Next week, I will turn another year older.
When I entered my 30s, I was excited. I felt like I was leaving so much of the pressure to perform, to meet the expectations of society as a 20-something. And I did. But now that I’m well into my 30s, I realize that I merely swapped those expectations for new ones. However, I’m definitely more sure of myself than I was in my 20s. And I know what I like and I don’t like, and I’m not afraid to try something new without having that need to do it perfectly the first time. I’m learning how to switch off the people pleasing filter in my brain when making decisions. It doesn’t work every time, but I am learning and I am okay that I’m learning.
A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me that next week, I will be ten years older than my mom when she had me. Now, to be fair, when I was ten years younger than I am now, I was engaged to be married, and I would only be married for six months, and I’m really glad that I didn’t get pregnant that first year of marriage because I had way too much growing up to do.
But the idea is not lost on me that time is slowly ticking away. I will soon reach the “every pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy” age. Though to be fair, considering my history, every pregnancy already is a high-risk one, but there are just so many statistics out there that get scary. On the other hand, I haven’t really been living up to the regular statistics anyway, so who is to say I’m going to start doing that anytime soon?
And even though I feel more in tune with myself, I have acquired more of a hesitation and filter on the things I want to say. Partially, because in the moment, my brain is usually just jumbled with an incoherent word knot that only unravels as I leave a situation. Partially, because I realize that motivations and intentions of others are always more complicated than I thought they were. Things have become grayer to me. I am slower to judge a situation or a person because I know I will never have all of the facts.
And even though these first years of my 30s have been wrought with pain and loss, there is so much I’m grateful for. I am grateful for the friendships that have developed here in Dallas, and here in the blogosphere. I am grateful that I have a husband who has become the breadwinner so that I can heal and hopefully someday get pregnant again. I am thankful for the tasks God has given me – with the Alzheimer Walk, the SPCA, Hope Mommies. I am thankful that he turned my sorrow and grief into a ministry, a place I can shine His love and joy into the dark nooks and crannies of infertility and pregnancy loss.
And it’s not perfect, and never will be this side of eternity. I’m learning to lean on God when I feel isolated and alone. I am learning that I don’t have to be the best or have all the attention or be first to have value. I am learning that I don’t have to have a lot of feedback in order to make a difference in someone’s life. I’m learning to embrace my limitations and live within boundaries, and that neither one of these things makes me less than anyone else. And even if someone wants to think of me as lower than them, I am learning not to feed that comparative attitude within myself.
I have no idea what this next year will bring me. I’ll be honest, I’m not as excited as I was when I turned thirty. But I know that God is here, present in my life. So whatever this year brings – heartache or overwhelming joy, or both…
Bring it on.