It’s my birthday so please answer my question

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It wasn’t until I hit my 50s that I started to cry on my birthday. Increasingly, March 3 just started feeling like an annual holiday, the point of which was to  remind me of all the ways in which my life didn’t turn out the way I thought it might. But today feels pretty great, and I think that’s at least in part because I really worked this year on accepting my reality, ugly bits and all. Which leads me to my question, which I hope a lot of you indulge me by answering: what’s the most important thing about yourself, your life, your partner, etc, that you have worked to accept?

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120 Thoughts on It’s my birthday so please answer my question
    Maureen
    4 Mar 2022
    9:18am

    Happy Birthday, Kim! I am also making peace with my life not looking like I expected. About ten years ago when I was in my mid-30’s, I realized that I was waiting for my life to start when I met a long-term partner and that did not seem to be happening. So I stopped waiting and really started living – I bought a little house in my city, I started traveling to dream destinations and just generally built myself a life. I’m proud of what I’ve done and what I still hope to do, but more of my friends have found themselves partners and are starting to move away from my city so I find myself at an inflection point once again.

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    Caroline
    4 Mar 2022
    9:10am

    Happy Happy birthday Kim!
    I’m sure someone else has already expressed this far better than I can on this thread, but trying to enjoy the moment has always been a battle for me. I would hate to miss the beauty in life because I’m too wrapped up in angst and self doubt. Sometimes I succeed ,sometime I don’t but it’s always worth trying.
    Every once in a while life pretty great ❤️

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    aimee
    4 Mar 2022
    10:08am

    hbd Kim!! you have made my life infinitely better wardobe, accessory and homewise. thank you. i have had trouble accepting that i’m bipolar up until last year when i turned 46. and i think that truly it was accepting that my life is not going to be the picture perfect was i envisioned. but i think it’s pretty great the way it is and don’t regret much. so i guess that’s acceptance!

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    Kim H
    4 Mar 2022
    10:18am

    Happy birthday Kim! I’m also Kim, same birthday – 1966. I don’t have any words of wisdom just SAME girl! I feel you.

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    Jane
    4 Mar 2022
    10:46am

    Happy birthday Kim! I wish I cried on my birthday because it sounds emotional in the best way. I don’t cry much because I’m so used to keeping it together. I’m still working to accept that who I am is enough and I’ll make it a goal to have a good cry when it’s my birthday!

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    Tanya
    4 Mar 2022
    12:42pm

    Happy belated birthday, Kim! I’m a fellow March baby (3/7). I think the most important thing I’ve learned to accept, or am still learning, is that control of *any kind* is an illusion. I always knew this intellectually, but after a cancer diagnosis 6 months ago (prognosis is great!), I sort of feel it in my bones now. That’s terrifying and liberating. Thank you for this community. You’ve put a lot of good out there.

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    Bethany
    28 Mar 2022
    1:40pm

    Happy Birthday, Kim! You and my brother are the same age, one day apart. The most important thing that I’ve come to accept is that the “interruptions” are your life, cribbed from a famous C.S. Lewis quote. We can make plans, and we should. However, when things happen, the plans might need to change or fall apart entirely. And life goes on. We make a new plan or set a new goal. Maintaining aplomb in those moments is ideal but not always possible. Yoga helps! 😉 The last two years have been a huge lesson in this, and I’ve stopped trying so hard for a certain outcome. I’m trying to live surrendered to the outcome. xo

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    @sarahspy
    4 Mar 2022
    3:06pm

    That I’m never going to “get up early to do [X]” voluntarily…

    Happy Birthday Kim!! 😀

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    Meredith
    4 Mar 2022
    5:26pm

    I have learned to accept (mostly) my difficult and hilarious personality and am learning to accept the love that I worked so hard to find and nurture. The older I get, the more I see how horrid my childhood was and how much I STILL have to do to overcome all tricks I used to survive it, which don’t serve so well today. I do love your blog and podcast and my wardrobe has really improved thanks to you. It’s great to hear you say things I think and worry about. I have deep shame about my friend history, so this week’s episode was quite lovely to hear. People do change over time and I have found that there is sweetness in things I never imagined as a younger, more defensive woman.

    I think your birthday photo on Insta was beautiful and you look fantastic and are doing fantastic.

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    Nancy
    3 Mar 2022
    11:30am

    I am working on learning/accepting/believing that even tho my childhood was sad I can use the knowledge and experiences to make my life now what I want it to be. I do not have to “settle” for anything I do not want.

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    Sheryl
    3 Mar 2022
    12:08pm

    Happy birthday wishes to you.

    I’m in my 50s. The biggest thing I’ve had to accept about my life is that life happens. The good. THE BAD. THE UGLY. When something bad and ugly comes up, I breathe it in and know that whatever it is, I will get through it as best as possible. That is all I know how to do. I have over the many years gathered some amazing tools to cope and resources that have helped and I know will help in the future. Life is. It’s just that. And, every night that I go to sleep, I’m grateful the sun rises the next day. Even in all of the SHIT. A new day comes. This may sound hokey and all, but this is what I have learned and am still learning every day.

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      Julie
      3 Mar 2022
      3:53pm

      I aspire to this!

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    Erika
    3 Mar 2022
    12:09pm

    Wishing you a happy birthday! I have worked to accept that at 52 I am both a weaker place (divorce last year, thickening waistline) and more satisfying place (huge job promotion, having the best sex of my life, fabulous quality girl friends). I don’t know what I expected after 25 years of marriage and working part time with kids for years, but I can say that I am pushing myself to accept and lean into the challenges and somehow the universe is responding. There is strength and power that comes with the choice! And fun!!

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      Glo Morison
      6 Mar 2022
      10:54pm

      I have worked hard to accept that I will never have a slim body but rather I am athletic, healthy and curvy! I know how to dress for my shape and I find that as I accept it and don’t try to hide it, other people do too and it’s seems to me that they also feel my increasing confidence around it. Being kind to myself is an ongoing gift – and takes work!

