46 Days Away From Turning 50

Ever have a friend that you think is super cool, intelligent, talented & all around awesome?  Well, that's how I feel about Lane Buckman.  I've known Lane for maybe 20 years now, I hired her to work with me at an employment company, I was probably unqualified to be in charge of.

I liked her from the get go, she was smart, eloquent, and quirky.   Since then, we've both got married, had babies, started companies, new jobs, Lane has even written a couple books, she does a podcast, she sings, she dances, she does it all.  I asked Lane to share an upcoming miles stone with us, she's turning the big, beautiful 50.

Get ready, she's about to serve us some stellar advice for loving ourselves and embracing all that we are as we float through this life.   Meet Lane Buckman

As of this writing, I am 46 days away from turning 50 years old.

When June first approached me to share with you all, I thought I might want to talk about how turning 50 in lockdown feels, but we’re all turning some age during this pandemic and we all know it isn’t great, so I’d like to talk with you about something else. 

A few days ago, I was walking out of the bathroom. I caught my eye in the mirror and gave myself a little chin jerk and wink, and said out loud, “Get it.” Then I laughed because, get what? I’m living in lockdown. In that moment, I realized just how much I flirt with my own self.

It is pretty much guaranteed that if I pass an object shiny enough to cast a reflection, I am going to look at me, share a secret smile with myself, and probably wink, nod, or give myself a Joey Tribbiani inspired, “How you doin’?” Most of the time, when I look myself in the eye, I treat my reflection like a friend.

The only time my reflection becomes my enemy is when I start looking at my body against my mental template of what I have been conditioned to believe is good. Not beautiful, not healthy, not sexy, but “good”. It’s important that I am clear about that word because I only become my enemy when I am associating my goodness, or my value, or my worth to the shape of my body.

I am 46 days away from turning 50 years old. The shape of my body is degrading as I type. It doesn’t feel great, and I can’t turn the clock backwards no matter how much I cut off or sew onto it.

As a woman, I’ve been raised by the village to know that I can do anything I want to do, be anything I want to be. I have been raised to know that I am equal to a man, that my work is worth equal pay, and my brain is worth equal notice. And I have also been raised to know that no matter how much I achieve, to what heights I ascend, unless I am at least a 7 or an 8 on a presidential scale of hotness, I’m just an unwanted woman with too loud a voice. 

Internalized misogyny keeps a lot of us from ever enjoying our own selves as much as we should. And let’s not forget that for women, gender conformity means shaving off every bit of follicular evidence that we’ve gone through puberty, blanching out then repainting our faces into more feminized versions of ourselves, and highlighting our secondary sex characteristics while pretending we don’t want to enjoy the fruits of our primary ones. That’s not to mention how we are socialized to false humility and how we punish women who appreciate their own beauty. We have a lot to overcome before we even get to zero!

I don’t know why it hit me so hard in the next couple of moments, but I realized that I’m not flirting with myself because I’m feeling particularly cute. I’m flirting with myself because I want my own attention. I am flirting with myself because I know who I am on the inside, and I am desperate for that woman to find me worth her time. I know how extraordinarily well I treat the people I love, and I want that woman to love me. 

I realized that if I weren’t already me, I am exactly the type of person I would be pursuing for a relationship.

I am the type of person who will listen to you and strive to hear you. I will hold space with you when you are hurting, and I will celebrate with you when you succeed. I will laugh with you, and cry with you. I will love your kids alongside you. I will apologize sincerely when I hurt you, and I will do my best to learn and grow so that I am less likely to ever hurt you again. I will hype you up, and I will tell you when you have your skirt tucked into your tights. 

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have accomplished something before the age of 50 that many women never have the chance to do: I have fallen in love with myself in spite of the wreckage of my belly, the cellulite on my thighs, my too-thin hair, and flabby arms. Because all of those are the things I would want to hug to death if I could get my hands on me.

Maybe because my birthday is the day before Christmas and it feels weird to get to open gifts when other people have to wait another day for theirs, or maybe because I am actually a Hobbit, since childhood I have adopted the Shire ways of trying to give out gifts on my birthday. This year’s birthday is a big one, and I’d like to give all of you a gift.

The next time you see yourself in a shiny surface, give yourself a wink. Flirt with yourself.

Give yourself the same smile you save for your best friend. Start getting to know yourself as your friends experience you Fall in love. It starts with that eye contact and that willingness to show your reflection some interest. It is 100% guaranteed that your reflection will flirt back. Serotonin in a flash. You might even make yourself blush.

I am 46 days away from turning 50, and I cannot wait for what comes next in my relationship with me.

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