’t mean how I look on the outside. I mean I don’t care about how my life looks to anyone else but me.
Photo credit: Darius Bashar ~ Unsplash
I don’t worry about what people think about what I’m doing or not doing with my life. I don’t give a whole lot of thought to what I post on social media or how other people might perceive me.
I don’t feel the need to live in a bigger house or drive a fancier car now that I actually have the money just so the valet guys won’t continue to park my car 6 blocks from the restaurant.
What I care about as I’ve matured is what I think of myself. Am I the best version of me that I can be and am I somebody I can be proud of?
I care whether my life has meaning and purpose. I care about making a difference whether that be on a global scale or with just one person who needs to hear what I have to say to inspire them to take action in their own lives.
I care about spending quality time with my kids, not getting the next big job title. I care about my aging parents and making sure they know they can count on me the way I was always able to count on them when I was growing up.
I care whether I hurt another person’s feelings and how quickly I can clean that up so I don’t leave anybody feeling badly over something I’ve said or done.
I care about telling the truth. I care deeply about having a voice in this world and inspiring others to find their own voice to speak their truth.
I care about teaching compassion to others, especially the younger generation who seem to have so little compassion for themselves at times because like I once did…. they care too much about what other people think and how they look on the outside.
So here’s the thing…. As I go into my 30th high-school reunion next weekend it’s not that I’m not going to give any thought to what I’m going to wear or pick out a pretty lipstick that makes me feel good.
It’s that I’m going to focus on the things that matter most to me now and that’s how I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually. The great thing about being the ripe old age of 48 is that I can now sit with myself without any judgement. I can accept that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be in this moment even when I don’t like where that is.
In addition to all the crazy, side-splitting memories we’ll talk about and laugh over next weekend I know that should any of us want to, we can also share war stories and the hard stuff we’ve been through. Whether it be a heart-breaking divorce, a job loss, our struggles with addiction or depression, the death of a loved one or some kind of trouble with our kids, at this age we shouldn’t have to give one thought to how any of that looks.
What I want my 2nd Act to be about is really the antithesis of that very word. “Act” means a pretense, a front, a show, a facade….
The true beauty about entering the 2nd half of our lives is that we can stop trying so hard to put on a show. We don’t need to go out on stage and put on a performance to the world that our lives are something they aren’t. That we are someone we’re not.
We just get to sit back, choose to do the things that bring us real joy and not give a rat’s ass how any of it looks to anyone but ourselves.