A dear friend recently gifted me a bracelet inscribed with the motto “she believed she could, so she did.” In the past, my pessimistically superstitious nature wouldn’t willingly don such an item, feeling as I did that to do so would be to court certain failure. But you know what? I’m feeling pretty darn sassy these days and have been wearing it with glee. So many things seems possible, easy even. Like this morning, I was hemming and hawing about heading out for this daily run of mine and I imagined seeing friends over the holiday and having then enquire how the running streak was going. What was I going to say? “I couldn’t do it?” Given that neither of my legs currently sport a cast, that’s a damn lie. I know I can, so out I went.

It’s that sort of certainty that has me feeling so good these days—which, again, given my cynical nature, is darn surprising. I’d always heard the breathless promise that women feel great, fabulous, in their forties and fifties, and had pretty much chalked it up to an old wives tale. I know plenty of crabby women of every age. It just always seemed that the women who were awesome in middle age, were awesome all their lives and the women that spent the previous decades anxious and upset, well, they’re the ones ahead of me in line at SuperTarget, demanding to see the manager.

But now I’m old. Yup. It happened a couple of weeks ago last Wed. just like flipping a light switch. It was the afternoon I brought home half a ginger chai latte and put it in the refrigerator to save it for the next day. Boom. Old. Since then, I haven’t been able to read a single thing with out my reading glasses, I’ve purchased a woolen peacoat that comes to mid-thigh–fashion be damned– because my butt gets uncomfortably cold in the winter weather, plus, today I found myself lingering over a grey cowl-neck sweater with the faintest shimmer in the fabric because I found it “snazzy.” The fact that I, Melanie Danke, am feeling happier and less stressed and more confident than I ever have should be good news to all women out there.

I’ve spent much of my life as that anxious woman, wringing my hands over hypothetically looming doom. I often reference this article a friend of mine read that hypothesized the reason our ancestors flourished over other primates wasn’t our big brain, but that we were more curious, more willing to throw caution to the wind. Let me tell you, up until recently I wasn’t a very curious monkey. I like to stick close to the bananas and my monkey buddies. I’d never even broken a bone until this year and, sure, I broke it smashing it tipsily into the coffee table in my very own living room, but given that I was training for an Ultra at the time, we’re going to call it a training injury.

But now my appetite has been whetted. The past few years I’ve done some things that are definitely outside my comfort zone. Couple that with the lesson that, maybe, whether I succeed or fail doesn’t have a whole lot to do with my ultimate value as a person, and I find myself eagerly scanning the horizon for new, monkey adventures. I want to test things out, see how far these little monkey arms can swing.

In the spirit of newness, I’ve asked Hubby to help me to use the power saw. Not that I couldn’t do it, myself, you understand, I just want someone there to call 911. You know, just in case. I’ve decided that the rest of this decade is dedicated to competence. Competence and building all kinds of pallet projects off Pinterest. Becoming proficient with power tools is the first step for both. I don’t think it will be so hard. Besides, I believe I can. And so I’m gonna’.

The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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