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    maryse
    3 Mar 2022
    12:13pm

    Happy Birthday!!! i get a little bummed in the days prior to my birthday, but on the day, it’s all about me. me me me. presents for me. cake for me. So celebrate you on your birthday!

    oh my, what haven’t i figured out this year. i turned 59 in december and have been thinking a lot about how i got here. what things have i learned to accept this past year?
    1. I’m ok with being fat. I came out of the womb in the 90th percentile for weight and no amount of dieting and working out got me to a point where i was still not overweight. i spent a lifetime feeling bad about this body that’s strong, healthy, protected me from cancer, gotten me through septicemia, and a post-menopausal broken leg etc. just because it’s never been less than a size 12 as an adult (which didn’t last – i’m a size 18-20 now). i admit, i don’t look at myself too closely in the mirror still, but i’m not ashamed anymore. i am who i am, and i can still kick ass.
    2. i’m ok with where i am in my professional life. i always felt like i failed to reach my potential. i was supposed to be more “successful” but this year i realized that i like what i do. i’m proud of what i do. i’m really really good at it and i’m paid pretty well for doing it. i don’t have to be the president of xyz anymore because i’ve learned that i would hate it. for the longest time i’ve felt bad about myself, but this year i asked for a promotion and a raise and didn’t apologize for it, for the first time in my life. yay for me.

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    Mary
    3 Mar 2022
    11:32am

    Happy Birthday! Well, I’ve been fighting it for a while but it’s time to accept I’m not going to have much of a career and I’ll have to stop caring what others think. You like my company or you don’t and there’s far more to a person than how much money they make or how much respect they command due to a job title.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    3 Mar 2022
    11:33am

    Happy Birthday, Kim! I’ve realized that no matter how wonderful your spouse may be, you’re always going to have to work damned hard to keep your relationship healthy. I believe love is a choice, and we show it through our actions.

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      Wendela
      3 Mar 2022
      7:57pm

      Happy birthday, Kim, and thanks for what you do and put out in the world! I was going to say something similar to MamaValveeta03, but less gracefully put. I’ve been married for more than a couple of decades and it’s not the marriage I wanted it to be, but I’m working to accept the marriage I got, and the good things about it. And when kids are off on the world (not too much longer), we will have more room to inch closer to the marriage I might have liked (the empty nester version, at least). If I hadn’t wanted kids, I think I would have been more satisfied as a serial monogamist, but that’s not how I wanted things to go once there were kids involved. The point is that happy endings take work, and that I’m pretty sure they don’t feel like happy endings when you are living in them—at least not a lot of the time. I guess it’s about perspective.

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    Audrey
    3 Mar 2022
    11:33am

    Happy Birthday! What a great question and appreciate all of the vulnerability in the postings. I’m trying – still working on it – to accept that while things didn’t work out as planned (no kids, in LT relationship but never married, job insecurity/unemployment at times), I cannot change the past. I’m trying to work on changing things moving forward with hope.

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    Laurie
    3 Mar 2022
    11:38am

    Bonne fete! Gosh we are a strong bunch of women! I’ll be 60 this year. Here’s a few of my lessons learned: (1) The type of happiness/contentment/future I wanted for my son is not his type of happiness/contentment/future. But it still all works. (2) Aging with a partner and friends is beautiful and a privilege. (3) I’m embracing my long, silver hair and I wear whatever the hell I want.

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    Mary
    3 Mar 2022
    11:40am

    Happy birthday kim!! I accept finally most of the time that I am worthy of love as we all are. This feeling of unworthiness that I have battled and still can come up has been a backdrop to my life due to ancestral shit. I am trying to do the work!

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    Ann
    3 Mar 2022
    11:51am

    Happy Birthday to you! I’m so glad I found you and that you are part of my day or week with your posts and podcast. You have helped me dress a little better (even through a pandemic!) I’ll be 53 in a few weeks and things are starting to change with my body! I’m trying to stay vigilant with my health and be easier on myself. The most important thing in order is: me, my family, then friends (which i have few of).

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    MaryAlice
    3 Mar 2022
    11:18am

    No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, there are some people who will not like me, and who will treat me poorly, and there’s nothing I can do about it, because it’s them, not me. I have the power to walk away. Realizing this after a lifetime of trying to please everyone has lifted a great weight off my shoulders.

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    Trish
    3 Mar 2022
    11:23am

    Happy Birthday!!! Today is my daughter’s birthday as well. Beautiful women were born on this day.

    I am learning to accept my aging body (I’m not at 100% acceptance, yet). I went through menopause this year. I’ve gained weight but also, my body shape has changed. Working on being okay with the new me. Life is a process. This is just another part of it.

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      Dana
      3 Mar 2022
      1:31pm

      That’s mine. My menopause body is messing with my mind. A true lesson in ceding control. It’s so hard!!!

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    TR
    3 Mar 2022
    11:24am

    I’ve learned to accept that my career may never reignite after my very long departure due parenting. I just can’t have it all. Also, that I need to prioritize my kids’ mental health over all else (being a teenager these days is insanely pressured.) And finally, I need to constantly remind myself to “enjoy” life and stop “doing” life.

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    Lynn
    3 Mar 2022
    11:25am

    Happy Birthday Kim! I love your newsletter and podcast! I have finally accepted that while I had a generally good childhood, I didn’t get everything I needed, and that is NORMAL. And it is up to me now to fill in those gaps with a lot of self reflection, therapy and mindfulness.

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    I
    3 Mar 2022
    11:16am

    Happy birthday! I’ve learned that as long as I keep working on myself, it’s okay to forgive myself for the mistakes of my past.

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    Sara
    3 Mar 2022
    11:16am

    Happy birthday, Kim! There’s still so much I am working on accepting, but I guess what I have learned to accept is that it’s okay to be a work in progress, and to not have everything figured out.

    I also want to say thank you for asking this question. Reading the responses here has given me a good feeling of solidarity and commiseration with other women.

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    Beth Anne
    3 Mar 2022
    11:17am

    I LOVE BIRTHDAYS… especially my own! BUT I LOVE BIRTHDAYS!
    I’ve learned to accept that there is no time machine, no way to get the years back, no one is going to save you so get out there and enjoy life!

