Monday, March 7, 2016

33

I turn 33 years old tomorrow.  And I haven't posted or written a thing on this blog since August, just before the back to school craziness started up again.  It's the longest I've gone without posting since I started, in July of 2007.  I'm not sure if I've got the words to explain the long break, or if I'm trying to come back to this regularly, but writing tonight feels right, so I'm going with it.  Maybe it's because something about birthdays brings out the reflective side of me; looking at who I've been and who I am today. And I like recording that little snapshot of thought, to read over next year, when I'm sitting here again.  A whole year different but back in the same reflective mood.  That's really the thing that keeps me coming back to this blog, this place.  The record of what life has been and what it is now.  Because I've changed.  Andrew's changed.  The girls have changed.  Our house, our pets, our garden, our plans, our opinions.   They all change.  But the way things were is still a part of me, even if I can hardly see it now.  And so all the old stays, and I keep coming back here.
Sweet birthday flowers from my student teacher
Tonight I'm sitting here alone, in the quiet.  Well, relative quiet.  My sick kids keep having ridiculous coughing fits, and I hold my breath waiting to see if they wake up.  But currently they are sleeping through them and I'll take what I can get.  Andrew's teaching trumpet lessons, which he still does two nights a week.  I'm taking a personal day off of work tomorrow, to give myself a treat for my birthday, so I've got no work looming that must be done tonight. Thank goodness for an awesome student teacher, otherwise I'd be worrying about sub plans and making sure my "kids" are covered for tomorrow.  Instead, I'll be soaking up a day being spoiled by my family which sounds just perfect to me.

I feel more comfortable in my own skin now than I ever have before.  It's the best part about getting older, at least for me.  That I know myself better each year, and feel more content with who I am, good and bad.  I am more able to admit my flaws and the things I'm working on, as well as celebrate the things I love about myself, the pieces that I want to hang around despite the constant flow of change.

I've realized that I can't make everyone happy, but that I can try and leave them a little bit better off than they were before.  And I have to remind myself that I am not responsible for other people's happiness, every day, frequently. 

I'm realizing that sometimes plans need to change, in order to achieve the real goal that originated the plan in the first place. That you can start down a path, realize it's not leading where you want it to, and change.  That you should change...instead of bullheadedly continuing down the path you started. 

And that plans created with the goal of fun...should feel like fun. To always come back to the "why am I doing this?" and "am I really getting what I wanted out of it?".

I'm learning to make time for myself, to put my needs first.  To get a run in, to get a babysitter to go out, to not clean the house but to color or take a bath instead.  That there will always be more to do and that it's ok to not always do it.  I threw away about 50% of my to-do lists (Yes.  You read that right.  There were a lot of them). No excuses and no justification.  Maybe it's a natural progression as the girls are getting older, but it feels right.

I'm trying to say yes.  Yes, to things that I want to do, without letting worry get in the way.  And I like it.  It's led to more fun.  To trying new things and finding more that make me happy.  Slowly training my brain to let go of worry and embrace something new. 

I'm trying to find balance.  Balance between standing up for myself, not changing to please others, saying what I really think....and not bulldozing everyone around me. To say what I think, when you ask, without implying that you have to agree with me or do what I say.

I'm learning to spend more time processing alone, in my own head.  Without bouncing every thought off everyone else.  This is a hard habit to break.  To spend time thinking instead of talking and gauging reactions.  To wait on a thought.  Or a feeling.  And see if it's still there later.  Because sometimes those feelings pass and they didn't need to be acted on.

I've embraced the fact that I will always plan pessimistic, but in the moment, I'm actually feeling quite optimistic.

I'm learning to savor the little things that I love instead of getting too busy to recognize them for what they are.  That cup of coffee while I watch the sunrise (instead of thinking about how ridiculously early it is).  The 30 minute run where my brain is occupied with the sound of my breath (instead of how hard it was to get out the door, and why does it still take me a full mile to get in the groove?).  The dish of chocolate chips, glass of wine and a bath (never mind that I can't leave the house because there are two kids sleeping in the other room).

So, to the year when I realized that change was constant, and to embrace it instead of fight it; thanks.  To the year when I learned that I could have fun doing new things when I stop letting my worries become an excuse; I've enjoyed you.  And to the year when I'm focusing on thinking about the reasons driving the plan; I'm excited to see what comes next.

P.S.  If you are really hating me right now because I didn't include pictures and updates on the kids, go check out my instagram...and stop being mad.


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