How I’m intentionally grateful for my body after 43 years

What can change in a year? Let’s explore. 

I wrote this piece a year ago and thought it would be interesting to see where I stand today.  In summary: still aging, still fighting to maintain health, still fluffy around the midsection. Read on for more:

Dear Body,

You came into this world 42 years ago today.  For so many of those years, I took you for granted.  Each limb, each organ, has seamlessly worked together to allow me to move in any way I’ve asked.  Today I thank you as individuals for your contributions and endurance. 2017 update: 43 years. How can this be? I feel like my mom and I are the same age now!

Happy birthday, Arms – You’ve carried two babies of your own and countless others.  You lift groceries and blow kisses to your son as he heads off to school on his bike. Your strength is evident in push-ups and bicep curls, although unassisted pull-ups you still have to conquer.  Maybe we can create a 2017 goal? 2017 update: Fail on the pull-ups. Wondering if this may be a lost cause?? Or perhaps I just need to actually work at it.

Happy birthday, Legs – Nearly a quarter of your life was spent in dance class, learning rhythm and awareness.  You have carried us through college socials, fuzzy late nights, and dance parties with our boys.  Somewhere in the midst I learned to embrace your large muscles, rather than wish for a thigh gap. You’ve endured miles of running and walking. In turn, I try to take tender care of you with Glide and compression shorts to prevent chafing.  You allow me to run, lunge and jump squat to my heart’s content. 2017 update: We’ve got a half marathon in two days. Yesterday’s taper run, combined with 100% humidity, left you chafed. Whodathunk we would need Glide in November?We’ve got our work cut out for us Sunday. I’ll be wearing Pocketopia Capris from Skirt Sports just in case. Three pockets and covered legs! 

Happy birthday, Eyes – Alas, you are starting to show your age.  Admit it, you get a kick out of me trying to read the tiny print in my bible before totally waking up.  I’m sorry I didn’t eat more carrots and I promise I’ll get something soon to help you see tiny print more clearly. 2017 update: Readers are a blessing to tired and foggy eyes.

My body may be aging but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate it. Amy Connell | Graced Health

Happy birthday, Feet – The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve taken advantage you.  We’ve had some rough spots.  I haven’t cared for you properly and you, in turn, complained.  Your biggest temper tantrum comes in the form of plantar fasciitis.  My hope is we both learned from the last bout on our 41st birthday. I’m trying harder to give you the protection you need and deserve with supportive shoes and appropriate stretching.  Thank you for the miles you have taken me, and thank you in advance for the future ones. 2017 update: We’ve traveled even more miles but stay protected with Oofos and good shoes. Now if I could just keep my toenails painted…

Be intentionally grateful for each body part as you age. Amy Connell | Graced Health

Keeping my running shoes fresh has been key in keeping them pain-free.

Happy birthday, Knees – We’ve had our ups and downs, knees.  Literally, I suppose — you lift me up and down.  We’ve somehow managed to keep you from tearing or blowing out, despite my frequent, clumsy stumbles.  I think we’ve developed a mutual respect.  You keep me moving because I keep your supporting muscles strong, and in turn I foam roll those muscles to prevent injury.  Not to be picky, but is there anything to do about the saggy skin around you?  Each year you’re looking more and more like an elephant.  I won’t complain too much, but if you’re looking for a birthday present back to me, I’d gladly accept that. 2017 update: Still injury-free. Still saggy.

Happy birthday, Skin – You’re an overachiever.  I know – I know! – I get hot easily.  Your efforts to cool me down are appreciated by everything but my sweat-stenched clothes.  And I have to apologize. I haven’t taken very good care of you.  Why do you insist on looking better bronze?  Years of lying under the midday sun have made your youthful appearance, well, less youthful.  I’m really sorry I didn’t start loading up on SPF until you already started to send SOS signals in the form of crow’s feet and age spots.  But I thank you for your 42 years of cooling and protection. 2017 update: Rodan + Fields helps. So does Healthy Skoop Sweet Greens.  

Happy birthday, Heart – Every beat of yours gives me life.  I was going to calculate how many pumps you’ve given me over my lifetime but my calculator doesn’t go that high.  You do your one job approximately 42 million times a year, times 42 years.  Can you double that (at a minimum)?  I’ll keep eating the right things and making you stronger and in turn can you let me play tag with my grandkids?  I’ll drink wine for you, too.  Antioxidants, you know. 2017 update: Wine, yes please. And dark chocolate. Sometimes both at the same time. 

Happy birthday, Abs – I’m sorry, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings by putting you last.  The truth is I have to be intentional about being thankful for you.  You’re the first to tattle when I haven’t been eating right.  You refuse to lose that extra layer of fat — ahem adipose — even though you know darn well we have strong muscles back there. I have to give you credit, though: You also sport war wounds from two c-sections and you recovered nicely from those. 2017 update: Still fluffy, still giving grace and just focusing on what they can do, not what whey look like.

To the rest of my body, thank you for working together.  You respond to and move me.  You’ve climbed me to the tops of mountains and skied down others.  You’ve carried two precious baby boys who are growing into amazing young men.  Physically you aren’t perfect, but neither are my actions, words, and thoughts.  We are perfectly imperfect.  With God’s help, we will continue to gracefully get stronger, wiser and older.


But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  1 Corinthians 12:18-20

Celebrating what we can do, not how hold we are. Amy Connell | Graced Health