The past few weeks I have been drifting into thought about the journey through life and how our number of years on this planet in no way reflect how old you actually feel. My grandmother recently turned 95. We have been very close my entire life and it has always been a benchmark of sorts at our birthdays since we are 60 years apart by 1 week. With turning 35 this year and so many articles, stories, etc. talking about 40 being the new 30, 50 is the new 40, and so on...I must say that the last 5 years of my life I have at many times felt like I was running parallel with my grandmother as she navigated through the challenges of 90 to 95.
Exhaustion, forgetfulness, repetitiveness, feeling like you are in a tunnel and yet so many grand spikes in happiness with births of children, watching them view and learn about the world; feeling totally on beat with your spouse; accomplishing career related ventures I never even dreamed of; recognizing how lucky I was to have amazing parents/parents-in-law; and feeling so thankful for those handful of absolutely precious friendships that kept me balanced even during the most difficult stretches of life.
The light switch went on when I thought about what my now 95 year old grandmother was like when she was 60-75 years old. All through my youth, when I had not a care in the world, my grandmother had already been through the ups and downs of raising 5 kids, the loss of her husband, and all of the happiness & grief that transpire in such a duration. I never felt an ounce of that from her - she did not feel worn out or beat down or negative or exhausted. Quite the opposite. She was calm, patient, wise, always ready for a game and fun. The roller coaster of life does not run parallel with age.
My realization at 35 years old is to be OK with being where you are. As my Mom lovingly says in the heat of difficulty, “this too shall pass.” And sometimes that is all you need to hear. Age 32 might feel like 90 for some of us and others might not experience that until they are 38 or 45 or never. The path we choose, the timing, our own attitude and a bit of luck dictate our level of happiness and our outlook. Motherhood and career can put you in the trenches for weeks & months on end and yet there are always a few “dancing in the clouds” days peppered in where you accomplish something great or you feel like you have conquered a major parenting hurdle (sleep? potty training?), which makes the travel in the trenches not feel quite so difficult.
So as April roles in and the journey into the back half of my 30's begins, I am going to focus more on the small choices - the little things that bring happiness, joy, and fun to myself, my family, and my friendships. Adulthood & parenthood are not about being perfect, it’s about being present.
I am proud of the choices and path we have taken. I am so happy and thankful for my husband, kids, family & friends. And although weathered, I am recognizable, and with all that’s transpired in the past 5 years, I’ll take it!