February 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
My little sister just turned the Big 18. Now she can legally vote and buy cigs. And it got me a thinking–we’re never really ready for the next year. What’s weird is we have no idea what it will feel like. We make assumptions about growing up and getting older, yet we have no idea what the truth is until we get there:
We feel the same.
When you’re younger you think that when you get to a certain age, say 30 or 40, that it’ll feel this way or that. That somehow life will feel different. That you’ll know more than you did on your 28th birthday than you did the day before. But it’s not so.
When a 55-year-old tells me they don’t feel any different, I’m finally starting to believe them. Because it really doesn’t feel any different. Change and growth are such subtle progressions, that you can’t measure them by any means. And age is certainly no indicator of such change and growth.
So you just roll with it. It’s a number. It’s a bodily state that effects your physicality more so than anything else. Yet in our society, there are tons of pressures, spoken and not, to be at certain life stages when you hit a date on the calendar.
When you reach 18, it feels as if the world is telling you to be graduated from high school, to know what you want to do with the rest of your life, and to have a plan.
At 30, it’s like they expect you to have it all together. The job, the car, the significant other, perhaps even the kids.
Once you get to 40 it’s like some unspoken expectation that you have to feel old. That half your life is over, so you’d better be acting like it.
But can I just say, let’s throw these cockamamie ideas straight out the window? They’re ridiculous. And untrue, to say the least. There’s nothing that says you have to be at this place or that. It’s for you to decide. It’s for you to accept.
I know getting older isn’t the funnest thing in the whole world. At least it’s not the same as when you were seven going on eight and couldn’t wait for the “big bike” on your birthday. However, if you look at it as simply time passing–because that’s what it is–and not a way to measure your achievements, success, or lack there of, perhaps you’ll be able to embrace the joy of your birth!
Happy Birthday, Itzel! I love you, lady. I hope you can embrace eighteen with the same passion, energy, and excitement that you’ve done with all the years before.
January 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Yesterday Audrey and I woke up around 4:30am. She didn’t feel good and her coughing was keeping her up. She’s a happy little shoo though and she woke up with a smile. It was me who wasn’t as affable to the concept of waking up before the sun.
I made a one-hour attempt to snuggle her back to sleep, but my right hip couldn’t bare the weight of a big, round cutie in my tummy. So I finally gave in to her whispered requests, “Watch TV.” Cough, cough. And turned on Cinderella on the 13″ screen in our bedroom.
It was at some point prior to this waking that I had the night time thought: I could have waited a few more years to have kids and been a bit more mature than I am now. Maybe she would have turned out better. I wonder if I’ll raise a good adult? Or if she’ll have tons of issues like me?
I’ve made some embarrassing parenting decisions over the past couple years, I’ll be the first to admit it. I haven’t been as patient with Audrey as much as I would like to be. And I often say stupid things to her thinking that perhaps she just doesn’t understand.
I’m fairly certain my fears are similar to many of those around me. That in itself makes me feel a bit better.
Yet here’s the thing: I’m better than I was before.
I remember when she first arrived, I had this issue of thinking I couldn’t get things done. I had the hardest time with the simplest tasks, because my focus was on the Grand Scheme of things. That is, I was out if reality and I could practically only think of this nonexistent big picture or somewhere down the road that didn’t exist. When I see that written down and remember what it felt like, I’m honestly embarrassed to admit it.
So what have I learned in the past two years? Maturity is being in the present and doing what you have to do. Just one more example to add to my list. After we watched Cinderella and had a short nap, I made us a healthy breakfast of hot oatmeal, edamame, oranges, and tomatoes and washed all the towels in our small apartment.
Since then I’ve done other small, menial tasks like mailing a letter to friends, picking things up around the house, and putting stuff away. It sounds silly, but you know what? Before I would have made excuses and felt like I couldn’t do it. I would have told myself that it didn’t fit in to my Grand Scheme and things would have piled up.
But today I do them unthinkingly. It took me awhile to figure out that that was just life. And, for me, it’s the best part about it. It’s doing things, even when you don’t feel like it, that feels good. It’s responding to emails, paying bills, keeping the house picked up and clean, cooking, etc. that lets me know I’ve made it to a point in my growth where I can be satisfied with the simple. And my hope is the same for you. Plug along.
Photo: My happy, sick baby!
October 21, 2011 § 5 Comments
I don’t ever want to do something that gives me a superiority complex. I’ve been there. And I vividly remember what it feels like. I was often called “prideful” or “cocky” during my adolescent, teenage, and young adult years, but it was almost always because I was trying to compensate for something.
That “something” at the time happened to be my own desire to reach a state of maturity where I actually felt like I knew what I was doing. Like I had the coping skills to manage my thoughts, feelings, and actions. I would often overcompensate the appearance of maturity with a brazen, know-it-all fortitude.
It wasn’t at all helpful in many of my relationships. I can see why. No one likes a know-it-all. No one appreciates someone who goes around acting like something they’re not. And that’s what it comes down to. Instead of just being in the moment where life had placed me, I wanted to be beyond that. I literally can picture myself driving in the backseat of the car at age eight, wishing my adult years into existence and hoping that the large soda I was drinking was making me look cool. Silly, I know. But then again, that’s how a child’s mind works.
