42 and more than childless . . .

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of cupcakes on "42 and more than childless...," on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog

Saturday, April 13th is my birthday.  I will be 42-years-old.  Originally, I thought about writing a post entitled “42 and Menopause” to mark this occasion.  But the more I considered this, the more I realized that I did not want to focus on something that causes much grief for many childless women.  Don’t get me wrong.  We should talk about menopause and all issues related to women’s health.  I just wanted my birthday post to be about who I truly am, rather than something that is happening to me.

Thinking back to 41…

As I considered this, I recalled the blog I posted last year, “41 and Childless.”  It was one of my favorite blogs of 2018.  That post not only explored who I truly am, but (as I love to do), it also looked at several key moments in my life with a different perspective…  (You can read that post here…)

Back to the present…

All this rolling around in my head, I attended aerial dance practice.  Currently, I am working on another solo performance.  This time, however, I got to choose the music, and I am choreographing it by myself.  (Well, with some guidance from my amazing instructor.)  Right now, I’m at the “not so pretty” phase.  Pushing myself to do new moves, my entire piece is a bit bumpy.  But I know that will get better…

As I left aerial dance class, my pink purse slung over my arm, taking a drink from my pink water bottle and wearing my pink tennis shoes paired with the t-shirt emblazoned with a martini that we bought while celebrating our childfree Halloween in New Orleans, I realized that I really am embracing my childless life.  I am living my life, my way.

And it dawned on me.  I’m not 42 and menopausal.  I’m not even 42 and childless.  I am 42 and more than childless.

YES!  That’s it!  That’s my post!  I smiled as I told myself once again, “I am 42 and more than childless!”

Harnessing my goddess at aerials…

One of the places I feel most like myself is at aerials.  It is where I harness my inner goddess and push myself, proving that I can do anything I set my mind to.

I’ve mentioned before that I am not a roller coaster gal.  When I tell you this, I mean that I screamed so loudly on a kiddie ride when I was 8-years-old that they had to stop the thing and let me off.  I abhor that feeling in your stomach…  The one my oldest niece says “tickles.”  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  YUCK!  When we went on the Harry Potter ride at Universal (because I didn’t want to disappoint Bruna), I literally cried because I was so scared.  So, aerials?  Yes, they push my comfort zone…

But I’ve realized that is a good thing.

Pushing past the fear…

Over the years, I had become quite cautious.  I didn’t like to do things that I wasn’t good at.  And if I wasn’t sure if I was good, I simply didn’t do it.  I had become quite timid.  My inner goddess buried deep within.

With encouragement from my aerial teachers, however, I took a leap of faith and began rehearsing for my first sling performance.  Quite uncertain that I had the stamina or strength to perform for three and a half minutes, I trusted my teachers when they told me I could handle it.  During class, I huffed and puffed.  I messed up and made faces.  Occasionally, a swear word even flew from my mouth!  (Not common for me, but S.O.B. happens when I’m really frustrated…)  But I kept going.  I kept trying.  I was determined to figure it out and perform!

And you know what?  I did it.  I built up my strength and stamina, learned all the moves, and did a solo performance at the end of August 2018.  And it was one of the most amazing moments of my adult life!

Embracing the imperfections…

The performance was going perfectly until…  It was just one tiny mistake.  A fan kick that I didn’t quite get and had to try again.  It’s such a simple move!  I got the straddle invert, the mermaid sequence, the candy cane roll-ups…  But a fan kick?!  Grrrr!  I couldn’t believe I had messed up…

But this experience was so wonderful that I didn’t want to ruin it by focusing on one tiny, little flaw.

And so, I changed perspective.  I realized that the little wobble is actually what makes this performance perfect.  Because that little wobble reminds me that life is imperfectly perfect.  Stuff happens.  But that doesn’t mean everything is ruined.  It just means there was a bump along the way.

And this entire aerial performance journey—from I don’t know if I can do this to almost perfect performance…  Well, isn’t that what the childless journey is like?

When going through infertility, I did not know if I would make it.  I leaned on others—my husband, friends, family, my doctors—who told me that I could do this.  And I was determined to do this…

A huge bump hit when Dane and I realized that “doing this” meant accepting a childless life.

But I faced those fears and began to redefine, to embrace what is…

Yes, there have been wobbles along the way.  But that is part of this imperfectly perfect life…

I am 42 and more than childless!

Photo collage of Brandi Lytle, founder of Not So Mommy... on "42 and more than childless" blog postSo, as I face 42, going through menopause, still childless, grieving the passing of my best friend, I will harness my inner goddess and face my fears, knowing that bumps and wobbles are not the end.  They are part of the journey.  They will make me stronger.  And just as I was proud that I performed my first aerial solo, I will be proud that I made it through these tough times…

I am 42, and I am more than childless!

Fabulous ones, recently I created several Facebook frames with the olive green Childless Not By Choice Awareness Ribbon.  One of them (shown above) includes the statement, “I am childless, but I am NOT less…”  It would be an amazing birthday present if you lovely ones would flood social media with the CNBC ribbon!  Let’s show the world what being childless really looks like!

Wanna see my solo aerial performance?!?!  Just click here

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Featured Photo:  Brooke Lark on StockSnap.io

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Sherry Stout April 9, 2019 - 8:24 am

42 never looked so good!!?? Can’t wait to see your next aerial performance. So very proud of all your accomplishments, big and small. You are amazing!

Brandi Lytle April 9, 2019 - 11:53 am

Awww! Thank you so much! You are pretty amazing yourself… 🙂

Mali April 8, 2019 - 11:56 pm

Happy Birthday for Saturday! And yes, I always think this is an important part of our journey too. Realising that being childless is not who we are, it is simply a part of who we are, and we are so much more. So I’m glad you focused on that for this post.

(PS. Did you see my menopause and childless series?)

Brandi Lytle April 9, 2019 - 11:56 am

Thank you for reading, Mali! I’m glad you liked the post, and I love your comment–“[being childless] is simply a part of who we are…” Very, very true!

And thank you for reminding me about your menopause and childless series! I meant to go back and read all of it. I want to share a blog post from that series with my Not So Mommy… audience, as well. 🙂


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