Updated: Sep 16
I know, that’s a bold ass title, but it’s true. Don’t believe me? Walk with me on this journey for a fresh minute...It was the summer of 2017 and I was GOING THROUGH IT. I had just turned 35. And if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of turning 35 and identifying as a woman then let me clue you in on a little something. Turning 35 feels very very hard. My Theory of The Hard 35 is due to science. In obstetrics and gynecology, when you turn 35, you magically cross over into the land of Geriatric Pregnancy. If you get pregnant at 34 apparently you are still a hot young thing with a crispy fresh womb but once the clock strikes midnight on your 34th year, you become GERIATRIC. Which is just silly, but I’ll let those in the medical community fight over the terrible naming of this threshold and I will carry on about why this was challenging for me, a person who actually does not want children.
So why would I give a fuck? Well, because at 35 in this culture, if you don’t have kids, what do you have? I didn’t have a partner, I certainly didn’t have any money, but I did have a boatload of unhealed trauma in the pipeline and a gnarly lack of purpose. In a word, I was: depressed. In fact, I was so sad I found myself crying at the beach, my absolute most favorite place in the world. That’s when I knew I was in BFT (Big Fucking Trouble). So I’m crying at the beach one day and then, and I know how cliche Live Laugh Love this sounds, but I was listening to Oprah’s Supersoul podcast and she had on Deepak Chopra and they were discussing the 21 Day Meditation Challenge they were about to launch or some shit. And for whatever reason, meditating sounded really good to me. I had done it before, many times in fact. I would sometimes even ask my amazing almost became a Buddhist nun therapist to guide me in meditation, but I had never established a daily practice. So I’m drinking my coffee and listening to Oprah and Deepak and I was like: I’m gonna try this. Did I download their app and do the challenge with them? No. That would be too conformist. Instead I woke up early before work and sat on my couch and followed my breath. I don’t even think I timed myself. But I did really really enjoy it. So I set a few reminders on my phone. The first one sounded in the morning before I was awake so when I would roll over and check my phone, it was the first thing I would see. It said, “Meditate.” The second came in the afternoon and asked, “Did you meditate?” And the third one at night, “Did you meditate for real?” And every day I would usually work in a meditation before the second notification. And every day I loved it more and more. I started to feel this deep sense of contentment that seemed to be coming from nowhere. I remember walking to the bus one day and literally laughing out loud because I felt so good, yet I still had “nothing”. Nothing in my external world had changed. I still did not have a partner or any money, I was still 35 and geriatric. The only thing that had changed was me and this tiny little action I took everyday. It. Was. Wild. The 21 days came and went and I kept meditating, I even started timing myself and using an app. I would wake up, go pee, sit on my couch, and watch my breath. And if I didn’t have time to do that I would meditate on the bus on the way to work. I meditated before bed. In bed. On planes, trains. If I could sit on it, I would meditate. Something in me knew not to try for the perfect place or time, but to simply try and get it done. So here I am 1,000 days later. On the cusp of turning 38. *insert Cathy ACK! comic here, but I won’t because of copyright laws* I still do not have a partner. However, I do have a tiny bit more money, a podcast about creativity, a job as a meditation guide for a magazine, and a completely different career helping folks as a creative coach and guide. Something that if you told me five years ago I would be doing, I would have responded with, “What’s that?”
This shift wasn’t magic, but it was magical. Something I didn’t know at the time but now realize was this: My meditation practice was slowing me down and creating space within for something new to come forth. It put me in the position of being the witness of my thoughts, instead of at the mercy of them. It cultivated
a mindfulness that I carried from the couch into my daily life allowing me to see things differently. Which resulted in a series of never before made choices. Choices that gave me a new life. A life that, even at my geriatric age, I am very very proud of.
You can meditate with me live next Tuesday, May 26th at 12:00 pm central on Cancer Wellness’s Instagram page. Find my recorded meditations for them on their website CancerWellness.com. You can also find my Burnout Meditation and follow me on the Insight Timer app here!