12 Things More Important Than Being in the Best Shape of Your Life

Fotolia_8429735_Subscription_L-194x130You know when people are about to turn 30, or 40 (or 50 for that matter), and they say, “This year, I want to be in the best shape of my life!”? I know I said it when I was turning 30…

What is that about, anyway?

It seems like many people with that goal are trying to prove they aren’t getting older. In hindsight, I probably need to admit that’s what I was doing. Like, “See! It’s just years! But really I am traveling BACK in time to back when I was in better shape than I am now…but even better than that, ya know?”

So they end up striving for – and maybe even achieving – that level of fitness. People can definitely achieve that goal – Supah Fit {Older-But-Improved} Badass. I remember a coach at a public school in Menlo Park, CA who ran a mile for every year of his life on his birthday. Yes, that means he ran further as he got older, and that guy was up to 62 miles or something when I last heard. That just seems mean – to your body.

But then what? What happens one you’ve arrived at that goal, if you ever do? Usually people aren’t able to sustain it at that level. It takes effort of epic proportions to travel back in time. And they are still 30, 40 or 50 anyway. In the end, you do get older, and your body can only take so many miles before your knees hurt, carry so many packs before your back aches or your muscles get strained. It’s part of this being-born-in-a-body thing. There’s only so much we can do. Sigh…

Having said that, you can feel great as you get older. That is a given, and it’s why I do yoga and move and treat my body well. But it seems that it really shouldn’t be about being in the best shape OF YOUR LIFE.

I heard humans may soon live to 120 or something. That means people will be playing this game in their 70s at some point. Seriously, peeps?

I understand the desire to have a fire lit under you to get in shape if you’ve let things slide. Most people move less when they are older because there are more things they have to do than go out and adventure and move – like clean the gutters, call insurance companies, mail packages, drive the kids to soccer practice or go to work and be inside for 1/3 of the day. In our earlier years we could play a lot more, and that kept us in better shape by default. Plus with increased stress we eat like crap and our body stores fat more easily, which doesn’t help the situation of not moving much.

BUT, if you’re one of those who wants to be in the best shape of your life, I challenge you to look at that goal from a different angle. For most, it doesn’t seem filled with much self love. It seems filled with criticism of who they are right now. That whomever they are right now is not enough.

And that is bad juju. Again, I am not saying to NOT have that goal, but rather I ask that you really look at the motivation behind it, because if you don’t have the self-love and self-ACCEPTANCE yet, nothing is going to make you feel better about yourself in a sustainable way.

Anywhooo…I almost fell into that trap. Hell, I used to be a climbing guide. I have that complex every freakin’ YEAR!

I actually had the time to achieve the best-shape-of-my-life goal this year. I only work 1/2 the year. And I live in Alaska where adventures and workouts – and the adrenaline freaks who egg you on – abound. But then guess what? I realized that turning 40 meant more to me than being in the best shape of my life. And I gave myself permission to feel that way.

I realized I have earned the wisdom to let go of all the crap that used to hold me back (yes, even after ALL this work, I still manage to get in my own way sometimes;), AND I earned the wisdom to want the things that will TRULY make me happy. Not just those things that prove I can travel back in time and beyond and have some mega-bod.

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff00ff”]Here is what I’ve learned to want more than that[/typography] , because these things give me more FREEDOM – and that is what we’re all on this blog for, right?

1. Total love and acceptance of our body and of our being, who you truly are, the woman you’ve become, the mistakes you’ve made and the love you have shared. Your bitch-slap mode. All of it. Acceptance does not mean settling, though! (More on that another time) Letting go of guilt and Saying “No” falls under this as well. Guilt is a big freakin’ waste of time! Trust me. Don’t even argue. And when you can say “No” as part of loving yourself, no guilt is necessary. In fact, saying “No” helps you be more available and present to the things that really matter to you – like the people you love. So when you say no, it means you have more energy to say “Yes!” to something else.