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    T
    3 Mar 2022
    10:29am

    Happy Birthday, Kim! The most important thing about me I’ve worked to accept is that just because I wasn’t nurtured as a child doesn’t mean I don’t deserve love now. Neglect is an insidious cruelty that I did not deserve. Feeling worthy of love still can be challenging, but I am now aware of my patterns have accepted and mourned the loss of love in my childhood. I have hope for more love today and tomorrow.

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    Eve
    3 Mar 2022
    10:32am

    First – Happy Birthday!

    I have two things:
    1) It isn’t always easy, but I have learned to not live in regret for spending a prime part of my adult life (29-49) married to a man I never should have married in the first place, let alone stay with for 20 years.
    2) Accepting my body after breast cancer and a mastectomy (which was my choice). I’m thrilled to be here, and grateful for everything I have, but seeing my altered body (even though reconstructed) every day has been a lesson in acceptance. And I now am going through the exercise of trying to find a bathing suit I feel comfortable in….

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    Michele
    3 Mar 2022
    10:36am

    That my Mom is never going to be the mom I needed her to be as a kid or the mom I want to have as an adult. It’s a work in progress.

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      Meryl Holland
      3 Mar 2022
      12:59pm

      Today is my birthday, too, Kim! March 3, 195_ Happy Day❣️
      More than anything I am so much more open to learn each and every day! It is something I’ve raised to the top of my To Do list every day; and is one of my most personally rewarding assets. I am a better listener-learner in my work life, with friends, and with my family, too. It is my kids, all in their early 20’s , who give me the gift of LISTENING in real time—that has changed for me—because time with them is so limited, I drop what I am doing and live slices of their lives with them immediately—and do happy to stop and give them this time of my day! I am a far more enriched person now than when I thought I listened and learned back then❣️
      Happy day. Happy year ahead.

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      Tricia
      3 Mar 2022
      4:13pm

      My mom is never going to be the mom I needed as a kid or as an adult either so I feel you. The cool thing is at least I can try to be the mom my kid needs based on my own experience. Will my daughter have issues with me like I do with my mom? Tough to say but at least I can say I am trying to break the cycle of damage. Be kind to yourself <3

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    lisa
    3 Mar 2022
    10:55am

    Happy Birthday! The sun is shining for you. What an excellent question, and what heartfelt and revelatory answers. I really love coming here. I’ve accepted that I didn’t have a big career, and that’s it’s okay to have tried and enjoyed working at many different jobs. As a mother of three young adult women, I wrestle with not being as good a role model in terms of classic career success. Other more superficial things I’ve accepted: really lame hair and big feet. Ha.

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    Corinne Rayne
    3 Mar 2022
    1:06pm

    Happy Birthday!

    My latest life realization in the 2nd half of my 50’s is, accepting that no one person, be it a spouse, partner, parent child or friend will ever be or behave exactly how you want them to. No one person will ever ideally meet your expectations 100%. Accepting our character flaws, forgiving if need be, or moving on if necessary.

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    Liz
    3 Mar 2022
    1:23pm

    Happy Birthday! And ha, mine is probably that I am unlikely to ever have sex again. Even when we were in our 20s my husband wasn’t that sexual, and it’s only gotten worse now that we’re in our late 40’s. It used to bother me and make me feel bad about myself, but maybe because I’m going through menopause and my own sex drive seems pretty non-existent, I’m kind of fine with it. We have a really great relationship otherwise, so I’m not too bummed.

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    Joannawnyc
    3 Mar 2022
    2:37pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I’m 61. Weirdly, moving out of NYC 5 years ago, where I lived for 35+ years, has made it easier for me to know myself outside of “being a New Yorker.” There are fewer existential constraints on my life. Now I know why people have hobbies (instead, I went to grad school). I would still go back in a flash though. But mainly I want to say that you can still keep changing your perspective on yourself, no matter how old you get, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s not all regrets.

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    Buffy
    3 Mar 2022
    2:40pm

    Happy birthday! During the pandemic I have thought a lot about reconnecting with people, apologizing for past wrongs, and offering forgiveness when needed. I realized just recently that the person I needed to forgive was myself. I actually envisioned sitting down with my 18ish year old self and forgiving her for the very dumb things she did and said, the hurts she may have caused. It was so liberating!

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    Kay
    3 Mar 2022
    2:43pm

    Happy Birthday…
    The thing I have to work on accepting is that I never had, and at this point (age 61) never will have, a life partner. Yes, yes, I know…. one should look to one’s dear friends as “partners,” many of whom will support and encourage and care about you just as much as, and possibly more than, a spouse/significant other. (I’m a divorce lawyer — believe me, I know.) But still… It’s a struggle every day.

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    Gayle
    3 Mar 2022
    3:03pm

    Happy Birthday! My biggest challenge is accepting the physical aging – being able to do less and needing more time.

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      Michaux Dempster
      7 Mar 2022
      12:18pm

      Happy belated, Kim! Girl (can we still call each other that on here? I hope so!) I so understand the rift between expectations and realization of same – it is a lifelong negotiation and journey of acceptance. Therapy has helped me get perspective on my career (in my head I’m supposed to be a successful novelist, but I am instead teaching composition at a third-tier university) and appreciate my strengths, and it’s been amazing how much prouder I am when I do publish something. It turns out that I instead have an amazing research agenda to look forward to, and I don’t know when my fiction will get on track as a result, but the project I’m working on is so interesting, and makes me feel so productive and successful in spite of my day-to-day job, that I wouldn’t let go even if I could. I used to cry at the end of every calendar year because I thought I hadn’t published enough or been successful enough, but for the last couple of years, ever since I turned 50, that hasn’t happened; something just clicked, and all of a sudden I realized that I’m actually doing pretty goddamn well. I think therapy was a big part of that, as I said, and also connecting regularly with work friends and creating support systems during Covid has made a huge difference in my perspective.

