I spent much of this year dreading my birthday, which came today anyway, in spite of my best evasive maneuvers. I’ve found that dread is a very effective life skill, if used properly.
Dreading this birthday forced me to really look at my life and confront what I didn’t like (most of it). Then I had to actually do something to change it, like get my butt out of bed and exercise when I would have rather slept in, or work, when I would rather be zoning out with Netflix.
Dread forced me to have a date to shoot for. There was no way I was turning bleepty and not accomplishing at least a couple of these things.
And my awesome family and fantastic circle of friends helped me celebrate, what I hadn’t been able to face, with phone calls, wonderful gifts and support.
This was probably the most fulfilled I’ve ever felt on a birthday because I actually accomplished something I never thought I’d be able to do.
I swam (while actually breathing) all the way across the “big people” pool at the YMCA in La Crescenta! This may not sound like much to those of you who grew up with swimming lessons, but for me, who’s never really been comfy in the water, this was huge. Thank you to each of my very patient swimming instructors at the YMCA, you were great!
I even asked my son to tape my big moment, so I can relive the terror I was feeling. (I had planned to just hop in and swim from the deep end to the shallow end, but a woman in the pool forced me to start at the shallow end because she said that’s how the rules work with more than one person in a lane. This terrified me because, even though I can technically swim, I am still not totally comfy in very deep water. I wanted to end up in the shallow end, not the deep end.
So if you watch the video and it looks like I’m drunk, it’s because I had to close my eyes when I got to the deep part and kept veering toward the lane separators. (It’s about as exciting as watching furniture get dusted, but was a thrill for me. You can hear me whoop when I finally reach the end.) Here’s a link to it on YouTube, so you can mock me from the comfort of your chair.
It’s not perfect swimming, but it’s a goal crossed off the bucket list. Next, I will work on getting over my fear of deep water, learn to tread water better and try to swim two laps, then three, etc.
I also finally mailed a few chapters of my book, which I spent weeks tweaking, to a literary agent on Friday. Even if she doesn’t end up representing me, it’s a step.
I’ve lost seven pounds (which may or may not reappear after my birthday dinner tonight — we’ll see) and have five more to go. (Clearly, it’s not just a myth, diet plus the elliptical and swimming really work!) And there are so many more things I want to accomplish this year.
None of it would have happened if sixty (there, I said it) hadn’t shown up in all its demoralizing glory.
If you’ve hit a birthday and accomplished something you always wanted to do, please tell me! Or send a link to a video, so I can cheer you/mock you from the comfort of my chair.
Two goals down, eight guajillion to go.
Thanks, as always, for reading!
EmilyAnn FrancesJuly 30, 2015 at 2:29 am
Happy Birthday Fran. At the age of 50 I promised my Mom I’d write a memoir about the spiritual journey we shared. As I near my 62nd birthday in November 2015, that promise is being fulfilled. I hope to have a finished draft by November 14th.
Fran TunnoJuly 30, 2015 at 12:53 pm
Yay Emily!!! Good for you! Giving yourself a cut off date is a huge help! Good luck! I support you fully. And thanks, as always, for reading.
EmilyAnn FrancesJuly 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm
here’s a birthday hug, Fran. And congrats on achieving your goal in swimming. Sometimes you can’t count time by the clock or the calendar. You were ready to achieve this NOW and that is what counts.
Matilda NovakJuly 29, 2015 at 11:12 pm
From the comfort of my chair (which i’m about to fall off of from exhaustion), I APPLAUD You!!
Yay Fran. Way to face your fears (and major bday) with Courage.
i’m so incredibly proud of you.
You have MUCH to show for your time on this ball.
Well done, i say….and enjoy your next decade. i suspect you will…..more than you know.
Fran TunnoJuly 30, 2015 at 12:52 pm
Thanks Matilda, I fully intend to embrace any and all challenges and will only resort to binge watching Netflix if absolutely necessary. Thanks for reading!
Liz HeroldJuly 29, 2015 at 6:54 pm
Happy Birthday! Your blog is fabulous!
daedae51July 29, 2015 at 2:04 pm
Woo Hoo Fran!!!! Watching you swim brought tears to my eyes, I don’t like the deep water either. I am a self taught swimmer so I don’t swim straight either, lol. I’m glad you made it to sixty without near the trauma you expected. Keep working on that bucket list one item at a time.
Linda FridayJuly 29, 2015 at 11:12 am
Sixty is a lot like diving into the deep end, Fran: you just have to take a deep breath and leap! You are an amazing woman. I am hoping that 60 years of proving that will finally convince you of how incredible and fearless you actually are. XOX
nicolzanzarellaJuly 29, 2015 at 10:59 am
Fran! You glorious, beautiful spirit, you!! You are only just beginning to taste your authentic life! And I know yours is ridiculously scrumptious!!!!! Keep moving forward – happy, happy birthday!
Jerry KitchelJuly 29, 2015 at 8:45 am
…and still beautiful as ever!