2. Clarity and Ditching “Maybe.” If it isn’t a “Hell Yes!” it’s a “Hell No!” One of my coaches taught me this a LONG time ago. While it can be easy to turn away from things that obviously suck, it is much harder to walk away from a “Maybe.” Like a “maybe” relationship, or a job that “isn’t horrible,” for example. When we have clarity, what is a Hell Yes! to us becomes more obvious, as well as the Hell Nos! This makes decisions easier to make, and it is much more easy to flow into being in alignment in all parts of your life: your values, goals and dreams, the environment you are in, your career, your relationships…they are congruent with one another. This life alignment is what contributes to total and full happiness! And it starts with knowing what to say “Yes” to, and what to say “No” to.

3. Forgiveness Superpowers. The ability to forgive is so freeing! It pisses me off when I can’t forgive someone whom I know is truly sorry. This is a skill worth cultivating during your entire lifetime.

4. Low tolerance for toxicity  – Don’t put up with toxic people, places, thoughts, emotions, and things. I move away from these things more easily now.

5. Prioritizing my values and the people I love – and let the rest of life work its way around what is really important to me. When you prioritize the top 5-6 things that are truly important to you, you WILL have time for them all. Life will fall into place around it (read my blopost here about how to do this and why it’s completely true – I shizzle you not)

6. Healthy and passionate sex life. What can I say. It’s the glue that holds things together when the going gets tough. And when I don’t have that, I am in a very, very bad mood.

7. Connect with other people’s hearts, because otherwise I am pretty bored. I can go for a few months of just paying attention to myself, but eventually, I have to light up someone else’s life so that they can see how amazing it is to be ALIVE. Connecting with people authentically is a great way to light them up. Which brings me to my next point:

8. Authenticity as a mantra. This is me, baby. What you see is what you get. If I didn’t say I’m pissed at you, I’m not. If I say I am annoyed, you better believe it. If I say I love you, I mean it. I don’t throw that “love” phrase around. It means that in that moment, a huge welling up of love is happening, and I have to tell you or I just might explode. This authenticity means I cry easily sometimes. Well, a lot, actually. It means I cry when something is gorgeous, when something is devastating, when something is incredibly moving and blows my freakin’ mind. It means I laugh loudly and fully and you may want to wear earplugs. It means I am most honest with myself. (To get your Authenticity on, check out this month’s Jedi-Juice call).

9. Adventure and Freedom. Daily. I get bored otherwise. I can tolerate it coming every other day, but daily is ideal. That’s one of the reasons my soul mate is so amazing. He is pretty good at having adventures every day – big or small, inner or outer adventure – doesn’t matter to me. Just don’t let me get bored! And keep me excited and stimulated. Traveling is pretty good at fulfilling this need for me too;) And forget about having to ask permission to do things all the time. I want control over my time, money, and energy. I – like you – am a bona fide Freedom Junkie.

10. Movement and playing outside. More than being in the best shape of my life, I want to move. Move a lot. Play a lot. Move and play outside in the mountains, preferably. Move my body all sorts of ways, like when I do yoga, or do #6, or see a trail leading to somewhere new and I just need to peep around the corner…

11. Love fully, live compassionately. I sleep better that way. Live each day wanting others to be utterly ecstatic, and free from whatever is causing them suffering. Living compassionately means giving other the people the benefit of the doubt, even when it might be more convenient to chalking things up to them being an asshole. Trying to be joyful – instead of jealous – when someone manifests abundance in their life. This is part of becoming truly happy.

12. Healthy food and air and water and home. Because when I don’t have those things, I don’t have the energy to create all the things I’ve already mentioned above. It’s not about health – it’s about what health allows you to do! And be;)

Being fit is still important to me (that photo is me at 40! Heading off to climb the highest peak in Mongolia). But when I look at the milestone year of turning 40, it is not the utmost important thing on my list. And I certainly don’t feel the need to be more fit that when I was climbing mountains in the Himalayas. I’ve got some other mountains to climb.

If you still want to be in the best shape of your life, go right on ahead! I still exercise regularly and eat well and cleanse and work on my stress level … all that jazz. Just be sure to add some of the things I mentioned that may have resonated with you too, OK? It will be more…graceful that way. And be sure to love, LOve, LOVE who you are RIGHT NOW, no matter what. That’s the place to start.

What have you found to become more – and less – important to you as you’ve gotten older? Pray do tell below…

 

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