Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Year

Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. - Franz Kafka

Thirty-four years.

Today, I have been alive for 34 years. It doesn't seem like that long. Sometimes it feels like "just yesterday" that I was a teenager, and just two days ago I was a carefree kid. Now, I'm a mom, a wife, a professional. I never look in the mirror and see "almost middle aged." I see young and still ready to take on the world. I feel like I don't look that much older than I did at 24 (thank goodness for stay young-looking genes!). I suppose when you see yourself age every day, you really don't see the aging because the face of it has become so familiar.

Once I was looking through the kitchen window at dusk and I saw an old woman looking in. Suddenly the light changed and I realized that the old woman was myself. You see, it all happens on the outside; Inside one doesn't change. - Molly Keane

Sometimes, it's overwhelming. Especially when I start thinking that I'm about halfway through life, if I'm lucky, and it just doesn't feel like I'm that close to The End. I feel like I have so much more to do, so many more things to experience, and the days are dripping away from me like golden honey oozing down the side of a hot tea cup.

It's been a good life so far. A few pitfalls, a few bumps, but nothing absolutely devastating. I love my life. I wake up every day thankful for everything and everyone in my life and excited for all it still offers. I have few regrets and many hopes. I have a fantastic family, a beautiful home, a wonderful husband, an exciting job. My children amaze me each and every day and I know I've been a part of that. I've given a bit of myself to the future in my children.

Mostly, I'm disappointed in myself more than anything or anyone else in my life. From time to time I take a good, long, hard look of what I've accomplished, who I am and what I could have done. With those thoughts comes the wish I had a souped-up DeLorean so I could zip back in time and smack my younger self around a bit.

Then, I remember, any changes to the choices I made years ago would dramatically change the way things are now. And I kinda like the way things are now. Well, except for the big ass. I can do without monstrosity following me around every day. Other than that, I have no complaints.

Days can be hectic and frustrating and there are times I feel like running away to live in a remote cabin in Alaska or the Yukon all by myself. But I slog through it, get to the other side, and I'm never any worse for the trip. Most of the time, I come out a better person.

I am thankful for all the wonderful things in my life and am now able to learn from the mistakes rather than just making the same bad choices over and over again. The phrase "stop and smell the roses" means a lot more to me now than it did even ten years ago, when I was rushing through the days, weeks, months, always watching for the next day, wanting the bigger, better things but never quite satisfied with what I found. Today, I notice the butterflies, the stars, the flowers, I smell the fresh dirt, hear the birds, watch my children and I am happy. I sit on my deck and watch the chickens peck the dirt, for goodness sake, and I am HAPPY with that.

Isn't that all there really is, at the end of the day? Happiness in what you have as you move forward to the next sunrise?

What do you say about the next 364 days when the last 365 days have been so good? You say, "I'd like more of the same, please, with more cowbell. Thank you."

Then you eat a ginormous piece of German chocolate cake with a huge scoop of butter pecan ice cream and not give a whit that it will go straight to your expanding buttocks. After all, I have 364 days to work it off.


David Syzdek said...

Being at almost the same place in my life (I turn 35 in March), I am both thankful for the great family and job that I have but it seems like yesterday I was in high school and college and had unlimited possibilities ahead of me. Every year that goes by and those possibilities narrow a little bit each year. It makes for a melancholy feeling....

Jenn said...

I am very familiar with that melancholy feeling...and occasionally it is a very overwhelming kind of "funk."