This image by Betsy is from the 40th birthday celebration of my dear friend Karris, earlier this year. We all gathered at the lake and shared a meal with our spouses. We stayed up late into the night talking and laughing, roasting s’mores over the fire. The night began with just this group, but the group grew with neighbors and friends as it progressed.
Fortieth birthdays are such an interesting phenomenon for women.
We’re secretly terrified of what lurks beyond that day, but often outwardly celebrating in lavish ways with a wide collection of friends from our first forty years. We want to embrace it all and age with beauty. But the while the stigma associated with mid-life is fading, it’s still engrained in our minds. They say it’s totally worth it. That your best years are yet to come.
They also say as you get older, you start to worry less about what other people think of you and trying to fit in.
But what I’ve found is that its human nature to want to find a place to fit in. Our wisdom and experience certainly informs that as we get older, but in so many ways it still feels safer to fit in, to be camouflaged in the group. It’s just easier not to stand out. Easier not to be noticed.
It feels too hard to be the different one.
Clearly, we’re not the most “diverse” group of friends in the pic above, but we’re all still very different. We each have something different to bring to the table. I know most of those beauties from being friends with Karris over the years, but in general, I’m not part of the same consistent friend group. And apparently, I was the only one who took “Karris’ Kountry Fortieth” seriously enough to show up in my old cowgirl hat and dusty boots. So that night as we arrived at the lake, I felt different. I was already a little bit of an outsider, but now it was painfully obvious that I’d overdone it a little. I was different.
I had a choice.
I could take off the hat and try to fit in. Or I could own it and just be myself, because I’ve owned that old hat and those cowgirl boots since college. They are part of my story. So that’s exactly what I did and that night is in the books as one of my favorite memories of all time.
It turns out, different is good.
There’s so much pressure to fit in, but it’s mostly from the inside. What the world really needs is for you to stand out and be different, not to try to fit in. We need you to recognize what makes you different. And we need you to rock that sister.
So let us have it today.
Own what makes you different.
to more love,
P.S. If you want to learn more about what makes you special and uniquely gifted. It’s not too late to join us for our GNO on Thursday. When you register, you’ll get a link to my favorite personality test and discover your unique advantages! It’s going to be a fun one. Register here.