My 35th year has been a pivotal one: I have learned things about myself – both good and not so good – that provide clarity and help me in relating better with others. Earth-shattering, mind-boggling? Not so much. This year was the year that I went from focusing on work/career to accepting the most challenging position I have ever had: Full-Time Mom. This year, I learned that I am a creative idealist…and perhaps a bit arrogant (quite a shift for someone who used to awkwardly lack self-confidence). This is the year that I realized I focus too much on minor details. I am learning to stop striving for perfection – it’s not possible. I have too let go of trying to keep a perfectly clean, smartly decorated home (with small children, not possible!). If my husband/daughter/son’s exuberance exceed my ideal noise level (especially in the AM or at the dinner table), I remind myself to enjoy their happiness rather than berate it. If I arrive late, I am no longer going to stress over this. I have decided I am simply going to do my best to not become distracted and multitask while trying to get everyone out the door. Does my daughter’s hair have to look perfect before school when she’ll mess it up in 10 minutes anyway? Does our breakfast need to be cleaned from the table before leaving? Life is full of reasons to stress…and just as many more reasons to let go of the things that cannot be changed. I can only pray for grace, patience, and the wisdom to let little frustrations go. Maybe when I am 40 (or 50), I will have reached a higher state of consciousness necessary to achieve serenity (let’s hope!).
This is the year I realized that my Mother seeks my advice more frequently and I have begun to seek hers less. I have gained more confidence and some wisdom to be able to address some of my problems independently and offer some sound advice to others.
I feel – at 35 – sexier and healthier than I did 10 years ago (perhaps because I am healthier?). I am stronger physically and emotionally than in my 20’s and look forward to the strength I will develop in further years (I refrain from saying “older” – that’s simply not my mindset).
I have realized that intimacy in relationships (whether husband, friend, or child) needs to be practiced purposefully and often in order to be maintained as well as deepened. Both sex and abstinence can become habits as can sarcasm and criticism. Practicing intimacy with your husband creates a stronger bond, feels good, and simply needs to become part of your routine (with young kids, this is not easy… but so necessary). Critical words can become a model for your children to replicate. I recently determined to set a more positive tone, to which hopefully my argumentative daughter will adapt.
I am learning at 35 that my various roles – Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister – can not be compartmentalized. Instead, each of these define who I am. I have spent too much emotional effort searching for ME-time (which truthfully should be stated as “Quiet Time” since peace and relaxation are really what I am after) when being “Me” IS playing with my children, cooking a colorful, healthy meal, sharing a TV show with my husband, creating a loving home – these tasks ARE Who I Am and I am thankful for these daily moments and reminders.
35 has been an exciting, contemplative year; I can’t wait for the adventures that 36 will bring….