In two weeks my third child will turn one. This is far and away the fastest year of my life. I have mixed feelings about her birthday. I feel sad because literally every minute with her is amazing. I feel excited, because I look forward to hearing her first words and finding out who she really is. I feel scared, because just five days after her birthday, I will turn 36 and I feel so far from 36 it’s breathtaking. Change is really hard. I simultaneously want my life to change and stay the same. I’m very aware that my time on earth is moving and that at some point in the not too distant future, I will be beyond middle aged. And I’m struggling, as I think many people do, with what I have and have not accomplished in my time on earth.
I wake in the night worrying that I am not and never be who or what I thought I would be at this age. And then I am struck by how lucky I am and have been. I’m married to a wonderful man who, after fourteen years, still laughs at my jokes, supports me when I’m down, and tells me I look beautiful regularly. I have THREE fireball children who, when I look at them, I feel certain I could die that day and be happy. I have parents and a sister who I see regularly, and a job and a warm house and enough food on the table.
And yet I still lay awake at night wondering if what I’ve done is enough? If what I am or who I am is enough. Frankly I am plagued by it. Today was my last day chairing a board that has been my identify for more than a decade. Something I am deeply, deeply passionate about and proud of. And now it’s over. And it should be, because it’s time for someone else to be in charge and it’s time for me to figure out what I want to do next. And as my therapist says, I try to see that as a positive challenge-as something exciting to ponder. And in some corner of my mind it is, but it is also scary. I feel like I want to do big, huge things with my life, but I don’t know what they are.
I saw a quote recently that said “remember when you wanted what you currently have”? Good gracious that should be written on my tombstone. How many hours and nights did I fret about whether or not I would be able to have children. How many times did I break down sobbing, begging for one child. And now I have three. And they are fucking GREAT. And I think it’s ok to still want more-to strive for more, but it’s just as important to practice gratitude and forgiveness and kindness to oneself for what they already have and have already accomplished. I have always been so hard on myself. I don’t ever give myself a break. I really don’t. I know where my drive comes from, for better or for worse. My ambition makes me proud, but it is also a very heavy albatross to wear. It’s a constant reminder that no matter what I have right this moment, it’s not enough. I don’t want to look back on my life and regret not relishing in the time I have right now with my children. Relishing in the job I have that not only allows but SUPPORTS my time with my family. But those voices we carry with us from childhood are loud, and they are judgmental and unforgiving. And who are we to think that we can banish a voice that has been with us for thirty years through a couple of yoga sessions? A couple of therapy sessions.
I don’t mean to have a pity party for myself. I really don’t. But this blog is more for me than for anyone else. It is a place where I can experience a catharsis, where I can hear my truest voice. A different therapist (god help me) once said that we have a tendency to listen to the harsh, hurtful voices in our mind as though they are the “true” voice, the “real” voice. But the same could be argued for the gentle and soft voice that says “hey there, you are enough”. Because that voice, the more likable voice is the true voice.
Or at least it should be.