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    Jenny
    3 Mar 2022
    3:06pm

    I have to accept that there’s no social or cosmic punishment for my ex-husband and his many mistresses, despite the immense pain they caused me, as if my de-personing just doesn’t matter. I also am learning that there is no way to be perfect, i.e. non-triggering, to my autistic partner, and this is remarkably freeing and creates opportunities for communication, compassion, and healthy boundaries.

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      Jenny
      3 Mar 2022
      4:24pm

      And, Happy Birthday Kim! Thank you for sharing yourself with us and creating this space.

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    Sally Koslow
    3 Mar 2022
    1:01pm

    Happy Birthday, Kim. It’s taken a while–50 years of marriage this year–for me to accept that my husband will never want to relax by reading a book, which is my favorite R&R. Moreover, I doubt he’s going to read MY next book–I’ll be publishing my sixth novel soon. (I don’t think he read the last one.) On the other hand, I’m never going to watch a golf tournament. And yet, I love the guy. What we have in common is bigger than books and golf.

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    Lisa
    3 Mar 2022
    1:04pm

    I’m 65. I’ve been through a divorce, family ruptures and reconciliations, and in the past three years the deaths of my mother, my children’s father, my best friend, and my father. I have come to realize that loss is real. Some meet it early, some, like me, not until late. We do not recover from it, but we can live with it. And we don’t have to forgive ourself for our part in it all, but nor do we have to remain in guilt forever.

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      Lisa
      3 Mar 2022
      1:05pm

      Oh, and excuse me, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Have a wonderful time.

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    Stephanie
    3 Mar 2022
    1:39pm

    Happy Birthday! Here’s my story: Last January my spouse was offered his dream job, a position that would require us to move halfway across the country once everyone returned to the office. I kicked and cried about this at first — my whole rootless life I’ve wanted to be “from” somewhere, really settled and part of a community, and for the last 10 years I’ve had that in our wonderful little suburban town. But of course I eventually agreed to the move — this job means so much to him, and he’d do the same for me I know. Then, over the course of last year, I got excited about it. A new place — Washington, DC, with all its museums and culture and life. We moved here last month and while the weather is worse than expected, everything else is new and interesting and I love it. What I learned: Maybe the settled life is not what I want after all. Maybe being rootless is my jam. Things are lost when you move every 10 years or less, but things are gained, too: newness, adventure, discovery, broader horizons. I’m ok with the tradeoff.

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      ab
      4 Mar 2022
      1:37am

      I’ve moved to several new states for my husband’s job and am ready to stay put. Unfortunately that’s probably not going to happen. My frequent moves have been part of my life since childhood and they’ve been hard on me. I’m so glad you’re handling the move well and will try to emulate your attitude in the future.

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    Jill
    3 Mar 2022
    12:56pm

    Happy birthday, Kim! I hope you’re able to find some good in today. If it helps, I think you’re a gift to all of us faithful readers and podcast listeners. You being in this world has done a lot for many people.
    As for me, I’m 48 and still working on body acceptance. It won’t ever be the shape it is in my mind. Each time I look in the mirror there’s always a little bit of shock that I just don’t look as cool as I imagined myself looking. It’s only gotten harder as I’ve inched towards 50. But I’m more than my figure and in general I’m really pretty happy with the rest of my life so I focus on that instead.

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      Helene
      3 Mar 2022
      3:04pm

      Once you get into your 60s you have no choice but to accept that your body will never be the same as it was years ago, no matter how well you care for it. So fuck all the “shoulds” we were bombarded with all our lives. we gotta enjoy the time we have left. I’m still trying to get used to being so much closer to the end.

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    Julie
    3 Mar 2022
    7:17am

    That no matter how hard I try, my body doesn’t want to be “thin”. By society’s standards, anyway.

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    Linda Boardman Kerr
    3 Mar 2022
    7:26am

    I will never be able to “drink” again. (I have been sober for 30+ years.). AND I STILL HAVE FUN!
    As an old friend from around the tables used to say, “It’s alcohol-ISM, not alcohol-WASIM!”

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    cw
    3 Mar 2022
    12:46pm

    Such a great group of strong women. All your stories are so inspiring . I’d hug all of you if I could.

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      RLJ
      5 Mar 2022
      7:17am

      Enthusiastically in agreement….I haven’t replied yet but am enjoying reading all of the insightful and inspiring comments.

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    karen
    3 Mar 2022
    12:48pm

    well my life did not work out they way i thought it would when i was 20. but really the only thing i regret is not having children. i really want them, and really would have been a great mother. but i didn’t work at finding a relationship, which i don’t really regret. and when i looked into adoption, for me, it was too much like buying a child, and i could not get past that. but it is what it is.

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    Debra Gibson- Welch
    3 Mar 2022
    12:29pm

    Happy Birthday, Kim, wishing you a wonderful day and year ahead! Thank you for all that you have done for all of us who follow you, you have had more of an impact on our lives than you know. Thank you.
    I am working on accepting like you, things that may have passed me by because I think I didn’t study the right thing in college or how my career turned out, it continues to be a work in progress. I am grateful for the husband, daughter and extended family without them I would not be who I am today and I am grateful for that.

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    Mel
    3 Mar 2022
    12:33pm

    Happy birthday!!! This is going to sound heavy, but I’m coming to terms with what it means to love my parents — or for my parents to love me — when we have grown into such different people. All of us have things about each other that we really do not love. I am working on ways to accept them and integrate them into my life without pushing on the sore spots. Ask me how it’s going in about 5 years.

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    Maritza
    3 Mar 2022
    12:35pm

    My birthday is also March 3rd. I’ve always felt lucky , extremely lucky to have my family, meaning my parents and siblings. Any goodness that I possess is due to them.

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    Erica
    3 Mar 2022
    12:44pm

    The happiest of birthdays to you! It’s taken me about 50 years to accept that I will never be thin and that society’s standards of physical beauty are absurd. Instead, I’m focussing on having a healthy relationship with my body and with food; exercising because brings me joy; and to be proud of being pretty damn strong.

