Kaleidoscope 10/40: A question so nice, we’ll ask it thrice

Kaleidoscope 10/40: A question so nice, we’ll ask it thrice
DALL-E making a pixelated metaphor of starting small, with a kaleidoscope effect

Hey friends,

One of the interesting things about big birthdays is confronting what you imagined that age to be. 

Emotionally, I am quite happy to be (almost) 40. I’m aware that it is supposed to be the least happy decade of life (the science), but I’ve consistently been content with my emotional maturation.

I wish it were still as easy to make new friends as it was as a youngster and I delight in the anticipation and excitement of a life that has so much uncertainty to unfold… but I’m quite content to be in my almost-40 brain and not 15 or 25 year old Rebecca. Honestly, she was kind of a mess.

Physically, I do not want to be my imagined version of 40 — or America’s version of 40, for that matter. It seems to me that, somewhere it our 30’s, most of us transition from player to spectator. 

I just found out that one of the new star players for the Seahawks was born the year I graduated from college. WHAT?!?!

Which brings us to today’s question…

What is invisible — what would I realize I deeply value if it were to go away tomorrow?

For almost all of us, one of the biggies is health. 

One of my closest friends, Dave, had to have emergency back surgery last week. 

There’s nothing like losing some of your health — or watching someone, up close, lose theirs — to make you appreciate all the things that you can do.

For me, it goes further than just non-sickness. For as long as I can remember, I have valued not really having to think about my body or my fitness to do just about anything that comes up (that sounds like fun.)

I didn’t think twice about going on a 6 hour paddle board tour (against the current) with my sister-in-law despite never spending more than 20 minutes on a board before that. I’m always down for the hike up the mountain — whatever mountain. 

Okay, I’m not going to join you on a ten mile run, but 18 year old Rebecca would not have wanted to join that either.

My body — my health, my strength and my fitness — have underpinned this ability, invisibly. 

And a couple of years ago, it became radically apparent that I had ignored this aspect of myself and my values.

I caught myself winded doing a 20 minute uphill walk and I couldn’t deny that I was 30 pounds heavier than my body’s ‘pretty easy to maintain with moderately good decision making’ weight. 

Unlike Dave’s surgery, which was acute and pretty sudden, my descent away from my health was slow and largely invisible itself.

It came not from any moment in time, but from the slow erosion of previous norms and habits into slightly less aligned one.

In this story, I waited until the invisible forced its way into my consciousness — becoming visible, quite literally, and experientially. 

But in an ideal world, I would keep my invisible values — those things that you don’t realize you miss until they are gone — front and center in my mind and my actions. 

And I hope that my next decade brings a lot of that kind of intentionality.

Until tomorrow,

PS — The question 'What is invisible' is such a powerful one, we'll ask it again (and again)! And I'd love to know what is invisible, but highly valued, for you.