Turning 40 this past December was exhilarating for me. I hoped this decade would be the decade where I found myself, found my voice, and learned what I wanted. I longed for the confidence age would bring. Halfway through this first year, I have learned quite a few lessons.

Becoming comfortable with ourselves has nothing to do with our age. The quiet confidence which leads to comfort and assurance is found in quiet meditation, reflection, and growth. Learning to be comfortable with my body, came from learning to appreciate all my body has done for me, all it has gotten me through. Being confident in my words and thoughts meant I learned to leave the folly of youth behind, I came to understand not everything needs a response, weighing the time and energy something will cost has lead me to look at situations differently, to appreciate silence, and to understand it’s about accomplishing our objectives, not being right.

Part of the journey I have embarked on this year is to be healthier. I am tracking what I eat, the calories I burn and how much water I drink. I have reduced my sugar intake and worked to become more active and stronger. In 2018 when I graduated from physical therapy, my goal was to age well, to overcome past injuries and to be as strong as I can. I know the quality of my life is directly associated with my health.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I found ourselves in Bad Boys Gym, owned by boxer Grady Brewer. A local legend, I was honored to work with him. A few days before my appointment with Grady, B mentioned she would like to learn to box. As we visited, Grady asked if we were interested in boxing lessons, to be honest, I was more than intimidated, but I knew this was important to B, and as any parent would do, I said yes.

The first class I swallowed my pride and entered the gym. As I looked around, I quickly saw I was old enough to be everyone’s mother. I said a silent prayer I would not embarrass B and joined the class. Looking back, I learned something. We do not give ourselves or our bodies enough credit, we are capable of so much more than we believe. When we put our mind to something new, we have the ability to learn it, we must first have the courage to try.

Each class, I get a little stronger, a little lighter on my feet. Each class, I learn something new about myself. I have found the quiet peace that comes from a hard workout. Practicing flipping a tire has taught me to be fearless. If I have the strength to flip a tire multiple times, then I have the strength to face whatever comes at me. Learning to guard my face and body when throwing a punch has shown me the importance of guarding my thoughts and words, not everything I think must be said. Practicing being light on my feet has shown me I can be nimble as I navigate and pivot challenges in situations. Showing up to every class no matter how tired I am has proven to me that I am doggedly determined to achieve my goals.

Stepping out of my comfort zone is challenging but was one of the best things I have ever done. At the last class, when I got a high five and was told I was doing well, I knew in that moment I can and will accomplish every goal I have.

I love to hear from my readers, you can reach me at believestrengthpassion@gmail.com.

Sara Orellana-Paape lives in Lawton.

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