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    Kim France
    5 Mar 2022
    1:34pm

    WOW everyone, the responses to this question are so amazing and inspiring. I love you all! xxxx

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    tamara
    3 Mar 2022
    8:48am

    I accept that I have been bullied my entire conscious life and that it’s time to forgive myself for having accepted it all these years and work towards ending it, or, at the very least, establishing a productive response to reject it when it inevitably reoccurs.

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    tamara
    3 Mar 2022
    8:49am

    and Happy Happy Birthday…may it be entirely on your own terms!

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    H
    3 Mar 2022
    8:53am

    That life is never going to be endless kittens and rainbows: instead, I have learned to appreciate the quiet moments of contentment that pop up in everyday life.

    Also, after far too many years: I have learned that I am fine as I am. That doesn’t mean I can’t or don’t want to change, but simply that I am also fine just as I am.

    Related: there are people who do not like me as I am, and that is their business, and that is ok. But these people are not my friends.

    Happy birthday xx

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    lizzie
    3 Mar 2022
    9:22am

    growing up I felt like an alien and I spent all my energies trying to conform and pretend. then I was filled with sadness that I “wasted” that segment of my life. now at 59, I am myself, freak flag waving and all. I am still coming to terms with lots of trauma and loss and feeling it so I can heal it. I’m learning to pay attention and quiet the ego and be generous. some rambling here, but we are all learning together. thank you for this question! also thanks for being born! HBDHBDHBDHBD

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    liz
    3 Mar 2022
    9:24am

    Happy Birthday.
    This is very general but it is that you cannot change anyone.

    20

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    Robyn
    3 Mar 2022
    9:31am

    Happy Birthday!

    The most important thing I’ve learned is to accept love without apology. When I’m given compliments, shown affection, etc. my instinct is to shrug it off, deflect, and offer a million apologies for why something isn’t perfect: Thank you for telling me this dinner was great, but it’s just the recipe really; Thank you for being in my bed, kind handsome man, but let me apologize for my body’s flaws, etc. etc.

    It feels so much better to not do this, and that is the most important thing I’ve learned. Accept love without apology.

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      L.J.
      6 Mar 2022
      11:09pm

      Right on!

      1

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    Jan
    3 Mar 2022
    9:46am

    I’ve worked hardest to accept the randomness, and “unfairness” of the parts we/I can’t control. Having lived a life that I understood as lucky (in family, health, experiences) — not privileged or rich, but fortunate — my 50’s were brutal. Imploded marriage, two teen sons rough transitions to adulthood that involved mental health quandaries, hospital stays, so much anger, financial uncertainty and needing to support myself — the fucking Trump years! — getting to the other side meant letting go of so much, and figuring out how to be ok with it, how to keep moving onward ever onward. The North Star for me was remembering I could do the next best thing, and just not give up. And I’m happy to say that it has mostly worked — while it seems like this is the hardest time ever to be alive in this world, hanging onto hope makes it possible.

    41

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    kelly
    3 Mar 2022
    10:05am

    That something not working out according to my plan is not personal failure. Sometimes things just don’t work out, and plans change, and that’s okay.

    22

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    Dianne
    3 Mar 2022
    10:05am

    I had to accept that early menopause ( Started in my 20s) gave me belly fat, under eye bags and a double chin way before I should have had them. I had to accept it because I don’t want plastic surgery. Dieting doesn’t help the problem areas, the thinner I am the more prominent the droopy chin/ jawline. On the other hand, I don’t have cellulite.

    19

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    Emmy B
    3 Mar 2022
    10:29am

    Happy, Happy Birthday! I’ve learned that my mental health struggles are here forever (literally just learning this as I turned 40 a few weeks ago) – they’re not going to magically disappear, and only I am responsible for working to get to a point where I feel ok and keeping myself there. I was recently diagnosed as ADD which maybe doesn’t seem super life-changing to most, but to finally have someone acknowledge my difficulties/differences and not tell me to “just pay attention!” has been a weight lifted off of me. It’s been extremely rage-inducing too, knowing how long I’ve let people make me feel bad for not being able to make my brain work in a normal way, no matter how hard I tried. I’m finally standing up for myself and working through the trauma – and also starting to accept myself little by little.
    Also – I gained about 20lbs over the pandemic and then lost about 30lbs. Not a single person noticed (including my husband) that I was no longer carrying around the weight of a toddler on my body. Whereas before at this weight I felt and thought I looked fat and was definitely not confident in my looks, today at this weight I feel fabulous. I recognize this shift in perspective and I appreciate it every day!

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      Mamavalveeta03
      3 Mar 2022
      11:42am

      Congrats on all of the hard self-work, Emmy B! I had a similar experience with weight loss and no one seemingly noticing. On reflection, I’m not sure if they didn’t see it or if they were just trying not to comment on what my body looked like. But I’m feeling good, so who cares!?!

      15

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        Emmy B
        4 Mar 2022
        9:36am

        Mamavalveeta thanks for your kind words! That’s actually a great point, and one I hadn’t thought of. Maybe I should appreciate that people in my life aren’t commenting on people’s bodies – that’s a really good thing!

        3

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    Mouse
    3 Mar 2022
    8:11am

    I have worked to accept that despite success in my field, my deep and true inner conflicts about it–not just insecurities, but real things–prevented me from doing certain things and from reaping financial benefits. I have accepted that it’s the way I am built. We all make our decisions: the thing is to take responsibility for those decisions. That’s how you live with yourself.
    And Happiest of Birthdays! Cake!!

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    LeahK
    3 Mar 2022
    8:12am

    Happy birthday! Enjoy celebrating! Hm, great question. Small thing, but I have accepted how much sleep I need to feel good each day, sometimes I go to bed ridiculously early, like 8:30!

    24

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      RLJ
      5 Mar 2022
      7:22am

      Same and I have absolutely ZERO shame or embarrassment for my super early bedtime.

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    NCRJ
    3 Mar 2022
    8:14am

    Being okay with my eventual mortality. That I won’t always be around to see how it all turns out. That when I have to ramp up my health a bit that it isn’t some kind of insult. I accept my age – 63- in so many other ways. And I am stronger, more fit, and make better choices now. Happy birthday.

