Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

I remember a moment, suspended in time, when I was eighteen. I lay in bed daydreaming…or so I thought. I was imagining the perfect life of me, at about the age of thirty. I visualized my physical life, my mental life, and my emotional life. Physically, I would have a decent job by societal standards, something important, accomplished. I would make a decent amount of money, enough to work part-time, perhaps a three-day week, and still have all of my needs met. I would be living in my own place, an apartment. My location would be my hometown, close to my family. I was single, no children. I valued my independence too much to be married just yet, and would have worked hard for my career-related accomplishments.

Mentally, I would feel a calmness, a security, that comes with such hard-earned accomplishments. My focus would be on my work, on my place in the world. I had a pride in the work that I did, because I was helping others. I felt respected. I was confident. Others looked up to me without putting me on a pedestal. I didn’t stand out, because I accomplished my work quietly, not drawing the attention of others. My thoughts were mostly involved in intellectual linear matters. My mind, attitude and way of being was, in fact, quite masculine.

Emotionally, I was pleased with my life and accomplishments. Emotionally, I didn’t feel highs or lows, because I had everything that I wanted. No, security was the most important quality. That and respect. I was not invested in a relationship with a significant other. I didn’t need another person to be happy or fulfilled in my life. I eventually saw myself with a partner, with children, but not just yet.

I don’t recall contemplating the spiritual part of my life. It was a given…or an afterthought.

I also remember another moment, suspended in time; this time I was thirty. This was the moment that I realized the enormous power we hold to create our own destiny.

During this moment I was also lay in my bed, daydreaming. I had just finished my eight years of medical training. I lived alone in an apartment in my hometown. I was working three days a week, making enough money to cover my expenses and begin to pay back my medical student loans. My parents lived within walking distance. I was single. I had no children. I valued my independence. It was too early for me to marry. After all, I had worked so very hard to get to this point, and, frankly, there wasn’t room yet for someone else in my life.

I felt calm, a sense of security that comes with a hard-earned accomplishment. I had completed my training in a respected field. Even though I was doing things my own way and choosing a path slightly different from my colleagues I was confident. Even though I was in a respected field, I didn’t stand out. Even though my choices differed from others, I went about my life quietly, not wanting to draw attention to ways in which I was different. My mind was occupied by linear, rational things. The only place where my mind was free to wander to the feminine was during my annual trips to Greece.

Emotionally, I was please with my life and accomplishments. I seldom felt highs or lows, because I had everything that I wanted…or so I thought. Security and my standing in the world were the most important aspects of my life, and I had these. Although I had several relationships, none were long-term, because I was not ready or willing to share my life with another person, to leave my career to become a mother. I soon would turn down my first offer of marriage, and much later, my second.

At that moment, I remember the first moment, and, like a lightning bolt realized that the life I had was exactly the one that I had envisioned at eighteen. Exactly. As a matter of fact, not only was my physical life exactly as I had envisioned, but my intellectual and emotional lives as well. I was blown away. I got it.

We have tremendous power in creating our reality.

I would like to say that the story ended here, but life does not end at the age of thirty, and because I’m a late-bloomer, I had quite a ways to go. The next ten years were spent defining myself, discovering my tribe, identifying the way in which I wanted to practice my work, having amazing synchronistic experiences that lead me to the right people and gave me a vision of where my life was heading.

But at the age of forty, something happened. It was as if I felt that I had already been there, done that, and, as many of us do, I went into remote control. Instead of my forties being a time of growth and expansion, they actually ended up stagnating and eventually imploding. By the time I hit forty-nine, my ignored soul declared itself. It gave me an ultimatum. It would not allow me to continue down that same path, the life that I had envisioned at eighteen and achieved by the age of thirty. I had pressed the pause button and placed myself in cruise-control for nineteen years. I realized that I hadn’t envisioned my life at forty or fifty or sixty or at one hundred.

What followed was a year of catch-up.

Today I am fifty. Once every fifteen years Saturn appears to lose its rings, the rings that are made of debris the size of SUVs. Today, Saturn loses its weighted middle, and SO DO I!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ankle Cellulite

Believe me, this is so much prettier than the picture you were expecting…

First, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to every single woman who has ever come to see me complaining of weight issues at midlife. Everything each one of you claimed is indeed true. One day, suddenly, your body goes out of control—like a teen over whom you have absolutely no influence—and also like a teen, wants desperately for you to love her just the same, even though she’s completely out of control and refuses to listen to you.

Every month, heck, every week, she’s changing right before your very eyes. Nothing you do makes a difference. As a matter of fact, the more you try to control her, the worse she gets. You increase your exercise one extra day a week, then two, then double—then you add other routines. Now you’re exercising eight hours a day, and you still don’t look like Madonna (but, boy, are you happy about that!). So you go on strike and starve yourself. Your “menopot/menopudge” reacts by drooping further over your pubis; your belly button has turned into one big smile, laughing its pants off at you.

Nothing works, no matter what you do.

The last straw for me came today, when I was at the beach in my bikini. Yes! Bikini! It’s nothing but strings that stretch, the least amount of material that miraculously still fits—and hasn’t yet snapped in two, although I’m waiting…

No. That wasn’t the last straw. I was casually wiping off the sand from my feet when…What the…?! Cellulite on my ankles? Come on! Is that even possible? No one told me this could happen, and I’m a doctor. Certainly, I should have been informed.

So for all of the women out there with my twin ankles—I have supreme empathy for you.

As I was trying to explain to my fifteen-year-old nephew today, sometimes it sucks to get old—I mean, this is almost as bad as (one of my Tweeps came up with this diagnosis) “Broken Brain Syndrome.”

But, if you haven’t yet realized it, menopause gives us multiple creative opportunities to learn its main lesson:

Let go of what no longer serves you and appreciate what you already have.

I will gladly accept my body of cellulite; I am so thankful that despite all of the abuse suffered by my poor body it still manages to give its all every day of my life. As a matter of fact, I am so thankful for all of the tremendous gifts and blessings in my life that these cellulite ankles are doing a happy dance right now!

For a related post see Lisa's Story.