It’s taken me years to discover that I don’t have to “act” a certain way to be treated one way or another. I just need to accept myself for who I am, superior or not. Ha! Really though, I struggled with wanting to feel better than others so that I could make whatever was tearing me up inside with fear and self-doubt go away.
Something about engagement, marriage, motherhood and the struggle of it all has allowed me to simply relax in myself. I’m allowed to be introverted and become overwhelmed at parties. I’m allowed to worry about finances, make mistakes, and figure out what’s best for our family. I’m allowed to enjoy being a mom and the domestic life of cooking and cleaning. I’m allowed to be poor, have days where I accomplish nothing, finish all but the last bit of tea, and wear silly holiday slippers that Trever bought me years ago.
Maturity isn’t feeling superior or knowing everything. It’s allowing yourself to be you.
Community Discussion: How are you feeling about you? Are you feeling inferior? Superior? Do you like your level of maturity and where you’re at in life?
Photo: 24 Weeks and counting…
September 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
“You sure know how to take something beautiful and turn into something trashy because of your issues.” –An early morning revelation that just made me laugh.
I think we all go through moments like this. We take a beautiful experience or event and make it cheap because of our own stupid stuff. We rush into things, don’t prepare enough, try too hard to make it perfect, and the like. In the end, we’re left with a pigment of what we would have liked to have accomplished. But alas, to no certain avail. We diminish it for what it could be.
The moments in my past where I have done the above rather than waited patiently to grow are those that I am not particularly proud of. I can’t say that I did what I knew was necessary, but it turned out half-arsed. In a way that could have simply been avoided by not being so stubborn like a donkey.
I remember vividly using the excuse that I believed now was the time that I was supposed to be doing “x”–going to college, getting married, quitting a job–and rather than putting serious thought into it, I just dove in. That’s not always a bad thing, yet in some cases I tend to lean towards doing some trashy instead of well-thought out when it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve gotten better over the years though.
I’ve become more thoughtful and aware of my silliness in rushing foolishly. And I’m more capable of stepping back, accepting advice, and seeing things more clearly. Could I have been like this sooner? Maybe. The strange thing about growth is that you can’t force it. You can’t force maturity or understanding or wisdom or patience or any good fruit. It just happens as time passes for some, then there’s always the grumpy old man that you meet and think, “He never worked through his issues.”
This isn’t meant to sound discouraging. No matter your age or place in life, I’m a firm believer in the fact that awareness brings further growth. Even if you can’t push it. And in the end, we’re all a bit beautifully trashy.
Photo: I can relate to that donkey. Baby Farm Animals written and illustrated by Garth Williams.
April 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
Only four days into 27 and I’m feeling pretty old. Not old in a bad way, just an understanding way. I’ve been seeing things differently lately. One of my favorite feelings. I love a change in perspective. It’s an older me, in a sense. A me that took a lot of thought rearranging to get into.
I remember how much work I had to do to process the fact that I had chosen someone to be with. As soon as Trever and I had this conversation on June 24, 2007, I chose to only be with him:
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“Um? Singing? Playing music? Traveling? I don’t know. I want to be with someone for sure.”
“You want to be with me.”
“Yeah, I want to be with you.”
Even if in that moment I chose a life with him, it took months to get into the mindset and really grasp what it meant to “do life with someone,” as I like to call it. I kept telling my mom that I wanted to experience life with someone, but when I got there, I still had a lot of old stuff to sift through. Old perceptions. Gender schemas. Marital issues.
As many may know, I was and still am a fairly stubborn, independent, and domineering (among a host of pleasant assets, of course). Getting my brain to think of putting someone first. Following the path of another and not just my own. Having someone be a team with me. All new thoughts. Yet I knew I had to get into it. I knew I had to accept this new thought pattern. Or we’d be in trouble.
I remember the warm, sunny day on September when it happened. I ran out to the curb to greet Trever as he came home from work. I was his. And he was mine. I had put my mind through a sort of mental exercise little by little to build it up and get it in gear for the viewpoint I wanted it to have: Marriage. Monogamy.
Years past and I used my first formula to help me get through and cope with life’s changes. Moving in together. Postponing our wedding. Moving out of the same place. Eloping. Moving back in together. Learning to teach piano and voice lessons. Quitting. The disappointment of not being pregnant. The excitement of being pregnant. The sacrifices and revamping in my head that came along with being a mom.
Phew. That was the next tough one. I had to let go of doing the MBA program I had been accepted into that very same month. Forgo my veg diet, jeans, numerous tops, focus on myself. I had to let go of me in a lot of ways. I had to let go of my own desires to do what I wanted to do and put myself in the mindset of being called Mother. I took my new calling very seriously. I still do. And that revamping helped me tremendously (especially the thought-shift of getting to wear attractive looking bras).
And like becoming a mama, I’ve noticed over the past few months that my older self has noticed that there’s a lot I can’t do. A lot that was a just a pipe dream. I’ve discovered I can’t have my cake and eat it to. That life takes sacrifices in many forms, like that of marriage and parenthood. Most of the time those sacrifices are a good thing. However, they’re always hard. I know myself. And I know if I do the prep work for the sacrifice, it falls into place more easily. If I choose to see the good things along with the more difficult, I can make the change easier on myself. Day four and counting. 27 is going to be a good year.