I woke up this morning, and after a brief panic attack I have come to the conclusion that I am officially an adult. I am 37. Yeah, when the hell did that happen??? The last two decades just flooded through and the aftermath is astounding. As far as I know, there was a wedding… a bunch a kids were born… there was a move across the world, some more kids were born, a touch of PPD, and a pinch of cancer (of which I beat like a boss, with the help of GD and some amazing doctors). Then at some point, my offspring evolved into little people (without my permission, BTW). It’s all very bitter sweet for me. I hate saying goodbye to the days of them falling asleep in my arms as I rocked, or the ways their eyes lit up the first time they smiled. All at the same time, I am happily and rather frantically waving goodbye to sleep deprivation and colic filled marathons. My oldest child is a teenager, and my youngest children are 2 toddlers who keep me on my toes like a prima ballerina except, a pitzel less elegantly.
Would you believe there are times where I have 15 minute “conversations” with my children about which shoes they are wearing for the day? Why, you ask? Well, it’s to stop the crying of course, mine and theirs. Yup, my children are varying ages from 2- 14 and they all cry about their shoe problems. “They are ugly!”, “I can’t find the other one!”, “They don’t match my outfit!”, “I want to wear them backwards!”. This is what has become of my life.
My parents, huge music lovers, used to listen to the “Talking Heads” once in a while when I was a kid. It was a bit eccentric (okay, it was VERY eccentric) but I really enjoyed it. It was only a bit later in life that the song ‘Once in a Lifetime’ really struck me.
What’s Behind Door Number One?
My future was simple. One day, I would travel the world. My friendships would last forever. I would produce beautiful art. I would experience many different cultures. I would fall in glorious love. When I married, he would be perfect; we would be perfect together. We would lovingly stare into each others eyes. We would never bore each other. I would be a pregnant lady with a basketball sized tummy, and perfectly glowing skin. Then, bounce back with no proof on me except for my perfect little newborn. I would remain in perfect shape, no Mom jeans for me. I imagined this life of rocking my babies to sleep for hours with the patience of a saint. My house will have a wrap around porch, I would sip lemonade (maybe spiked) and watch my gorgeous children play together in the garden with their sparkling eyes, grass stained knees and bare feet (I’d like to personally thank the writers of “The Notebook” for the porch fantasy).
What’s Behind Door Number 2?
Some of those things behind the first door have happened or are still happening. I do have some incredibly long lasting friendships, with strong, incredible women. I did fall in glorious love. I was NOT a cute little pregnant lady. I was a mammoth. My house is not always clean, far from it. My patience is thin (crepe level thin), and I shout like I’ve lost my marbles. My husband and I love each other but we ain’t no Sear’s photo frame depiction. Lastly, my home (which I love) does not have a wrap around porch, and usually when the kids are running together it’s because they are actually running from each other in fear of a wicked hair pulling.
You may be surprised to hear, but I chose the second door. Or… did the door choose me?
So we’ve all heard the expression of how “time flies when you’re having fun”? I call bullshit on that. I’m thinking time is an equal opportunist. Time has flown through the amazing and the horrid times. At times, especially in retrospect, I feel like my life was predestined, good and bad. I did in fact make choices throughout my existence. I question whether those choices are what really directed my life to where it is now. I did not choose to put my future husband in that room at that moment when I arrived, and yet it happened. I did not choose the specific souls that were gifted to me when I conceived, yet here they are. I did not choose to have cancer but it chose me nonetheless.
Technically, I am not old enough to have a “midlife crisis”. It is said that it happens between the ages of 45-64. Psychologist Elliot Jaques coined the term “midlife crisis” in 1965. He explains this specific crisis is referring to a time when adults do the maths on their lives, weighing their existence; their mortality and their sense of diminishing productive years of life. It’s all in the words. Maybe the age bracket should be widened? I have another eight years until I can have a legitimate “midlife crisis”, is this stage my practice/pre-test? I read that typically a midlife crises lasts about 3–10 years in men and 2–5 years in women. Maybe by the time I’m 43 years old, I will have this figured out. Wouldn’t that be nice?
In the meantime, I would like to think I have many years before my productive years become something of the past. There is no question that I am in a period of reckoning. I sometimes wonder and fear if the most exciting times of my life are over. The times that as a kid I looked forward to and dreamt about have already fleeted. The excitement of first love and the new feeling of independence were checked off my list before I was 23 years old. So, are we responsible as grown ups to accept our lives as they are and be grateful? Are we not to miss the lust, or the new? Or, are we supposed to fight to find the freakin “spark” again in our lives (thank you for introducing that damn spark Marie Kondo)?
I am not alone, I know that many people experience this wonder and confusion. I plan on using this struggle as a form of reboot. It won’t be very easy but hopefully I can take a step back, reevaluate my life and make the steps to fulfill those areas with grace. To appreciate what I DO have (which I know is plenty) and not to focus on what I don’t have. We don’t always have control of the happenings in our lives, what we do have is the power to take responsibility for what is in our power. Now, I need to put these words into action. I hope that it’s easier said then done.