Monday, August 13, 2012
Being 30 Doesn't Suck
But mostly.... disappointed. Not disappointed in life but really in myself. I always wanted to be awesome by the time was 30. And yet, here I was, 30, a bunch of kids, a college degree I never used, a totally unimpressive work record (waitress, waitress, waitress...) and my "flower", my physical beauty, rapidly declining.
I turn 33 in a few months and suddenly I feel different.
As it turns out being in your thirties is kind of awesome.
I feel more confident, more sure of what I want now and in the future, more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. (Of course my skin is more comfortable, it is more stretchy....) Seriously though- the stretch marks don't bother me any more. It is like I realized it didn't matter if I looked like somebody in a magazine. THEY don't even look like that.
I am still young enough to be healthy, but old enough to appreciate my health. Young enough to have fun, but old enough not to endanger myself in the process.
I can't believe I felt useless being "just a mother". I don't know what I was thinking.
Actually I DO know what I was thinking. I thought that everything would implode if I hadn't done something drastically, awesomely, "TODAY Show" fabulous by the time I turned 30. But guess what I had forgotten in my terror? I forgot that LIFE DOESN'T END AT 30. In fact, it is only just beginning.
What a difference a few years makes.
I am now so glad and grateful to be a mom. I am so happy that I get to stay home with my kids. I love teaching birth classes. I feel humbled and honored to be involved with Birth Boot Camp and to serve on their board of directors. I can't believe that people I don't know read this silly little blog.
You know what I think really changed- I think I realized that I actually matter. I finally accepted that being a mother and doing the little things I do is important. They matter enough for me to be kind of happy with myself. I realized too that mattering to ME- was enough. Not sure how much I CARE anymore if it matters to you or society or anybody else. I know that what I am doing matters.
And I realized that I have an entire LIFE left to live and do and be and create and make a difference.
I think that we repeatedly get the message that youth (and by youth I mean teenage years through the twenties) is the BEST time of life. Women cut their bodies willingly to make them look like they did when they were 20. Men take drugs to make their hair grow back. People even leave their families so that they can latch back onto the things they wished they had done "back then." We tend to admire those who lack "ties that bind" and pity those who have heavy responsibilities and mortgages and spitting kids.
The truth is though that all those things we yearn for in our culture: perfect skin, sag free, stretch free, scar free perfection, freedom and fearlessness- they don't really matter that much.
It is easy to be fearless when you don't have anything of value to hold on to or look out for. It is easy to have smooth skin when your body has never been pushed to it's limits. And freedom is everywhere when there is nobody who needs you.
But you also miss out on the love and the devotion that come with need. You miss out on the triumph that comes from overcoming. And being free from people and their desires sure sounds lonely these days.
Those wrinkles I am starting to get around my eyes, they tell a story. They started showing up after about 6 years of minimal sleep and constant stress about money and marriage and making everything work. They got deeper when I played in the sun with my kids and went running in the mornings when everybody was asleep.
The best part about my growing wrinkles and my silvery stripes though is that I barely notice them. I hardly look in the mirror. My life is too busy and too full for much self examination. There is always something else to do. There is always somebody who needs me and values my love, my touch, my words.
I can think of nothing more beautiful and no life more worth living than one that is consumed by service for others that I love. That is where the joy comes and I am so incredibly grateful for it.
Sometimes I still want to punch my husband in the throat or hide from the kids. Sometimes I still wish I had done more when I was younger and it would have been easier.
But now I always know that I am blessed. I know that life goes on and now I know what I want it to go on to. I have a vision for the future. I have an appreciation for myself. I am more confident and happier and luckier than I could have ever imagined.
It is true- Don't be afraid of 30. It is so much better than you ever imagined.
(PS- I realize that the phrase, "punch in the throat" is kind of wacky but it totally makes me laugh and I had to work it in here somewhere. How can I fit that in a birth post? Ya know?)