And this is how my life goes…..I started this a month ago. Wow – how a month has flown by!…….
Watching my belongings disappear into boxes today. I’ve experienced this more times than I care to count. Ok, I kind of want to count….14 times in 23 years, mostly state to state moves. Yeah, I’m tired.
I have always loved change more than the average person, but I feel that trait minimizing with age. Now I might paint a room or add a few extra highlights in my hair when I feel a need to shake things up. In my twenties and thirties I went nuts with boredom. I constantly longed for big changes. When we’d hit the two year mark in a house, I’d feel an itch. I was so used to leaving I couldn’t wait to see where my (ex)husband’s job would take us. I was a perfect fit for all of those changes.
I’ve really taken notice of something recently. I’m aging, gracefully and happily, but times they are a changin’ . (thanks Bob Dylan) I don’t long for change the way I used to. I am not anxious for my children to reach new stages of life. I don’t dream of the day I am no longer a stay at home mom. Empty nest will be a tremendous change someday. I don’t look forward to that stage…at least not yet. Let’s keep things safe and happy like they are right now, please.
Heck, I am not even willing to change my hairstyle anymore! (I think it’s been 12 years!) I certainly don’t want my body to change, (anymore than it already has….insert eye roll). My children are always excited to reach another birthday so their age number will change. Remember those days? No thanks. I want my “number” to stay right at 45 for a very long time. I know that isn’t possible, but work with me here.
I have been pondering this whole idea of preferring steadiness to change. It is a new feeling for me. Sure I will always want the occasional change in my summer wardrobe, or a change in my crappy diet…..but I am finding comfort these days in the things in life that are a constant. I like eating at the same restaurants over and over. I NEVER used to be like that. I thought it would be sinful to not try a new place every time. Now I enjoy recognizing the servers and knowing I will be eating a favorite, comforting dish.
I LOVE my weekdays with the children; same ol routine, and I cherish it. The young mom in me dwelled daily on my ability to prove to the world I was Wonder Woman. This meant day dreaming of a glamorous career in between diapers, story time, textbooks, and music lessons. I couldn’t wait for that change in life so I could change the world! Turns out I am changing the world raising these tiny humans. Oh how I long to tell young mommies they are enough! They are everything! I refuse to miss the joy of motherhood.
After acquiring a good amount of years on this earth and understanding life is unpredictable, I believe change becomes less exciting because I am no longer in a hurry. I am not in a hurry for my children who are still home, to grow up. I am not in a hurry to grow up anymore myself! I want time to stand still. My mother is aging and thankfully still healthy. I don’t want her birthdays to keep coming quickly. I don’t look forward to the day my seven year old doesn’t sit in my lap. I don’t want the laundry to no longer be filled with super hero t-shirts and little ballet leotards.
Change can be fun and exciting. But with age we understand that sometimes a change in life means it was preceded by something painful. Sometimes change means someone has died or become ill. Change comes when a job is lost and a move is necessary. Divorce happens and the world turns upside down and completely changes. If everything is flowing smoothly, why would we desire change?
I am sure we are designed that way. Young people need constant change because they are chasing something, possibly never understanding what they are chasing. It’s a necessary drive. During middle age we start questioning our purpose in life. With that, we begin chasing a little more wisely. By our forties we have most likely experienced pain and loss. It’s time to slow down and smell the roses. Time to love where we are at, rather than longing for something different.
And there is now the reality that some dreams are dying off. I don’t want to finish my degree at age 45. I know I can, but I simply don’t want to put the effort in anymore. I don’t want to live in a new place every couple of years. I want to stay in my new home for a very long time, at least until the children are raised. I won’t be moving to the mountains out west as I always thought I eventually would. It’s too late, but that’s okay. The dream of opening my own bakery is not going to happen, and I am ok with that. I’m not into getting up early.
Things I used to agonize over, just aren’t a big deal to me anymore. They have lost their luster. There are new goals and dreams. Some are lofty but most are simpler than my old dream list. I want to travel more and see new places. I want my new home to have an open door, constantly welcoming family and friends, hopefully many new friends. That’s where life has changed with age, for me. It’s all about people. Even the traveling – seeing new places is amazing, but meeting people from other cultures is the best part to me. Dreams are still there, but the focus is different.
I’m no longer passionate about having an outstanding career. I want to be comfortable financially, but millions of dollars aren’t necessary, and the career, which I know I am capable of, takes too much time from my family and friends. For me, loving people is life….it’s why I am here. I am no longer searching for purpose. I have found it.
I want to enjoy the little things I used to love doing, like painting, decorating, and writing. Somewhere along the way, those things have gotten pushed to the wayside. It’s almost impossible for that not to happen when raising a family, working on a career, and worrying about what others think. I thought those small goals weren’t enough, but they are, because this is my life, not someone else’s.
Isn’t that also the great beauty of aging? I once had a therapist tell me, “Honey – wait until you hit 50…you just won’t give a shit what anyone thinks.” I doubt she knew that I’d never forget those words! It’s encouraging and freeing! I see it happening now, in my mid forties. The need for approval is dying a slow death, but it’s dying nonetheless.
I do have one big dream. That dream is to reach and encourage women to embrace life and aging. Isn’t it lovely to see a woman in her 70s or 80s, embracing and enjoying life? That is true beauty. They often have a peace about them. I can see in their smiles, that they know something I don’t know. We should look forward to that wisdom, rather than dreading it.
Let’s take our time getting there. Enjoy today. Sometimes we are at a place in life where joy cannot be found. Pain is awful. I am so sorry if that is where your life is right now. This is a journey. I hope with all of my heart, if joy has yet to show up, she is hurrying on her way to find you. Remember to let her in.