I have distinct memories of my parents celebrating their 40th birthdays, complete with the “over the hill” adage that at that time ruled that milestone in life. Back then 40 seemed so old; it marked the beginning of the end, right?!
And although I’ve never really been attached to my age and where I was “supposed” to be at 21, 25, 35, I made a vow to myself last year that I would be in the best shape of my life by the time I turned 40 on September 26, 2018. If I’m being honest (which I am), I meant physically. I have always struggled with body image and my weight and hating my “imperfections,” but in the past couple of years I have cultivated a healthy relationship with food, a consistent yoga practice, and a daily walking schedule, feeling more accepting of my physical body than I ever have in my life - I wanted to continue on that path to peak physical fitness (whatever that means!).
About a month ago, I was listening to the podcast On Being with Krista Tippett, the episode on the Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness with Ellen Langer, when I literally felt my entire perspective change. Ellen Langer, who is considered to be the ‘mother of mindfulness,’ has been researching and writing about the topic for over four decades. It was 15 minutes into this episode that I realized I wanted to be in the best shape of my life body and mind and soul.
Simply put: Langer says mindfulness is achievable not only after yoga or meditation, but in the everyday moments of life. She defines it as “the simple act of actively noticing things.” This definition of mindfulness seemed so simple (you mean I didn’t have to meditate 30 minutes a day to receive the benefits of mindfulness???), but incorporating this simple act into my every day has filled me with an energy, a sense of wonder, a positivity I have never felt before. It has also made me very excited to continue to evolve and grow through this remarkable experience of aging.
So, in two weeks I turn 40. And I am really excited; excited for how far I have come on this internal and external journey to self. And yes, I am excited to be in the best “shape” of my life - thus far - body, mind, and soul.
Amanda Converse is co-founder and co-editor of Ebb & Flow.