Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Truth About Your Late 30's


The Truth About Your Late 30's


I turned 37 last year.
It’s all new stuff, folks.
There are some downsides…
If I don’t wear eyeliner, I don’t really look like a person. I remember a day where I didn’t even own eyeliner.

I can’t think about fresh from the oven, puffy, white rolls. I can’t look at the rolls. I definitely can’t eat four of the rolls with butter. Well, I can, but then I weigh more than I did the last time I was pregnant.

I think my skin has gotten weird. Like it’s more sensitive to stuff than it used to be. And don’t tell me that I just need more probiotics. I started drinking Kombucha and I think I gained 5 pounds. For real.

Because that’s what happens when you drink things that are not water after the age of 35. It’s like liquid fat, no matter how “healthy” it is for you.

The kids are finally old enough that all four of them sleep through the night. I looked forward to this day for a long time. I was pretty sure it would be awesome. I felt sorry for myself frequently when I was nursing and staying up all night for 8 years straight.

Turns out, when it’s finally over, your adrenals are so worn out you can’t actually sleep more than six hours at a time. Then you wake up, at 4 am, and wonder what’s going on with the world.

If you try to develop new “good habits” like going to bed early, you just wake up to pee at 1 am and can’t get back to sleep.

When you are 37 you are a “real” adult. You do things like pay for health insurance and worry about not having life insurance. Because you are actually old enough to have a heart attack.

Or get pregnant.

This aligns with the other universe you have entered- old enough for wrinkles but young enough for zits.

It’s a strange place to be.

I remember when I thought the hardest thing ever would be having a bunch of babies. Haha. I laugh at myself!

Haha!

The middle aged women weren’t even messing around when they said that I should enjoy those moments. They weren’t crazy. They weren’t forgetful.

NO- they had middle schoolers! They knew the end game!

It gets worse.

I saw a movie in the grocery checkout today. It was called, “Middle School- the worst years of my life,” and was ironically talking about the middle-schooler’s perspective.

I make an angry snort at this point.

Because everyone who has had a middle-schooler knows that it’s much harder on the parents.

I recently did a Google search for, “perimenopause.” I had never even heard of this word a short time ago. Now, I’m trying to figure out if I have it.

You know what else is true about your late 30s? It’s a lot like puberty or childbirth. I remember being shocked by puberty. I seriously did not know what was happening with my body.

Pregnancy is the same way.

I remember looking down and seeing these purple lines on my legs and wondering what they were. I had no idea that you could get stretch marks on places besides your belly.

And birth- don’t even get me started. Women tell horror stories, but so much is left out about the realities of childbirth- you know what I mean; all those tiny things that we are ashamed of and so don’t pass on.

Other moms just end up getting blind-sided, the same way we were.

Now, here I am again.

I’m a woman. My body is continuing to change. And I don’t know what’s going on. Nobody seems to really want to talk about it either.

I’m left feeling...well, I'm feeling a little bit crazy.

Once again, I’m also wondering if nobody talks about this stuff, or if I just wasn’t paying attention. If I look a little deeper, I also wonder why it is that we seem so generally embarrassed by all things female.

Maybe I’m reading into it a little, maybe I just wasn’t listening. Or maybe women are kind of embarrassed.

I admit, I was shuddering when I bought a jar of wild yam and some chaste tree tincture.
It’s kind of like buying tampons for the first time.

So there it is ladies, the TRUTH about your late 30's.

You need eye makeup.

Your kids get mean.

Your lady parts start freaking out in reverse.

You can’t eat carbs without immediate consequence.

You consider "friending" Christiane Northrup on Facebook. (She writes books about old lady health, in case you haven't heard of her. You will.)

And you don’t know who to talk to about it.

I’m painting a pretty picture, am I not?!

The upside is you stop caring so much about what people think of you and you’re about 10 years away from comfortably farting in public. You're more comfortable in your own skin and more confident, despite a softening middle.

So there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

May those of us who don't shop in the "Women's" or the "Junior" department, UNITE!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

There Are No Adults



There Are No Adults

I’ve had this overwhelming desire lately to be more grown up.

Here I am, in my late 30’s, and I’m constantly acting like a pre-teen. I’m crying for no reason. I’m getting upset. I’m losing my cool. I’m having all the “feelings.”

It’s kind of lame.

And I don’t think I’m going through menopause a touch early. Life has been happening and there have been some things that were tough for me.

There has been this social media craze as of late about “adulting.”

People don’t want to “adult” anymore. They just want to drink a bunch of wine and binge watch Netflix.

Apparently.

I don’t drink wine, but I fully understand the sentiment.

I keep looking at people who are older than me and wishing, with all my heart, that I could be mature.

When I was 17 I thought people my age were mature. But here I am and I feel like I’m barely hanging on. And oh my gosh, I really want a milkshake!


I was talking to a friend the other day and he said, “There are no adults.”


