Jen at 30
I felt strong and confident and definitely that the world was a good place and my life was a good one. I liked myself and liked my life. All in all, things were good. Great in fact. Being 30 was cool.
The next four years pretty much have kicked my butt to the curb and back. And because of that, at 35 and a half, I like me more. I am wiser, gentler and less judgemental. I have learned things about myself I do not like, and things I do. I have had my strengths and weaknesses laid bare. I have grieved harder than I thought possible, and loved harder than I knew I could. I have made some truly horrible decisions, and some really good ones.
At 35 I value my family more and my marriage more. I appreciate the people I love, even those that have left my life, more deeply because I know what it feels like now to lose someone you think you can't live without. If I had known in advance what these last 5 years would hold for me, I am not sure I would have made the choice to live them, yet at the same time, I realize that they have given me a precious gift.
And today, half way to 40, I realize how much less I know about my life is than I did 5 years ago. 5 years ago my husband had a job that was secure - he quit it and took the job he lost two months ago. 5 years ago I assumed we would live here for a long time - today I have no idea if we will be here in two months. 5 years ago I thought racism was something I could protect my children from - today I know that most of what they deal with comes from their same age peers of which I have no idea. 5 years ago I thought my marriage was invincible and my heart would never break - today I realize how fragile both are and hold them close.
Life is hard. I wish I could guarantee my kids that the next 5 years will be better. That racism will end, that fear and death and disease won't touch our lives, that the "sisters" they love will stay this time. I know none of that. By my 40th birthday my sons will be all be teenagers, my oldest on the brink of manhood and I will begin the journey of releasing my legacy to the world.
Am I looking forward to the next 5 years? To be honest, I am scared. The wisdom that comes with age just might be over rated. I toss around the idea that maybe being blissfully ignorant might be a whole lot easier than the knowledge and growth that comes from pain and living life, and yet I know that's not true. I like who I am today. I will like who I am at 40.
Jen at 35
I hope you come with me along the journey.