Fun fact: I share a birthday with MY president, Barack H. Obama. My daughter shares a birthday Sasha Obama. I’m pretty sure we’re destined for greatness… #JustSaying. Humble brag about my birthday twin aside, on my most recent birthday I turned 31. I shared this reflection with my social media friends and followers:
It was kind of heavy (definitely personal), but I felt like it needed to be said. Recently, I had a coworker say to me that they felt pressured to take on a lot of responsibility and “do it all” because that’s what *I* do. Whew, if y’all could have seen the blank stare on my face. They got a swift correction and lecture on the fact that *nobody* does it all, *especially* not me. Sure, I have a lot going on at work (yay, reduced staff and budget cuts), and yes, I usually am one of the first to volunteer for things (to the point that several of my coworkers have to forbid me from volunteering, LOL), BUT when I get home, especially this summer, I shed my work clothes, plop down with some fast food, and morph into a couch potato. Hence, the acne and weight gain.
Especially since becoming a mother, I have never wanted to be put up on a pedestal as someone who can “do it all”. When my daughter was a toddler, I didn’t want it because it felt fraudulent. I was dealing with major imposter syndrome and undiagnosed bipolar depression, so any praise or recognition that I received was a lie to my ears. Although now I am in a much better place mentally and am more authentically confident professionally and personally, the decline of my physical health and appearance still leaves me leery of compliments.
Additionally, until now, I have put little effort into my physical health. When I was younger, I could just cut back on how much I ate and drop a size. I never had stretch marks, not even when I was pregnant. Plus my bounce back game after a day of activity or a night of festivities was SKRONG.
Sadly, those days are over. And my 30s mom body has been *screaming* at me to take care of it. To be intentional about being more physically active. To stop eating so much junk. To go to the doctor and get a full physical. To Take. Care. Of. It. Self care is a trendy phrase nowadays; a lot of people equate it with mani/pedis, shopping sprees, or Netflix and chillin’ with a bowl of ice cream. But what 31 has taught me thus far is that self care is self preservation. Taking care of my body is not only self care, but it is life or death. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease run in my family, and weight gain is often the catalyst. That is one part of my family legacy that I have no desire to perpetuate.
So with all that being said, the key to my self care will be prioritization. Last year, I prioritized my daughter, my mental health, and my professional goals. This year, my priorities will be my daughter, my physical health, and my professional goals. While there will always be opportunities out there that I want to take advantage of, I have come to the realization that I won’t be able to do *anything* if I am sick. Or dead.
Therefore, I am “pressing pause for the cause” on anything unrelated to my kid, my health, or my wealth. Everything else can (and will) wait.