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Fierce in Seattle: 39…and holding!


a blogumn by Kelli Bielema

Really? 39? How did this happen? Age ain’t nothin’ but a number, you’re only as old as you feel, and so it goes with the clichés about not acting your age. I subscribe to all of these notions. It’s also probably why most people I meet first think I’m about 10 years younger than my actual date of birth. My face has never touched sheep jiz injections or been hacked open with an Exacto knife. I don’t smoke and I don’t get angry and yell at people. I’m vegetarian and I breathe deeply when confronted with anxiety. I work out hard and play at a pace that doesn’t hit blackout mode. It took me a good 10 years to get to this place and it only keeps getting better.

40 is the new 30! (And orange is the new black, optimism is the new cynicism! Ick!) I was a teenager when the show THIRTYSOMETHING premiered. They all seemed like a bunch of whiny yuppies, but now I am thinking about adding it to my Netflix queue just to make sure. I recall how the turning-40 Samantha was considered the old coot (or cootch, as it were) in the early days of “Sex and the City.” She consistently fibbed on her real age and always made an effort to cover her tracks…and her crow’s feet. What’s up with that? I think there’s something honorable about aging gracefully. And women that aren’t even aging are messing with their faces. Heidi Montag is 23 and she looks at least a few years older than me. Blog refresher: I’m 39.

And because I’m 39, I’ve also come to terms with the fact that nature takes its course. I am never going to be that limber, lean, cast-iron stomach 25 year-old I once was. And I don’t want to be! That same 25 year-old was also much more insecure, gullible and mostly unaware of herself. In the time since, and as recent as in the last five years, I’ve done more to develop who I am. You really can control your own destiny—or rather, guide it.  I’ve encountered way too many people who say “oh, we’re soooo old” to which I amend “but so much better.”

Part of being so much better is just that …much better.  I’m much better at positivity, much better at being patient (well, sorta), much better at practicing kindness, much better at taking care of myself, much better at giving to others, much better at being a leader, much better at being a follower, much better at giving back, much better at accepting and much better at doing everything so much better. And much better at forgiving myself if I don’t.

So that’s 39 right now.  I’m owning it and taking it on like a champ.  I just hope I don’t turn into an asshole when I turn 40.