According to Oprah Winfrey, God’s gift to humankind is given to us on our 40th birthday. On that day, we wake up and we are the person that we are going to be for the rest of our lives. Whatever little quirks we still have laying around are ours to keep, and if we are very lucky, we will be the best outcomes of all the life lessons we have learned along the way.
Okay, so that means I have a year to really get my shit together, right? Yeah, Oprah said so. Good enough for me!
I have to share with you that I am actually pleased with myself this morning. In preparation for this blog, I looked back at my birthday blog from last year. Aptly titled Fly Away, what was on my mind most was my desire to figure out the balance between this writer life and real life of mine.
I smile because the first thing I noted in not-quite-getting-it all right was the fact that I neglected to pack my son something to sleep on for a weekend camping trip. As it so happens, from the time of this writing, I’ll be packing him up for that same annual trip this very evening. I literally just wrote SLEEPING BAG!! In big bold letters on a Post-it note and stuck it to my computer.
I also complained about how much I had to do that day, and how we didn’t have any food because I hadn’t gotten to the store. To-do lists longer than they should be and no milk for the tea. One year later, I still have a lot to do today, but nothing I can’t handle. I giggle because I squeezed a quick trip to the store in yesterday so the staples would not run out. The to-do list is ever growing and never ending, but I’m not behind on it. And as I sit here typing my words I do so with a fresh pot of tea and all the milk I need.
Soccer pictures are also the same evening this year. Only today, I will not be driving across town to get socks. I have them. The uniform is clean, ready, and waiting.
Seems like in the last 365, I found the balance I was looking for. It’s still not perfect. I sit here, looking at the clock that’s about to strike one and feel the chances of me getting everything done slipping through my fingers. I also still have no plan for a child’s birthday…two days from now. I repeat the same sentiment from last year’s blog – Mom of the year, right here!
Somehow, I know it will all work out. It always does.
And that’s kind of what I’ve been thinking about today as I wonder what I’ll be looking for in my journey of the next 365. Last year I hoped for balance. This year, I think maybe a little grace would be good.
While my teens and 20s were the decades of grabbing on and holding onto everything with such eager willingness, my 30s has been the decade of letting go.
I’m not perfect at it, but like I said, I’ve got a whole year to figure out it.
What I do know, is that with all of these things around me, as I decide what stays and what goes, I hope that I will be able to navigate it with a little grace mixed in.
I could give you a list, right now, without even thinking about it of all the stuff that still bugs me about me. I have a teenager. Trust me when I say no matter how far you think you’ve come, those pesky features that are still kind of hanging around will show up on your teenage child and you will see just how far you still have to go. The worst thing about my child is that he is the unrefined version of me. I see it, and I want to smack myself for it. Genetics are a bitch.
I could also give you a list of things I have overcome in this last decade. Lessons I have learned. Easy ones, and hard ones. The benefit to that unrefined version of you walking around in the color of the next generation is that you do get to see how far you’ve actually come. Thank God.
I see things on the horizon that I don’t like. Things I will have to finally admit, I have to let go of. Things that I love, and don’t think I can breathe without. What I know in my heart is that they aren’t mine. They were mine, for a beautiful and lovely chapter of my life, and as I lay these last few pages down I know they will not follow me into the next. What I need to learn in this next year is how to let go, and mourn, with grace. I’m not there yet because my instincts are screaming for me to hold on even when I know I can’t. It’s going to hurt. Well more than I am prepared for now.
There are things that I will say goodbye to that aren’t as hard. In fact, I could give you a list of all things I will be happy to part ways with. Like I said, my 30s have been about letting go. There have been moments where I have thrown habits, relationships, fears, doubts, prejudgments, and stupidity out the proverbial window in a giant and ceremonious confetti bomb. I am free from this.
With the bad, there has been so much good. My 30s has been the decade that I experienced the family life that I was only building the foundation for in my 20s. I am smack dab in the middle of my minivan years. My calendar would make your head hurt. There are sports, and scouting, and church, and cookouts, and family gatherings…more events than I have empty calendar boxes. Not to mention this little writing thing I’ve got going on. I could not be more grateful for the chaos.
While I spent my 20s dreaming of the one days and some days, my 30s have been full of them. As far as to-do lists go, I just about nailed it.
I stand here, on my precipice, knowing these are the last 365 days of a decade that will most likely be the last one to hold the big, earth-shattering changes of my life. While that excites me to know that I’m almost done becoming ME, it kind of freaks me out a little too. I hope I do it well, and I hope I do it with grace.
I am still learning…