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A Little Older, A Little Thinner

It's my birthday today, so I get to enjoy some personal time doing things that aren't the least bit parental. I took a bubble bath, had Starbucks delivered by my sweet family, and soon we are off to a play cafe (more coffee for me, and some play time for the kiddo). I will be making some cream cheese icing later today so that Hubbs and Little L can ice my cake (you know, the one I won't be eating because of carbs), but otherwise I'm washing my hands of all mundane life chores today, with the exception of doing laundry, because when am I *not* doing laundry?!

I also get to reflect on the last year, which was the first one I've had in this decade of life. You know, the season oft-referred to as middle age. I have to be honest, I don't feel like I'm in middle age, and as my numbers go up, I keep thinking that middle age is a different phase of life far, far down the road. Like, maybe it refers to people in their 50's, but it certainly doesn't refer to *me.*

Anyway, this was a turning point year for me professionally. I have been a teacher for nearly two decades on and off, since my career didn't exactly follow the usual trajectories of most educators. While there was a time when I thought I might return to the classroom full-time once Little L was a bit older, I've since reconsidered. I was introduced last year to a program called Structures of Intellect, which is actually a fairly established program that has been around for several decades. It hasn't taken off in Canada in the same way that it did in the U.S., although I think funding cuts and such have also reduced its popularity down south in recent decades. In a nutshell, SOI is a program that assesses people on their fundamental academic abilities and skills, the ones that everyone would need in order to be effective learners. Then, based on their learning profiles, certain exercises and modules are recommended to help them bolster their cognitive abilities in the areas that are underperforming. Basically, it's like brain training to help rewire the weak parts of the brain. I will probably blog further on that, especially once the website is up and I'm in full-on marketing mode, but for now, let's just say that I am taking as much training as I possibly can in this field of alternative education, and am astounded by the science that is emerging to support its effectiveness as a learning tool for remedial learners. I'm happy to say that I have found a good niche that allows me to use both of my degrees and also help kids who don't have formal learning disabilities or diagnoses, but are "falling through the cracks" of the educational system due to things like poor retention or visual processing challenges.

My hope is to set up a learning centre in the next couple of years, and to have a dedicated space where people can be assessed, work through the physical exercises as well as paper and computer modules, and find success and improvements in their cognitive function. This past year was when I was given clarity and direction into my career, so I am thankful that God is opening up a door for me to take this less-trodden path.

My 40th year also set me on a road towards a healthier me. The low-carb diet that I started to follow in October has proven to be fairly easy to incorporate into my life, and I have responded well to it. I've only lost 26 pounds so far, and am kind of at a plateau at the moment because I haven't prioritized clean eating during my birthday/Vday month. However, I'm back on the wagon tomorrow, because while I'm down about 2 clothing sizes, I'm still nowhere near my goal yet. The great thing, though, is that a host of crappy health issues I had before are no longer issues! That's huge in my books, since I plan to live long enough to watch my kiddo walk down the aisle one day several decades from now!

Finally, being 40 (now 41) has also meant that I no longer have an F's to give. The trappings of self-consciousness and people-pleasing that may have influenced my choices in my twenties, and even my thirties, have all but dissipated. I'm finding a more authentic, more confident me as a result, and I'm feeling more at peace with my ideas and beliefs and the crazy world around me.

I am so thankful, too, that God has given me the most patient and amazing man to grow old with. I'm forever grateful that the man the Lord chose for me is really truly my perfect match. For my birthday this year, he wrote me a poem, which I have his permission to share on here. It's all rights reserved, though (so he tells me), so please don't plagiarize.

Grow old with me
As our hair turns shades of gray,
With the passing of each day
As I get lines from smiles
And grinning at your wiles.

Grow old with me, 
As that hair fades into white,
As the day sets into night
As our girl goes from five to ten
And then twenty years again.

Grow old with me,
As we look upon amazed
At the woman that we have raised
Who now has children of her own,
And grows her family and a home.

Grow old with me,
So we can walk along the shore,
Recall adventures held before,
And I'll thank the Lord for all the time
That I've been yours and you've been mine.

Grow old with me,
And if you get confused and say
"What day is it today?"
I will smile at you and boast
"It's the day I love you the most."

Grow old with me
Until there's no sight left to see
Until there's no place left to be
Except with the One who is above,
The One who taught us how to love.

Grow old with me
Because you know, I love you so...

Grow old with me,
Until there's no more old to grow.


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