The Dunes: An Excerpt

by Erin Sands

In my early forties, I began going through what is culturally referred to as “the change.”

It is a time in a woman’s life when her hormones rebel against the norm and fluctuate, causing considerable emotional and physical discomfort. It is followed by my all-time favorite, the mind-boggling hormonal weight gain, which is not precipitated by bad eating habits or a lack of exercise. It just appears on your body uninvited. Yeah, it’s a fun time all around and to put it bluntly, I was not happy. My stomach, which had once been flat, was now a pudgy soft playground of goo. My vocabulary, which had once been vast, was now caught up in a perpetual hormonal brain fog, and I despised every moment of it. I hated the weight gain, I loathed the lack of clarity and I detested the private summers. All I wanted was my old body back, immediately.

My husband and I love live music, so we are often out and about supporting local or touring bands. Such was the case the night we found ourselves at The House of Blues in Hollywood, jamming to The Gap Band in concert. I would love to tell you that I was completely present for every glorious moment of that night, but I wasn’t. I spent the bulk of the evening inside my head, hating my body, hating perimenopause and lamenting about how things used to be. Every woman who walked in with the waist I used to have fueled the conversation in my mind of all I had lost, as well as musings of what I could possibly do to get it back again. I felt like it would not be until I somehow got things back to the way they used to be that I could enjoy my life and fully live again.

But here’s the thing, while I was waiting to “live again”… life was happening. Around me, joy was flowing through the air like oxygen. But instead of partaking in it, I chose to fixate on something that, in that moment, I had no control of. I was standing next to my husband, a man who loves me and my body just the way it is: we were surrounded by good friends and perfect strangers, all cheering, singing and dancing to The Gap Band’s old-school hit “Party Train” and I missed it. Life was happening, and I wasn’t there! I was in my head preoccupied with self-pity.

I was so focused on a tomorrow that is not promised that I let the now that was given slip away unappreciated.

What if that moment at The House of Blues had been my last night on earth? I would have spent my last night ungrateful and worried. What a waste of time when I could have spent the night fully engaged and present in the blessings that surrounded me. A husband who loves me unconditionally, friends who were happy to see me, jamming to a funky phenomenal band.

How much time do we lose waiting to live? How much do we never truly experience because we are not fully present in the gift that is each new day?

Book cover image provided by the author.

Erin Sands is an author, an actress and an activist. She is the author of The Dunes, a faith-based book for personal growth and the creator of The Relevant Post an online thought leaders forum featuring blogs and panel discussions on emerging political and social issues. As an actress Erin has landed guest-starring roles on critically acclaimed shows like “NCIS” and “Southland” as well as popular sitcoms like TV One’s, “Love That Girl.”