    21

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    DM
    3 Mar 2022
    6:52pm

    Happy Birthday, Kim.  You’re in a fairly new relationship, so let me throw in what I’ve learned to accept during my 43 years of marriage:  1) Nobody’s going to take charge of my mental and physical health besides me; and 2) Having different interests than my husband does not constitute a character flaw for either of us.  We don’t have to be together every minute.  Self-care is mostly a pleasure for me.  I work hard at staying flexible (yoga) and being fit enough to walk long distances and preparing healthy meals.  I buy nice things for myself.  I prefer quietness and enjoy reading.  My husband prefers background noise (t.v. and music) and enjoys analyzing politics (God help me).  He’s a good and kind man, but I can’t listen to the same things over and over without drinking heavily, so I’ve learned to listen long enough to be polite, then quietly exit the scene before I get annoyed.  We’re running our own romance here, and it takes some habit-breaking at times.  My advice to all coupled ladies:  Keep making love to your partner even if you don’t feel like it as much as you used to.  It fixes everything.

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    LindsayC
    3 Mar 2022
    6:59pm

    Dear Kim, happy birthday! This is my year to turn 49 and in the last two years I’ve gotten divorced, gotten sober and moved. So I’ve been doing a lot of self examination and therapy. I don’t regret my marriage only the grief that it brought my children at the end. But they are flourishing and so am I. So I think I am about to embark on a whole new path. Sure feels like it. I’m six months into having a boyfriend/man friend for the first time since I was 18. It sure is fun!. ❤️🥳

    10

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    Gablesgirl
    3 Mar 2022
    7:26pm

    HBD Kim. I’ve learned through experience that I have been way too hard on myself. I lost my 20+ year job during Covid and it was finally the wake up I needed. I’m 10 lbs lighter, drinking less and enjoying life. After 56 years I think I deserve ti.

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    Remy
    3 Mar 2022
    8:56pm

    Happy Birthday! You seem really cool!!! We have the same favorite band! 🙂 (YLT!!) You know, it’s tricky to give and give in a relationship. I do it all of the time. I am a secret stealthy giver. But then I resent so much when I don’t get reciprocation. I’m 100% my mom in this way. There is no way to not 100% become my mom. This is what I am trying to accept.

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    Mimi A
    3 Mar 2022
    10:10pm

    Reading these comments has yielded a rich stew of wisdom, vulnerability and resolve. Thank you, everyone, for contributing.
    Nora Ephron once said to me, “Wouldn’t it have been terrible if we had married the right guy, the first time?” In a way, yes! I accept that life is full of mistakes. We learn from them and keep going. I have had high highs and low lows in my life, and while I take responsibility for bad decisions, I regret very little. I have learned that you never know yourself until you’re tested, and sooner or later most humans will be. Adversity has taught me that I am a good person, and the confidence and peace that knowledge has given me left me open to find more, wonderful friends and the greatest love of my life in my 70s. Never give up.

    10

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    RLJ
    5 Mar 2022
    7:48am

    Wow, I am just blown away by the comments on this thread. I saved this for a weekend morning when I wouldn’t be rushed and could read and enjoy every one. First, a belated happy birthday greeting to you Kim! I turn 50 in the latter half of this year and also celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary this year so milestones galore for me. I have said this before but I am so grateful I have found your blog and your podcast. It’s a bright part of my day and week and you and Jenn have so much wisdom and vulnerability that you freely share with all of us-thank you! Insofar as your question..I have come to accept that I am a homebody and an introvert and I just prefer to stay home and do my thing. But on the flip side, I have also realized that when I get down and too much ‘in my head’, the best anecdote for me is to get out and do something. Whether that is volunteering, meeting up with friends for lunch/book club, or even going for a walk/getting some exercise. As much as I’d like to stay home in my comfy clothes and veg out on the couch and/or go to bed early (my regular bedtime is usually before 9pm), I ALWAYS feel better after doing the things I kinda forced myself to do. I am still learning how to be a better partner to my husband. Marriage is difficult as is and the last two years made it clear that I don’t need to be around him 24/7 and prefer having a life that is my own but yet enjoyed with him on the side, not necessarily with him as the main course. I also never wanted children but was blessed 14yrs ago with a sweet girl that I love with all of my being. My life forever changed for the better the day I gave birth to my daughter. I’m not a perfect but am trying to be a bit better every day-not only as a partner to my husband and as a mother but in all areas of my life. Oh, and one last thing, admitting when I am wrong or saying sorry to someone for me messing up is not a sign of my weakness.

    3

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    Jennifer Peters
    3 Mar 2022
    7:29am

    My body. I gained weight over the pandemic when my partner and I bought a house and his two kids moved in. It’s easy to control your weight when you live alone but I don’t have the willpower to not eat the kids’ junk food and my partner likes restaurants. But even though I disliked my weight at 160, I also disliked my weight at 115, so I’m never going to win. I’m never going to “like” my body so I might as well just be neutral about it. It’s by far not my best feature anyway!

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    Marisa
    3 Mar 2022
    7:58am

    Intimacy in relationships looks very different than we imagine, than society/art/culture shows us, than we learn in our families. Intimacy means deepening my self-appreciation and understanding to gain the capacity to do so for my partner, children, friends, family and the tolerance to accept difference. Still a work in progress 🙂
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    17

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    LisaC
    3 Mar 2022
    8:00am

    That my career didn’t go the way I hoped . I had some big wins, but a lot of downs too.

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    Stephanie
    3 Mar 2022
    8:07am

    I’ve been married to my husband for 23 years this year and I’ve known him for almost 40. I realized this year that the stuff he says that makes me insane and angry – he hasn’t changed – he’s always been this way. It is just that my perspective on him has shifted. He’s the same person I married. That’s been deeply sobering to me. I wish you a fabulous birthday.

