Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Half Way There

Although I am not sure where "there" is, other than turning 40. This week I realized that I am exactly half way through the middle of my 30's. Time to reflect I suppose.

My 30's started with much promise. I found my 30's much better than my 20's just as I had found my 20's much better than my teens. By 30 I felt confident in my role as wife and mother. I liked who I was and was willing to drop some of those labels I had placed on myself in my youth. At 30 I got a tattoo to prove I wasn't a completely the "Christian Goody Two-Shoes" I and everyone else seemed to think I was. At 30 I ran a 10km race to show myself, and everyone else, I could be the "athletic one" too.

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.


Tudu said...

Beautiful. Very moving. I'll be here as long as you are writing.

By the way I saw your pictures on FB and your boys are growing into some really handsome young men. When it comes time to marry off my kids, I'm looking up North. You know I will have to pay a hefty sum for some of them so that could be your financial security. Just a thought. LOL

Di said...

Walking and reading right along with you. You teach me, and inspire me! Thank you

Alyssa said...

I love this post. But, you forget to mention 1 thing...how FABULOUS you look at 35!

Kristie said...

So many times Jen, I wish that I had had more opportunity to know you in grade school. To become far closer to you than I feel. And yet, I know that being here is an honour and blessing that few get. I will always join your journey, if even only across cyber world....