When I was in my twenties, I remember older women telling me “just wait until you hit 30, that metabolism will slow down so much that you won’t be able to eat a saltine without gaining five pounds.” I feared that statement so much because I valued my body like every other 25 year old does. I didn’t want to give up my youthful appearance and those delicious low-rise jeans that were so unbelievably uncomfortable and grotesquely revealing. I didn’t want to be out of shape and not be able to keep up with my future children. I love fitness-I love exercising and eating healthy, but I was so scared that once I hit 30, my body would spiral out of control and leave me lazy and hungry ALL THE TIME.
I listened to these women and let their own stories affect who I was. It wasn’t until I reached about 32 that I realized that I had to stop focusing on other people’s results and start putting the effort into my own personal results. So, I continued with my fitness obsession and because I learned what I am capable of physically, it made me yearn to discover what I was capable of on other levels. Which is why I set out to complete the novel that I had started. Once I sent my novel out to the world and realized that I could write and possibly make a career out of it, I felt as if I conquered yet another thing that people had been telling me wasn’t possible.
In my twenties, I never gave myself the option of shouting to the world “I AM UNIQUE. I AM ME.” Instead, I hid from being unique and I altered my opinions and likes/dislikes so they were in line with those around me. One thing that is unique about me is that I love exercise-I love it so much that I feel all out of sorts if I don’t get my heart rate up every day. I’m now 14 days shy of turning 35 and miraculously the same size as I was in my 20s, after having a baby. I used to get defensive when these older women would tell me that I’m destined to be sloppy and out of shape, simply because of age-now I smile and walk away.
Being in my 30s has taught me that I may not always be right, but I know who I am and I know what I’m capable of. I no longer let anyone tell me how to feel or think-I make those decisions confidently on my own. So bring on the low-rise jeans and pizza in moderation, because I know what I’m capable of!
EJ Hanagan writes women’s fiction with a focus on strong female characters. Her debut novel, Saving Jason, was recently released. An emotionally-moving look at PTSD and the intersection of three lives forever changed, Saving Jason is a riveting glimpse into lives intertwined, unexpected friendships, and the ripples we leave without our knowledge. When EJ isn’t writing and getting her fitness on, she is spending time with her husband, two giant pups and her one-year-old daughter. She currently resides in a sleepy beach town just outside of Boston. www.ejhanagan.com