I was the kid who couldn’t sleep on the eve of her 7th birthday; and not because I was overwhelmingly excited about cake and presents but rather, because I was afraid. I was 6 going on 60, having a crisis before I could even define the word.
I did not know how to be 7. How would it feel? What were the expectations? It is a joke that runs rampant during family gatherings: so insightful for a 6-year old… so poignant.
Fast forward 20 years and here I am, on the eve of my 27th birthday, over a quarter-century of life passed, and I’m having a heck of time sorting out how I feel about it.
In college, I had friends in their late 20’s who were traveling the world, they were young and passionate. Some were perusing another degree, they all had so much energy and drive… their entire lives lay ahead of them. Yet, I don’t feel like I believe they did, I feel… old.
When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a young girl in her 20’s, I see someone who has lived their life. My face is full of wrinkles and imperfections, I am tired and I ache, I don’t even recognize my body as my own.
Motherhood and success came early for me, and while I am proud of my accomplishments, I also recognize that they forced me to grow up much faster than I would have otherwise. Many of the moments I thought I would still be looking forward to have come and gone since I relinquished my youth all those years ago.
On the weekends, I am in bed by 9. I had three children before many of my peers even had one. I have had a career and “retired” from it, I’ve rung in the coveted 21, I’ve had my wedding day, and I’ve brought lives into the world. Now, my calendar consists of doctor and dentist appointments, gymnastics, story towers, and play dates.
This is not the life I was going to be living at 26; I was going to be young, wild, and free. I was going to move to Florida, travel the world, go skydiving, compete in a triathlon, celebrate my birthdays in Vegas– my life was going to be an adventure.
I’m supposed to be backpacking through Europe right now, am I really already having mid-life crisis?
But then, maybe I am on an adventure. I find myself a new daily challenge involving parenting, marriage, yoga poses, and how to eat healthier, to name a few. I am fulfilled by what exists in my life for it is real and true. My children are the lights of my life, and my husband, God bless him, adores me and treats me like a queen. I have a loving family and loving friends.
Could I really ask for more?
Am I worried I am not living the life I thought I would be living? Or am I terrified that this wonderful season of my life is going to end too soon? I find myself loving each new day more than I ever thought possible and I worry I soon will have nothing left to look forward to.
Perhaps identifying the problem is a big part of the solution.
So here I sit, about to turn another year older, hopefully another year wiser, and I am making these simple vows:
- I vow to look forward to something each day.
- I vow to focus on how truly blessed I have been, not on my fear of it being taken away.
- I vow to enjoy it while it lasts.
- I vow to love myself, down to every last scar, ache, and flaw.
- I vow to regret nothing, and not to focus on alternate universes.
The remainder of my 20s will be spent cherishing and nurturing those I love. My youth is theirs and I should me so lucky to be able to shout it from the mountain tops!
“Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once. Be comfortable with growing older.” -Louise Hay