I had a post for a healthy Shamrock Shake planned for today, but after seeing similar recipes on three different blogs this week, I decided to go in a different direction.
Today’s my birthday. I’m 34 years old and I say that with absolutely no trepidation. I’m fairly sure I’ll feel the same way in ten years when I’m turning 44. I loved my twenties, and now I’m loving my thirties, and I’m sure I’ll love my forties, too. I’ve learned to embrace my age and love the stage of life I’m in, as I’m living it.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was in early elementary school, I couldn’t wait to get to the upper grades so I could be in the hallway on the other side of the school. What was so much better about the hallway the big kids got to be in? Nothing, as far as I can tell, it was just different and the big kids were there and it’s where I thought I wanted to be.
Once I got there, though, my sites were set on bigger and better things. That hallway didn’t seem all that great after all, and I started dreaming about what it would be like when I got to move on to junior high. I couldn’t wait to get there.
Junior high was fun and all, but in my mind, high school was where it was at. Once I got to high school, then for sure I’d have the most fun of my life. Nothing could be better than being in high school.
Well, high school came, and as you might guess, it wasn’t the picture of perfection I’d created in my mind. Kids can be mean and there was drama and times that weren’t as fun as I envisioned. College, I decided, was where I really wanted to be. Just wait until I get to college.
Sure enough I got to college and it was great. I was on my own and having a blast with new friends.
Before long, though, I started dreaming about the next stage in my life. I just couldn’t wait to get a real job and get married. I longed for a sense of independence and wanted to carve my own place in the world as a “grown up.”
I graduated from college and was on my way to make my dreams come true. I landed my first real job, as a teacher, in a small charter school that was a part of Detroit Public Schools. I had a boyfriend I’d been dating almost four years that seemed to be The One.
That picture-perfect world I created in my mind, however, just wasn’t working out as I planned. I had a picture of how things were supposed to be, and they just weren’t that. So what did I do?
I decided to create the life I wanted to have rather than only dream about it.
I broke up with the boyfriend (who I should have realized long before wasn’t The One) and moved across the country to Arizona. I made the decision to embrace my age and the stage of life I was in. Finally, for the first time in my life, I wasn’t looking on to what was coming next, but living in the now. I loved my life just the way it was and didn’t need anything else to make it better.
I thank God that I came to that place in my life when I did, because after living in Arizona for eight months I met my future husband, Tim. I needed to be totally content, confident, and happy with where I was before I could have been ready for the relationship with Tim.
Tim and I had our time together as a dating couple, then married couple, and now a married couple with children. I’ve loved every stage of our relationship. Because I stopped always looking forward, I’ve been able to cherish each stage, each moment for what it is.
Do I sometimes have to remind myself of this? Of course. But being cognizant of it allows me to embrace this season of my life that includes less sleep than I’d like and a focus away from myself and on being the best mother to my children and wife to my husband that I can.
Sure, I’m getting older. I have more wrinkles than I did five years ago when I was finishing out my twenties. I can’t always go out and meet a girlfriend for lunch on a Saturday afternoon, I can’t easily travel, and my life seems to be planned in small snippets of time when I can fit things in between taking care of Meghan, Luke, Tim, or the house.
But I love my life just how it is. I’m not looking backward; I’m not looking forward. I’m loving where I am and enjoying each age as it comes. Welcome 34–I’m happy to have you in my life.