Sometimes I get scared that my best years are behind me.
A sentence that is so hard to say out loud, but even harder to feel. It goes against the way I try to live my life- Focus on the positive. Live inside today--not the future, not the past, and DEFINITELY not in forever. (Life is too fickle and fleeting to live in forevers.)
I think about the way we are programmed by society. By tradition. How we get married and have children and raise them and then retire and be a grandma and garden somewhere. So much pressure to do all the things in the right order too. God forbid you skip a step- like have kids before you get married- nope. That's not allowed.
Screw the rules society makes. Ima make some new ones. Individualized. Author of You are a Badass, Jen Sincero says, "Most people are living an illusion based on someone else's beliefs." I think that's an even scarier thought to have- because sometimes, at least for me- it's true. I say what I think I'm SUPPOSED to say. I do what I think a good friend or wife or mother or human SHOULD do. My mind always feels it when I stuff down my real feelings for how I think I'm SUPPOSED to feel. My shoulders feel high up in my ears, and I can't remember what matters most to me. When I wake up early and drink coffee by myself- or when I go for a walk or write- then I can usually sort my real feelings out.
But here I'm left in my 40's. I know I still have my whole life ahead of me. But I'm afraid the very best parts have already been lived. I moved from Missouri to Los Angeles a million years ago, when I was 25 years old. For a boy- of course. All the transplants are there for love or acting. And the boy and I didn't work out- but California and I continued our love affair. I lived by myself right off San Vincente in Brentwood California. I would walk to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, surrounded by celebrity studded sidewalks and Range Rovers and life was somewhat magical, albeit surface. But 25 year old me was somewhat intrigued by surface. I thought that the deep thinking, aching for more parts of me were the broken parts. I thought I needed to hide them from people. I look back on young me in admiration. I worked hard for everything I had, and I survived on my own, and I worked every day to find my true voice.
And then when I was thirty- I met the husband Michael. And after we first met, we didn't spend a day apart for months. He was the one, of that I was certain. It was never weird or confusing or a game at first. It was just easy. And good. I knew I loved him when he fixed my dresser drawer that always pulled out so wonky it went off the tracks. I was so touched by that gesture, I started to cry, and I didn't know why. In a world with so much fancy, it was so nice to have something real. We lived in Hermosa Beach - a beachfront city in Los Angeles. I try and even remember what stress I had then?! Where to go to dinner on a Saturday night? Sand in my crack after going to the beach? It was so good. Until it wasn't. I suddenly felt a pull for more meaning in my life. The pull I always tried to squash back down. I wanted something more to do then work, work out, wake up and do it all over again. It's funny - these times were perfect on paper, but I know they were far from my happiest times.
Because then came Greyson and everything I knew about life and the world and what mattered was flipped upside down and over. He was everything. At first mothering was filled with terror, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. But that was quickly replaced with a love so deep it hurt. I never cared about anything as much as I cared about being a mom. When Greyson was 13 months old I was pregnant with Parker, and we had finally moved from Los Angeles to the Central Valley of California.
And when I was able to hold Parker in my arms, everything was perfect.
Man, I love rose colored 20/20 hindsight. At first I felt like I was drowning with two, but I also wanted more kids. It's too late, but I still wish I could have had just one more. Or twenty more. Depending on the day you ask me.
I just got back from a walk and came to my computer to write. Like I mentioned, walking always helps me gather my thoughts and put them in the right order. What comes after love and marriage and the baby carriage? The truth is-I don't know but I'm open to it. Yes, beginning mommy and babyhood was one of the most precious and tender times of my life, as well as the hardest.
It's no coincidence that the best times often take the most out of you too.
But with so many monsters under the bed that scare us, sometimes all we need to do is turn on the light to the thing that scares us. And writing is how I shine my light. I don't want to fear the future, I want to be excited about it. So that's the energy I'm going to put out there. I know that in the book of my life, there are still amazing chapters left to write. Not the traditional chapters society says we need to do- but ones I will write from scratch. Just for me.
You have so many chapters left to write too. What will you fill them with?
Lovely! I think that our "best years" will always be behind us simply because of hindsight. You never know what you have until you evolve and move forward and are able to look back on your past with a loving, knowing smile. When you're knee deep in any stage, it blinds you to the beauty of it. If only we could appreciate every moment in real time! I think that we would feel overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Sounds like something to strive for, huh? Then why is it so difficult to do? :-/ReplyDelete
Brene Brown was writing about this recently- she called it the unraveling. It IS a little scary (a lot scary) but I'm with you- trying to reframe it in a positive way. My best years aren't behind me. Probably my prettiest years are, and I'm vain enough to be sad about that, but in the grand scheme of my life its not going to matter. My children will look at pictures of me in my 40's, 50's, etc... with as much love and affection and happiness (or not-eeps!) as they will my younger pictures. I will be the woman they know best in the older pictures. Like my own mother. Anyway, I may have had beauty and freedom in my younger years, and the ability to do some really good work as a teacher, but my best work is ahead of me, I have decided. My best growth and my best self is still ahead of me.ReplyDelete