I’m turning sixty. It’s actually a huge step for me to admit my age or even talk about having a birthday—especially this birthday. I think most people who know me understand that I rarely disclose personal details and that my social media posts are largely regulated to cat videos and New Orleans Saints news. But because this birthday is a huge freaking deal to me and is weighing heavily on my mind, I’ve decided to go all in and grab it by the neck and wave it around like a flag in a hurricane on Galveston Island. I’m not going to be ashamed about it, and I’m going to embrace it like a long lost cousin who holds the fountain of youth.
To begin the BIG DAY, I’ve planned an extra morning run with my running coach, Tim, who promises a “special” session to kick off the festivities. Those of us who know Tim know that means I’m probably going to die. The very next day, I have a session with my 67-year-old, former bodybuilder trainer, and I’ve asked her to give me an extra hard workout to start this new decade. In addition, I plan to run a 5K that week to celebrate my new age group.
See how I’m grabbing this 6-0 by the neck? At the same time, my Gremlins are kicking in, and I’ve enlisted a Certified Life Coach to help me wrap my head around this new reality. We’ll work on those Gremlins together.
What’s a Gremlin, you ask? A Gremlin is a term used in iPEC Coaching to describe the part in each of us that attempts to hold us back and tell us that we’re not good enough. It might say stuff like, “You’re too old” or “You look too tired to record a coaching video.” Other common thoughts include, “Don’t even try, you’ll fail,” or even, “You’re a loser.”
Gremlin work can actually be fun to tackle, as it taps into the deeply–buried part of us that keeps us from reaching our true potential and leading the life we truly desire. I am a pretty confident person, but this aging thing has dampened my zest a bit. Okay, maybe more than a bit. I have more aches and pains. I get sick more often than I used to. My knees prevent me from running that 50–miler I’ve always wanted to finish.
Attacking my Gremlin means exploring how untrue the nonsense I’m telling myself is. Beating myself up and limiting myself because of my age is not going to serve me well. As I’ve learned in coach training, I will give my Gremlin another task. Instead of it being the voice inside my head telling me that I’m too old, it will now be my own personal cheerleader. Whenever I feel “less than” or constricted in some way, my Gremlin will now be the voice inside my head that will loudly exclaim, “You can do it! Just get out there.” Or even better, “Behave how you feel and ignore the number.”
Don’t we all deserve our own personal cheerleader that we can summon any time we want a boost? My new Gremlin’s going to be with me while I rock and roll all the way to the next decade. She is going to push me to be uncomfortable, encourage me to take risks, and most of all, she is going to be my personal support system and friend. Instead of “You can’t do this,” she will say, “Of course you can. What are you waiting for?”
I look forward to entering this new decade with my Gremlin. I can only hope she’s ready for it, too.