Growing Older and Letting Go
Yesterday was my birthday, and unless I live to be older than 92, I’m now more than halfway through my life.
I know many people who are already well past that halfway mark, and I’m honestly not too worried about it. But even if I’m not that worried, I still think about being at an age that seemed positively ancient to my teenage self.
In many ways, being in my mid-40s doesn’t feel that different than my younger years, but there are a few notable exceptions.
Relationship to food
One of the biggest changes, of course, is my relationship to food. When I went out for birthday gelato with a friend last week, I didn’t worry about the gelato being “bad” or think about restricting myself later to “balance out” having gelato.
Instead, I simply noticed that I wasn’t hungry again until later than usual, and since I wasn’t very hungry, I had a light supper. It wasn’t about restriction or deprivation, simply enjoying the gelato and then paying attention to my later fullness and hunger signals.
Being able to let go of those old feelings of judgment and diet mentality is so wonderful. It took a long while to get here, but that’s one benefit of being older.
Avoiding certain foods
Another thing I’ve been able to let go of is worrying about what other people might think when they see me eat something like gelato. In the past, I would have felt self-conscious eating sweets in front of anyone because I still thought of foods as good or bad, with some I “shouldn’t” eat.
These days, though, the only foods I try to avoid are the ones my body reacts negatively to – and I still find it ironic that rice is one of those foods. But I don’t avoid rice because it’s “bad.” I just prefer not to have sores on the corners of my mouth, which I get if I have much rice.
And even better, I don’t feel deprived because of this. Instead, I enjoy so many other foods that I don’t even notice the missing ones unless I really think about them.
This is a far cry from my younger years, when I cut out certain foods because of diets, only to then obsess about those very foods. Letting go of those constant, food-focused thoughts is such a relief, and it gives me back a lot of mental energy that I can put to much better use.
I sometimes wish I could tell my younger self these things, that she would find her way to a much different and healthier relationship with food. I don’t think she would believe me, though.
And since traveling back in time isn’t an option anyway, I’m content to enjoy where I’m at, and I look forward to what future years might bring.