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      Liz
      3 Mar 2022
      1:33pm

      Oof, I hear you. When I was in my 20s, my older sister gave me what I thought at the time was great advice “look at all his faults and decide now whether they are things you can live with, because people don’t change.” The problem is that the things you can tolerate when you’re in your 20s change when you get older. So stuff like my husband constantly throwing his dirty clothes on the floor next to the hamper, which used to just be annoying, is now hugely offensive and disrespectful to me.

      7

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        Kay
        3 Mar 2022
        2:33pm

        Liz — Leave the clothes on the floor until he runs out of clean things to wear. “Oh, you wanted those laundered? Then you should put them in the hamper.”

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      Anon, anon
      3 Mar 2022
      3:11pm

      Wow, I feel this so much, and it is indeed deeply sobering. Maybe a little freeing, too, though? Instead of being angry at my husband, I’m trying to accept that there are some things I want that I will never get from him. This is really sad, of course, and I’m not sure, what, if anything, I’m going to do about it. But this perspective is surely better than the angry flailing I did in my 40’s (I’m 55).

      HB, Kim. Thank you for creating this space, and thanks to every woman who shared a little piece of herself. I’m going to read and re-read this thread…

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    Mindy
    3 Mar 2022
    8:09am

    First, my teen daughter is doing much better – not 100%, but much better. However, just over a year ago, she was hospitalized following a suicide attempt and has been struggling with self-harming. Last summer, she ended a toxic relationship that we found out involved sexual assault and gaslighting. After reporting to the police, she had to deal with being called by the boy’s friends every name in the book, preceded by “lying.” She didn’t want to be “here” and deal with the pain anymore. I was depressed and wasn’t sleeping until I knew she was asleep and walking around with a constant pit in my stomach. HOWEVER, a few months ago, I realized and once I said this out loud “It is not my job to keep her alive. Only SHE can do that. I can only love and support,” it was like an unmanageable weight off my shoulders lifted. I relaxed and began falling asleep at my normal time and in very short order began recovering from the depression and started feeling much better. I think it helped my daughter relax too because that is when she started turning another corner as well.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      3 Mar 2022
      11:29am

      Oh, Mindy – I’m so sorry that your daughter has been struggling with the horrors of her situation. And that you, as her parent, have had to walk this path with her. There’s nothing worse than watching your child suffer. I hope you can find peace through all of this.

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      Lisa
      3 Mar 2022
      11:02am

      Sending love to you and your daughter. Your realization is a huge one, and I have to tell myself the same thing often. Having a child truly is having your heart live outside your body.

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      Dana
      3 Mar 2022
      1:35pm

      Thank you for sharing this story, Mindy.

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      RLJ
      5 Mar 2022
      7:29am

      I’m so sorry that you and your daughter are dealing with these struggles. As the mom of a teen daughter going through her own mental health challenges I understand the pit in your stomach that you noted and imagine the pain that you both went (and are still) going through. Much love to both of you.

      2

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      Kim France
      5 Mar 2022
      1:32pm

      Love and strength to you and your daughter, Mindy.

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      Amy G
      3 Mar 2022
      8:28am

      Love to you and your daughter from another mom, will be thinking about you and saying prayers for your family.

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      y.k.
      3 Mar 2022
      8:33am

      yes, love to you MIndy.

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      Beth
      3 Mar 2022
      8:40am

      Sending you so much love. My son went off the deep end last year and every day felt like a struggle between wanting to protect him at all cost and wanting to let him figure it out on his own.

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        regrets
        3 Mar 2022
        8:43am

        Is there a way to have this comment deleted? Didn’t realize a photo would appear with it.

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      cw
      3 Mar 2022
      9:00am

      I am so sorry, Mindy. I hope your daughter and you and your family continue to heal. The cruelty of others toward those you love most is unimaginable.

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        D.Morgendorffer
        3 Mar 2022
        12:33pm

        Mindy, I am so sorry. I’m wishing comfort and healing for you and your family.

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      Tily
      3 Mar 2022
      8:43pm

      Happy birthday, Kim! My 50th is coming up in 2 mos and I have feelings about it, lol. The hubs is taking me on a dream vacation to Paris, Costa del Sol, and Morocco. I’m feeling very blessed and grateful for my life. My health is great, we have a big new home that I enjoy decorating & renovating, and work is going well. I couldn’t be happier and have no regrets (no kids either). Just the usual concerns of wrinkles and sagging skin here and there, but the more grateful I am for my blessings, the less my concerns are. Just focused on staying healthy and nurturing the wonderful relationship I have with my husband & my mama (who lives with us). 🥰

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    CynthiaE
    5 Mar 2022
    4:05am

    To stop playing/being small. That it’s OK to be the bold, confident, badass Black woman that I am and not feel the need to be apologetic or cater to those who are uncomfortable with my badassery. This applies to my personal and professional lives. It took a lot of unlearning and learning to embrace who I am, which includes being a(n admittedly hot ;)) Black divorced woman and mother and kickass professional.

    Kim, the best of wishes on your next turn around the sun. As others have said, you are a key part of my daily life. In the BeforeTimes, I looked at your blog at the end of the day as an after a workday treat. Now, I check in a bit earlier in the day. You have introduced me to several of my new fave US designers (as an African woman, I have a fusion style). And pulled together an interesting community. Most importantly, though, I appreciate the vulnerability with which you show up here. It’s a superpower, not a weakness.

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    Dawn
    3 Mar 2022
    10:48pm

    I’m learning to accept that I might not have another life partner. When my marriage ended in 2008, I thought, five years from now you will be in a happy relationship. Then I thought well in the next five…I’m still open and actively dating, but I’m realizing that it just might not happen and that will be ok. Not what I want, but we don’t always get what we want. And now I’m hearing Mick sing lol…but you get what you need. I hope as you celebrate, you will know that you have touch so many lives in this community you have created–a true blessing. Thank you and happy bday!

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    Andy
    3 Mar 2022
    11:21pm

    Happy Birthday from a fellow March baby!

