Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm 35 - so what?

I just turned 35 this month. The "weird" about it is that the number bothered me a little. Not enough to seek psychiatric help or anything, but enough. Then I decided - screw that! Who CARES that I'm halfway to 70?! I should BE so lucky!  After my divorce, I worked a second job at a scrapbook store. Loved that store. I remember waiting on a woman who seemed somewhat bitter and angry. I asked for her ID since she wrote a check. She got all upset and complained because she was 69 (pretty sure that's right) and she looked horrible and yada yada yada. I said well it could be worse. Enjoy that you've made it this far. That sent her further into her crankiness. Then I told her my aunt was in her 40's and in the care of Hospice. *Boom* gratitude for where you are YET? If you haven't heard about *BOOM* and gratitude, you really should check out I Want a Dumpster Baby  because she has the market cornered on gratitude and it's an amazing thing.

As a child 35 sounded so OOOOOOOOOOOLD! But as you get closer to 35 (or turn 35) you realize 35 ain't old yo! "You're only as old as you feel..." Most days I'm still feeling pretty young, although a thicker version of my young self...working on that ... baby steps. Then I think about two very important women in my life who were taken so very young. Check your breasts! And if you feel a lump get it checked out! Don't think it'll go away and don't rely on God alone to heal you. If your faith is centered around God (or a God, or a Goddess) know this - That divine creator you believe in made people SMART ENOUGH to become doctors!

So, in the days leading up to my actual birth DAY (because I celebrate me all month long folks ;) ) I kept saying to myself, "Self, what HAVE you learned in 35 years? Anything useful yet?" And I think I have learned a few useful things...

1. Even though I tell my daughter to choose her friends over boys because her friends will be there longer, I've realized that the friendships I had with most of those friends I was besties with from middle school or high school - are not the same. Friendship does require give and take. Always. I have a few friends that I have known since the 2nd grade. (my daughter is in awe of that, because I am SO OLD to her... Just wait Peanut... Just you wait.)

My own version of "Where Are They Now?" Circa 1984

The friendships that mean the most to me now are the friendships that I can count on. I joke that my true friends are the ones I could call at 2am from jail, knowing they would bail me out. And I would for them too. Hopefully none of us goes to jail but hey, you never know ;) So I'm figuring out (even today) who my seasons, reasons, and lifetimes are. I also hold fast to the Peanut cannot date till she's 30 rule. Ain't nobody got time for that!

2. For reasons some of my close friends know, I've pretty much always had this belief: If I wouldn't want my daughter treated this way, why would I allow it for myself? What's weird though is there are these lessons that we know we will eventually need to teach our girls (or children) but I'm never quite prepared for how soon it creeps up. Example: I want my daughter to be a strong minded, powerful, caring, sensitive young woman who has no fear about expressing herself or standing up for what is right. Enter middle school and alllllllll of this drama! Like holy crows and buzzards, the DRAMA IS UNREAL and I don't remember it being this bad, but in all actuality, it probably was. And we had the added pressures of not wearing gang colors because there are so many gangs in small town LV... and really, if we weren't supposed to wear gang colors, why were our school colors red and black? but I digress! Meanness, and boys that don't know their role. Teach your kids young. Teach them about standing up for themselves - whether it's with a mean girl, or with a boy who feels he has too many rights to her body. Tell them you will support them for standing up. Don't be scared. Take care of YOU. I will be there for you. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself. If you feel something is not right, tell someone. If someone is invading your personal space in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell someone. Know that the people you call friends should not be mean and hateful to you - THAT is not a friend.

3.  In 35 years, I have been married, divorced, become a mother, parented an amazing stepson, become an aunt, dated some real winners (where is that sarcasm font?), and am currently dating a pretty amazing guy (no sarcasm font needed). I've been through three divorces in my life (mine and my parents). I've seen how truly shitty people can be when someone dies (and I mean shit-TEEE!), and I've also seen how families can come together during a death. I learned how to drive, had my first accident and totaled my first car, had SEVERAL jobs, started school a few times, lost a gallbladder, lost a job, tried different jobs, push mowed my yard, fixed broken things, started many craft projects, finished almost none, made baby quilts for my friends' babies, gone back to school for real this time (which sucks I'll just say ;) ), and maybe there's more. I mean I'm sure there is. I am a few short years from teaching my own daughter how to drive...and it reminds me of that time in my life. Having done all of that above, I know there's so much more to do. The best thing I can hope to do is to raise a daughter who is strong, independent, capable, caring, considerate and empathetic. Raising teenagers is fun y'all. No lie.

That's right - a homemade hippie-ish dress
and Dr. Martens - because I was awesome!

And finally, I've learned that we have all faced something unpleasant at one time or another. Mine is no worse than yours, I can't judge you on your unpleasant things and try to one up you. I want to live a happy life. If someone is having a bad day, I don't want that to influence my day. Selfish? Maybe. Probably. But I'm not responsible for you. I can't fix what's upsetting you. I can fix me. I can take care of me. I don't want to be down and depressed and angry. When my friend and I went through our divorce, we had an aquaintence who was that way. She would COMPETE with the bad. "Your aunt is dying? Well I hate my job." (an actual quote from the wretchedly unhappy person...) Who wants to BE like that? Not me! 

So what are your goals for the next 35 years? What are you most looking forward to, besides the end of this blog post? :) Thanks for reading!


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