You look around when you are younger and you see the “adults” and you think they MUST have it together.

Obviously some people are irresponsible and silly. But you know the ones I mean.

The teachers. The parents. The stable, functional, ADULTS who you assume are not freaking out inside.

But then you get to be one of those people.

Middle aged.

Stable.

Boring even.

And yet…

You’re freaking out on the inside!


You still don’t know how to handle life. All the problems are new all the time.

You may have mastered getting a baby to sleep or flipping pancakes, but you are still totally baffled when your own parent is at death’s door. How do you handle THAT?!

Or when your previously perfect child starts mouthing off and who knows what else.

And how do you handle it when your kids have a hard time with something? Who knew that this stuff would actually be harder than the 10 years you didn’t sleep?

Or the everyday drudgery of a stable adult life that makes everyone around you able to function and feel safe- It’s actually kind of hard to do, day in and day out.

It all feels like a sick joke.

You are the adult in the room. You are the one who has to handle this stuff. And just like there isn’t a book for puberty or middle school, there is no manual for this.

Despite your regular boring-ness and your bill paying and your insurance premiums and your worries about paperwork- you still don’t know what to do with half of the problems life throws at you.

My friend’s words- “There are no adults,” were perhaps the most comforting ones I have heard in a long time.

(I think he heard them from someone else, but I don’t know who…)

I had been going through life thinking, assuming, that the people that were older than me had it all together. I was pretty sure they had the answers.

I knew, without a doubt, that they no longer lost their temper.

I knew they were handling stuff. There were kicking butt. They were taking names.

They were, to use the popular (yet somehow annoying term), ADULTING successfully.

I think I was wrong.

Or maybe I am just HOPING I’m wrong!

It’s not just me who doesn’t have it all figured out. Being 37 isn’t a guarantee that you always know what to do and then successfully execute said amazing plan.

Maybe you hide it better.

(I’m not hiding it well.)

Maybe you pay your car insurance.

Maybe you get the kids to school (mostly) on time.

But that doesn’t mean that you don’t freak out on the inside.

In fact, it doesn’t mean you don’t freak out on the OUTSIDE.

We are all, no matter our age, probably in some kind of struggle.

The nature of life- the hard part, but the part that teaches us stuff, is that we are always being pushed outside our comfort zone. We are always given the unique opportunity to learn, to grow, to find some wisdom.

This doesn’t stop because you are middle aged. It doesn’t EVER stop. (Unless it stops at 38, which would be awesome.)

Hopefully we all gain some wisdom as we travel this journey. Life makes it hard NOT to learn some things. Hopefully the older we get the more understanding we have of the path we already walked. This should give us perspective and some good advice to pass on to those who are just lacing up their hiking shoes.

But the age, the learning, and the perspective, doesn’t mean that our current situation- the new ones that challenge us in ways we hadn’t been challenged before- isn’t really hard and different and overwhelming.

I hope I keep learning.

I hope as time goes on, that I gain greater self control and self mastery.

I hope I remember that things work out and freak out a little less.

I hope I act less like a spoiled child as I age.

But when I don’t meet all my own hopes and expectations, it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not the only one.

I’m in good company with a bunch of other adults who don’t quite know how to be adults.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

50 Things I Hope My Children Remember


50 Things I Hope My Children Remember

50 Things I Hope My Children Remember


I think I’m getting older.
I’m starting to wonder...and worry, about all the things my children will remember after I’m gone.
Most days it seems like all they remember is the mistakes I make and none of the good advice.
Yes, you should really put your toothbrush back in the holder every time.
Really.
What do I want them to remember after I’m gone? Or even just after they move out and do their own things.
So very much…