    I have worked to accept that my career does not have the obvious markers of success in my profession because I have made choices along the way that have steered me off the traditional linear path, be that advocating for causes which make me less of a ‘safe’ choice for certain roles or choosing to travel and experience life in different places. I returned home after a while and seeing those I went to law school with in positions of relative power and status made we wonder whether I should have stuck to the straight and narrow. But I enjoy what I do and every time I have been faced with a choice I have tried to do what I thought was the more interesting option, rather than what would necessarily advance my career. And I know I would make the same choices again. So I have been working at being ok, even happy, about my path even if others, including those close to me, can’t understand why I’m not ‘doing better’.

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      Missannethrope
      4 Mar 2022
      7:13am

      Yes! I have done as you did and I feel exactly the same way. My husband is very supportive, though; when the alumni magazine from my fancy law school arrives, he dramatically throws it into the trash before I can read about how successful my classmates are.

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    Tiss
    3 Mar 2022
    5:13pm

    A lot of people tend to not really like me. I think it’s that I’ve lived an awesome life and I have confidence…two things that women get grief about all the time! I’m getting better at dealing with this, mostly in a fuck’em kind of way.
    The people who know me, those I call friends, know that my heart is true. Still, at a time when I’m starting to think about “legacy”, it’s a tough pill to swallow that I am largely misunderstood.
    Anyway, happy birthday! lol Your podcast and blog and laugh bring me joy every time.

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    Lisa C
    3 Mar 2022
    5:25pm

    Happy Birthday! This was a hard birthday year – 55. I’m still learning to accept that I won’t have my own children. What I finally stopped doing is beating myself up about previous choices and why things didn’t work out as I expected. But instead focusing on the negative this year I spent the day being the best auntie ever with my nieces and nephews. I’m learning to mother in other ways by being a great support system to others.

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    Kelly Simmons
    3 Mar 2022
    1:48pm

    Happy birthday! I enjoy this space and your podcast very much. One thing that has happened as I’ve gotten older is that I’ve turned from a person who claimed to have no regrets, to suddenly having regrets. So I’ve had to accept that I am not as easy going as I thought I was — followed by mourning the might-haves and should-haves and then letting them all go. Mistakes were made, but beating yourself up is also a mistake.

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    Viajera
    3 Mar 2022
    2:22pm

    Happy Birthday, Kim (-mie)!!!! And many happy returns of the day. … … … Per the question, really, it is most areas of life – that is, those that are *my* responsibility. I have no complaints about where I was placed, and I know that that is just luck. (Well probably.) All the other stuff that was up to me – career, love life, yadda yadda – is kind of in a state of S, more or less. Not to say “crisis” exactly, but, certainly far from ideal. And since it is me, who do I complain to? But, I have my health for now. Never give up!

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    Amelia N.
    3 Mar 2022
    3:31pm

    Many happy returns of the day, Kim! I am 62. I believe I am finally understanding that most worthwhile relationships and life pursuits are a marathon, not a sprint. “There is no shortcut to anywhere worth going.” I have always been very impatient for change once I think I’ve figured something out. Now I am quicker to remember that people and life projects take time, and not to catastrophize when they don’t keep up with my particular time-space continuum.

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    Laura Shute
    3 Mar 2022
    4:08pm

    At 54 (55 in April) I’ve decided I have 2 options with my life – be happy or change it. No more wallowing – things did not turn out the way I imagined in my 20s – got divorced, no kids, went from a very successful career to opening my own business that never took off, blah blah.

    Could I still adopt now? Sure. But I realized I really don’t want to have kids anymore. Not at this age – not-at-all!!

    And in those accepting decisions, I spend far more time looking forward to the next 40 🤞years. I don’t feel the “I’m invisible” thing that so many women our age talk about. I focus on the eyes I catch and the interactions I have. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.

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      Laura Shute
      3 Mar 2022
      4:17pm

      And Happy Birthday Kim – may the year ahead be your happiest so far.

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    sal
    4 Mar 2022
    2:18am

    I am learning to accept I have chronic pain and less mobility than I ever thought I would even though I am relatively young (40s). It’s been 7 yrs and it’s still a process of good and bad days. My life’s options (travel/work/stairs/etc) are more limited and it’s a huge bummer, not at all how I imagined my life. It’s also not something others can see so I struggle with seeming ok when I feel distracted by pain or cannot do what others can like take a long hike. It was hell at my old job where my boss had no sympathy for me simply because I put on a happy face and acted ok, as is my way, that’s how I was making it through because work was a welcome distraction. I had a doctors note but he did not believe I could hide my pain and I must be lying about the issues in the first place. It was quite insane. I learned a lot about what is unacceptable for me there and I have moved on to a better job that suits my needs (and pays better) and better overall quality of life as a result of this chronic pain because it is too hard to deal with chronic pain when you have no resources. In my darkest hours I gathered up all of my strength and made lots of different and daring choices for myself; hence acceptance is budding. My path through and in pain has brought me here. It is truly still hard to accept never feeling the ease of how I used to feel in my body. I can’t help but be jealous of those who have relatively pain free (body) existences. If you have your health, you have a whole damn lot. HBD.

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    Michelle
    4 Mar 2022
    3:26am

    Happy Solar Return to you and my two closet friends, 3/3/69 ex, and 3/3/70 gf. They are my polar balance being 9/1961. The greatest lessons I have learned is emotional makeup is as real as intellectual. As long as you engage in both with maturity and a high quotient. Through the years these to have put me through the ringer with this lesson, and I them. I thank them for teaching me to allow my emotions to be seen and heard, without overthinking things. would hope I have tempered their varying degrees of emotional deeds to become more thought out. Not knowing your BORNDAY before and now knowing, I can see that I have also learned from you that girls of a certain age should be true to who they are and express it as they see fit. Thank you and many more!!

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    Hannah Brown
    4 Mar 2022
    1:16pm

    Hi, Kim, just found your website and I’m loving it! Happy Birthday, or Mazel Tov, as we say in Israel. For me, the thing I’ve had to accept is that my older son has autism, but also that there is so much that just happens and that I can’t change or control. I could go on and add details, but you get my drift. Be well!

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      Kim France
      4 Mar 2022
      4:56pm

      Hannah, so nice to find you here!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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