As my birthday approaches, I’ve been pensive about life. Does anyone else get that way? All self-evaluating and introspective? I’ve been particularly self-aware of who I was a decade ago and it’s humiliating how sure of myself I was in my 20s. I knew it all, I said a bunch of crap out loud that would mortify me today, and years later I sit with all this regret over the word vomit I had on a myriad of topics. I owe many people a slew of apologies.
But let’s look forward. Or rather, let’s look at today. For reference, these are the things 20-Something Me thought would be fully settled by my 30s:
- I’d no longer worry about my weight. Confidence would overflow. All that self-esteem garbage would disappear with maturity.
- My writing career would not only be well-established but also easily maintained. I mean, after all this time, right?
- Financial security. Nothing specific, just secure. No worries.
- Unshakeable political and religious beliefs. Rock solid, they were. Rock solid.
- Easy parenting since we have boys! No girls means no drama. Whew!
Now that we’ve had a good eye roll, here is the reality check:
- My body dysmorphia is the burden I will likely carry for the rest of my life. I’ve accepted this. It will never go away but instead be managed. Some days are better than others. Some days I run, some days I eat Oreos. I try to be kind to myself either way.
- I write because I love it. If I get paid for writing, glory be. If I don’t, that’s okay. Obviously, I prefer to be paid, which brings us to #3.
- Thank goodness my husband has the skills to pay the bills because clearly I do not. This is what happens when you marry a creative person. (Sorry, babe.) We’ve made good decisions and bad decisions, and this year we decided to get braces for both boys (goodbye, anniversary trip.) Money comes in, money goes out. Such is life.
- All political and religious beliefs have been shaken and stirred. It’s been the most fantastic ride and I’m thankful for the growing pains. My current state of faith is that God is not done with me yet, and THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.
- Easy parenting? Ha! No one told me that babies turn into preteens. I proceed with caution.
This is my last week of being 36 and I’m actually feeling fine about it. There is much to be thankful for: I’m crazy in love with my husband. We kiss in front of the kids and laugh when they call us disgusting. I have the freedom to write and volunteer and homeschool the boys. I absolutely love where we live. My girlfriends are second to none.
In a moment of my own daydreaming today, Jackson asked me what my birthday wish is and I said, “To be published.”
“Wouldn’t it be great if birthday wishes came true?” he said, then he returned to the book in his lap.
“Oh yes,” I said to no one. “It would be a dream come true.”
When I blow out my 37 imaginary candles this weekend, I will wish for it. Publication, I mean. I’ll wish for it at 11:11 or whenever I blow away a loose eyelash from my fingertip. I’ll always wish for my stories to take flight. But in between that wish and the next one, I’ll try to remind myself of all the reasons life is good anyway.