  1. Always wear your shoes in a public bathroom. I don’t know their names, but I’m pretty sure you can get weird diseases through your feet. (This is where I tell the story about how I took a shower once at the fairgrounds after puking on an awful ride and I got fungus. It was gross.)
  2. If you HAVE to change your clothes in a public bathroom, carefully slip out of your shoes, then STAND on them while you replace your pants. It requires some balance, but it’s worth it. Remember the foot fungus story.
  3. Everything is a phase. This counts for babies, crap jobs, tiny bank accounts, and pretty much everything. Most of it doesn’t last.
  4. Some things however, are supposed to last. Some things are supposed to last forever. Your family and your marriage is one of these things. It’s one of the only things in life that you should really fight for even when it looks dismal.
  5. Choose carefully who you marry. Don’t be too quick, but don’t take too long either. And pay more attention to similar values than how much you want to see them naked.
  6. Speaking of being naked, don’t stress too much about physical beauty. It’s hard to find someone attractive when they are a jerk, even if they have great abs and no wrinkles. After a while, you don’t really notice what they look like anyway.
  7. Appreciate your body. Too many of us spend too many years worrying about sag or droop or wrinkles or scars. Those things don’t make us ugly, they remind us where we have been and what really matters.
  8. Read, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” It’s got some good lessons in it.
  9. Read Jane Austin. She remembers what love feels like, but she also remembers that behaving properly matters too.
  10. Read, “Middlemarch.” George Eliott understood marriage.
  11. Just read a lot. It can actually make you a better person. It’s OK to read junky murder mysteries too... At least I hope so.
  12. Money doesn’t buy happiness. You can have money and be miserable. But I’m pretty sure it can help a little. With happiness. Because being broke really does suck.
  13. Don’t worry so much about your babies sleeping through the night. I’m pretty sure the stress about the expectation is worse than the reality. They sleep eventually.
  14. Don’t think you have to do your regular life when you have a new baby. See above.
  15. People aren’t perfect.
  16. Forgive them anyway.
  17. Especially if you’re related or married.
  18. Also, news flash- forgiveness is a commandment not because other people deserve it. It’s so we aren’t miserable being angry all the time at stuff other people did. Basically it’s a gift for YOU, not the jerk. Don’t waste it.
  19. If you haven’t accomplished something by the time you are 25, that doesn’t actually mean you won’t accomplish it.
  20. Did I mention life doesn’t end at 25? (Well, unless it does.)
  21. In fact, you probably won’t really know who you are until you are 33. It’s like a magic age or something. (Remember what I told you about Tom Cruise’s wives always leaving him when they turned 33? It’s true.)
  22. Also, be careful about decisions you make at 33. Some people really freak out.
  23. Unless you’re married to Tom Cruise. Then it’s probably time to move on.
  24. Laugh at yourself. At least this way, SOMEONE is laughing at your jokes. Sometimes others catch on.
  25. Be respectful.
  26. It’s not super respectful to expect other people to pick up your socks.
  27. So pick up your dang socks.
  28. And put them in the hamper.
  29. Your roommate or spouse is annoying. So are you. Don’t forget it.
  30. Always say thank you. To checkers at the grocery. To the guy who hands you your burger. To teachers, friends, your kids, your spouse. It’s polite. But it’s more than that too.
  31. Be grateful. Even when things are awful. The best way to be unhappy is to forget gratitude. I promise if you are unhappy you are focusing on your lack, not your blessings.
  32. Write in a journal. You can even write about the bad stuff. Going back to read it can remind you that you got through things you didn’t think you could. In fact, you’ll realize that some of the stuff you thought was just horrendous, you can’t even remember it anymore. It gives you some perspective.
  33. Exercise every day. Do something. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
  34. For goodness sake, eat your vegetables. You’re a grown up. And they are good for you.
  35. Drink water. Don’t drink hardly anything else. It’s pretty much all bad, except for water.
  36. Remember your siblings. They are the only people who really understand what your life was like and where you are coming from. But sometimes they remember things differently, and that can be good for you to hear too.
  37. Your body shouldn’t be your primary way of getting attention. It’s just your vehicle.
  38. Take a jacket with you. You never know what’s going to happen with the weather. What if the car breaks down?! What if you have to walk for miles!?
  39. Don’t get into debt. Unless you buy a house. Be careful even with things that seem important like cars or school loans. Is there another way? If there is, do that instead.
  40. Remember that you are in charge of you. Don’t ever give your power away to someone else. They can’t make you miserable. You are in charge of that.
  41. You’re parents were not perfect. They did try. It’s easier to understand this once you have your own children.
  42. Having children is really hard. That’s one way we know it matters.
  43. More than perhaps anything else in life, parenthood teaches us about the nature of Heavenly Father. How much He loves, cares, and thinks of us. And it teaches us the importance of allowing others their agency.
  44. It’s important to have goals and push yourself. It’s important to strive.
  45. But sometimes “expectations” of how we think things should go can really make us miserable.
  46. I’m super sorry for the things I’ve done wrong. Seriously, I always knew I was screwing up but it was so much harder than I thought it would be to do things right. I hope you can forgive me.
  47. Don’t forget the things we tried to teach you. Go to church. Read your scriptures. Say your prayers. Do the basics. There is wisdom there. It can take time to see it. Results are not immediate. Sometimes the waiting is so hard. Sometimes faith is hard.
  48. My mistakes reflect only my flaws- they don’t mean some of the things I tried to teach you are untrue. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Don’t lose your faith because your mom didn’t do things right.
  49. Don’t forget the long game. This is a long game. Don’t lose a bigger goal because of minor things- even things that seem very tempting or pleasurable at the time. Don’t throw away your birthright. You were meant for greatness.
  50. Don’t be afraid of sacrifice. We live in a society that focuses so much on individualism and self-care that we start to believe that giving for others is somehow detrimental to our health. It doesn’t have to be. Sacrifice- giving all of yourself- it’s really the only way to find out who you really are. It wipes away the dross. It leaves something greater that you never would have found otherwise. 
I love you. Forever and ever and then some.

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