Friday, March 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Me

I started this blog almost 8 years ago, isn't that crazy?  When I started, I didn't really have a long term plan, or any great expectation.  My plan/purpose (I write that laughing out loud, because I've never really formalized either) has changed, ebbed and flowed, as our life has changed, and as we have changed.  Which makes some sense, it's mine, and it should change when I do.

I'm turning 32 on Sunday, and am feeling a bit reflective.  Birthdays and getting older don't bug me a single bit, but I find it hugely interesting to think about how much I've changed and who I am now.  I use this space as a way to catalog who I am (we are) and what I am (we are) doing.  Despite blogging for 8 years, many times on my birthday, there were many years that I didn't even mention it, writing instead about Scout, or figuring out teaching, or just pretending it wasn't happening?  I try to remember why I didn't relish a day to celebrate myself, even in my own head, but I can't recall what I was thinking.  Maybe that I didn't want to toot my own horn?

The year I grew Scout was the first year I even mentioned it, then "forgot" the following year.  Year 30 seemed to be big enough for factual bit of summary, and I remembered not to forget myself last year, even with with a new baby.  Well hey, guess what?  I'm more important than a quick mention of my celebration plans.  I deserve a good 20 minutes of thought and writing, I'm worth it!

I don't know why exactly, but I'm feeling good lately.  Not perfect, definitely not perfect.  But happy and confident in the path I've chosen and the person I'm working on.  Maybe it's that we know we are done building our family, and now we can focus on growing and learning how to be together in the space that we have?  Maybe it's that this is my easiest year teaching?  I have an awesome team to thank for that one. I don't know, but I feel like I know me, who I am and who I want to be in 10, 20, and maybe even 30 years.

I'm a wife, to a pretty amazing guy who is the perfect counterpart to me.  My need for schedules and plans pair with his spontaneity and creativity.  I can be awfully annoying to live with so I find it somewhat unbelievable that I have this awesome person taking care of me on a daily basis (making coffee every morning?  Sending messages and pictures of the girls all day so I don't feel like I miss out?).  He's incredibly thoughtful. I am so fortunate to have someone so willing to let me talk, and talk, and then retalk out every little thing.  It's how I process.

I'm a mom.  To two girls that words cannot even describe.  And I want so badly to do right by them, but I fall short in the patience department so frequently.  I do middle of the night snuggles and holding sick kids well but changing Elena's diaper while she's throwing a fit can make me raise my voice.  I know the right questions to ask Scout to really get at what is bothering her and gain insight into what she is thinking, but I am also guilty of spacing out on my phone while "playing" with her.  Curse of all parents, maybe, but I'm always wanting to do better.

I'm a daughter, sister, sister-in-law, and aunt.  I love my family. And am frequently so grateful for the strong family support I have.  They are the closest friends I have and the people that I know I can always count on.  They have known me, when I'm doing good and when I'm a pain, and they still love me.  None of us are perfect, and I'm sure we can all bug each other, but I wouldn't trade any of them away.  Because I wouldn't be me without them.

I'm a friend, of a few people.  I've never been the type to have lots of friends, and I still don't have many friends that I see in social settings.  I'm not very good at small-talk and making things happen outside of structured environments.  I really don't do "just fun" well.  I wish I did; it takes effort.  But I have a few friends that I really appreciate, and enjoy their company.  I'd like to think I'm pretty dependable, even if I'm not always the most exciting.  And I have a lot of people that I really like, that I (would like to think) that I am getting better at having real conversations with.  That I'm getting better at letting people know I care, and at letting them know me on more than a superficial level.

I am a ridiculous rule-follower, in that I like things done right.  If it's supposed to be done a certain way, we should do it that way.  But, I, uh also have a tendency to break rules.  In ways that would probably surprise people who don't know me well.  This especially applies to rules I think aren't well thought out.

I'm not the best about my eating and exercising habits.  I have good intentions and good plans, but I never follow through well.  I'm good at making excuses about why that doesn't happen (too busy, too tired, don't want to impose on other people) but I'd like to get better about actually making time to exercise and cooking healthy dinners more regularly.  I always feel so much better when I do.

I'm a teacher.  Of middle school students, and I don't know that I would ever want to switch ages.  They are absolutely ridiculous, a complete mess, and I love them for it.  I love trying to figure them out, and then helping them figure themselves out.  I really don't think I would be any good at teaching a class of 30 students focusing purely on meeting 8th grade academic standards, but I'd like to think I'm pretty good at getting to know the students I'm responsible for and using my time with them to help them become better at navigating the world around them. 

I also have conversations with college students.  I've been doing that for about 4 years now, so I'm starting to feel like it's a solid piece of me, one that I really appreciate.  I'm hired to teach college students how to become teachers, regarding some aspect of special education, but usually I learn so much from them as well.  I feel much more like I am having conversations with open minded peers and sharing what I know, then actually teaching.

I'm blunt, and to the point.  To the point of rudeness (and crassness) in many situations.  I am too opinionated and overbearing in decision making processes.  I have to consciously decide to sit back and let others make decisions...sometimes  (My poor husband...and colleagues).  But I also hate conflict; really, really hate conflict.  Which makes for an interesting change in conversation style from someone that I feel like I can trust to have open, honest conversations with to someone that I worry about offending.  Because I highly value relationships where I trust that both sides will honestly speak their mind, voice disagreements, and still come back for more.  Debates are awesome and I will always point out the other side; divergent thinking promotes growth.  But I hate fighting and I hate political game playing of trying to win people over by shooting others down.  Help me analyze that one.

I love being outside and working in my yard.  I love putting my hands in the dirt, rotating the compost, planting and weeding a garden.  I love working with something natural to create beautiful and useful.  I love looking out my backdoor and seeing open space, light, and that gorgeous beautiful mountain in our backyard.

I love reading, books to escape to completely different place and books to learn something new.  No in between.  I wish I had more time to read, that goes with the excising self care piece.  And in the 10 year imagined self, when my girls can curl up next to me and read a book of their own.

I hate being left behind on adventures, but I'm really a homebody that would never want to leave.

I love systems and planning and organizing to prevent a problem from happening again in the future.  If something didn't go right, my immediate thought is to figure out why and prevent it from happening again.  I'd probably over systematize the whole world if I had complete control.  Good thing I don't, a little bit of chaos is good for everyone.

I'm critical.  Of myself and of those around me.  Sorry.  It's part of always looking for a way to do better.  So sorry to those closest to me who always get to hear my suggestions for improvement.

I need to be busy.  I have trouble sitting still and enjoying the moment and am always looking for what needs to be done.  And I unfairly expect everyone else to be as busy as me.  I multitask to a fault, and am a terrible long procrastinating only affects me.  Sometimes, I don't do best work, because I have too many things I'm worried about not doing.

Like I said, I'm not perfect.  And I don't think I'm always easy to be around.  But I know who I am, what I need, and what I'm working on.  I like where I'm headed.  And I like the people I'm headed there with.  32 is going to be a good one.

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