Wednesday, March 21

Half-way through to happiness?

"Our bodies are our gardens, for which our wills are gardeners."
(William Shakespeare 1564-1616)

On March 1st I embarked on a 43 day challenge to try and get myself in shape both physically and mentally in time for my 38th birthday. But instead of simply putting myself on a strict diet and expecting to magically morph into Audrey Hepburn by said date, I decided to set the bar a little higher and make an attempt to love and accept myself a little bit more, a little bit better, despite my obvious lack of any Hepburnesque features.

So apart from daily yoga and a minimum of 10,000 steps, along with a focused low-GL diet (with the help of my trusty kitchen companion Patrick Holdford), I've also introduced a daily five minute session of really looking at my face in a mirror. This is far, far harder than dieting and exercising. As I get closer to 40 it has been getting almost impossible to feel much enthusiasm when looking in the mirror. My face seemed incredibly old and haggard to me, and after the first few days I was wondering whether this new scheme was indeed a sign of my being a complete masochist. But gradually it's becoming easier. Growing old still sucks, but I'm done with putting my head in the sand about it.

I've also started keeping a notebook of daily moments of happiness, with the intention of doing a collage based on these at the end of the challenge. And just the act of keeping an eye out for these moments helps me live more in the moment.

I admit that I would still like to wake up one morning and see an image of Audrey looking back at me in the mirror, but I feel that little bit closer to being happy with the way I am and the way I look. And since I still have 22 days to go, I'm feeling optimistic that things will continue to improve. In the meantime, Audrey guards my fridge so whenever I feel like having a big piece of chocolate cake I first have to get past her sylph-like incarnation, which puts me right off any ideas of pigging out.


sognatrice said...

I love the idea of the moments of happiness collage; can't wait to see it when it's finished! Also, I'm glad to hear you're feeling more inspired this week :)

Kamsin said...

I wonder why it is that we despise getting older so much, it's not like we can escape it. Good luck with the diet and exercise and may the beauty that shines through your blog, shine back through the mirror!

La Cubana Gringa said...

Glad you're finding something constructive to do with that vast journal collection you have! :) Keep up the good work!

BlueJude said...

I love the Daily Moments Of Happieness! What a great idea!!
But if my body is a garden, I gotta tell ya, I'm feelin' a little weedy today! lol

Anonymous said...

Keeping track of the daily moments of happiness is pure genius. Good luck with the next 22 days!

daisies said...

a collage of daily moments of happiness ~ how wonderful!!

i'm 38 as well and this year i started taking a whack of self portraits, trying to find the beauty in me and i think in 10 years i'll look back and think wow ~ i looked so young so i'm trying to look at the whole aging from that perspective ... plus the older i get, the more comfortable i get with me so its all good ...

though it would be better if i could magically morph into audrey hepburn too ;-)

i think you look amazingly beautiful and i hope in your acceptance of you, you see that as well :)

Tori said...

I applaud your courage to look in the mirror. I have written a couple of posts lately about self image and growing older.
Thank you for reminding me that it is a journey and not a battle.

Vanessa said...

man, this rings so many bells!
you -or what I've seen of you- are beautiful, in my humble opinion. but you're the one that's got to feel that so good on you for challenging yourself... I need to follow suit I think :)
you will share the collage when it materialises, won't you? ;)

Caro said...

May I have the chocolate cake please?

The daily moments of happiness is a wonderful idea.

If I examine myself in the mirror too much I'll have to haul out the tweezers and pluck these scary brows. Ouch!

Judith in Umbria said...

Don't worry about the face. It always looks bad at first when slimming. It will all redistribute after a while-- shorter for you than me!
Thirty eight and forty are not old. Trust me. If you keep on getting familiar with yourself, one day you will magically like yourself best just clean and natural. Then paint up and run outside to play faces with others anyway.

paris parfait said...

It's wonderful that you're taking good care of yourself. And I promise in ten years' time, you'll look back and think how gorgeous you were (are)!