This is thirty-two.
It’s my husband letting me sleep in until 8:00am. It’s not being able to sleep any longer because I’m usually awake by 6:30 tending to my bright-eyed offspring, the ones eager for the day to begin. It’s being finished with feeling consistently annoyed by their wake-up call and following through with my resolve to enjoy the tiny bodies snuggling into my space while it lasts. It’s being inexplicably thrilled that I got to stay in my soft, warm bed a bit longer this morning. It’s trying ignore the antsy feeling growing as I stay there, because it feels weird: an uncommon occurrence among the commonplace events of an otherwise fairly typical day. It’s making everyone breakfast because that’s just what I do. It’s simply liking to make everyone breakfast.
It’s putting in the extra effort to apply makeup today, because sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s being comfortable in my own bare cheeks and small eyes, mostly. It’s stepping into my day with the understanding that I have more to offer the world than a pretty face. It’s smiling a little because it feels rebellious.
It’s meeting tiny new wrinkles and random gray hairs and feeling disconcerted. It’s feeling my previous stance on aging being “beautiful and well-earned” suddenly challenged. It’s wondering how I feel about it all now, as my narrow adolescent ideas of beauty and my budding sage satisfaction with myself-as-I-am come toe to toe.
It’s pulling clothing on over a body that is young and healthy, but soft with the waves of demands constantly tugging at my resolve to firm up my curves. It’s having a body tender with the distinctly female pride of bearing children, with providing the world a few more hands to lift burdens, with being a soft place for those burden-lifters to land. It’s pulling on a nice dress for dinner and struggling with my little poochy mom-tummy, despite many practiced pep talks. It’s shrugging and wearing the dress anyway.
It’s only asking for a dinner-out for my birthday, one that is delicious and one I didn’t have to plan or prepare. It’s discussing minivans, our small business, and family vacations over dinner. It’s seriously considering living out of a motor home for a year and existing wildly and unconventionally, seeing everything we can see. It’s feeling young enough to do it and old enough to feel a twinge of responsible concern. It’s revelling in the canyon between the two.
It’s coming home at 9:30pm from our birthday date, tired and ready to crawl into bed. It’s laying close under the covers while we fall asleep to an old episode of The Office on Netflix. It’s almost eight years of marriage, eight hard years of marriage. It’s thinking of that with a touch of pride because we keep fighting our uphill battle, no matter what, and it keeps getting a little bit better. It’s realizing that marriage is mostly just a series of situations that requires me to examine my priorities and the kind of person I truly want to be. It’s a daily recommitting to my belief that lasting love is genuinely worth my constant internal battle to stay humble and kind. It’s falling asleep tucked around each other in our unflattering, but comfortable, sleepwear because that’s just what we do at the end of the day.
It’s being increasingly unconcerned with what those younger than me think of my relative trendiness, but increasingly concerned with forging a better world for them. It’s settling into my own style and rhythm that doesn’t answer to the pages of Seventeen Magazine. It’s passing up more and more of the latest fads, but recognizing the ones I will adore and being brave enough to seize them with both hands and ROCK THEM. It’s straddling the line between funky and graceful, inexperienced and wise, hot and beautiful. It’s beginning to realize that I don’t have to make an either/or decision on any of them.
It’s a faith that has been shaken and deepened. It’s knowing my God better than ever and being more comfortable with Him knowing me as well as He does. It’s a heart that has grieved through death and loss. It’s a mind that has racked itself with questions as to its health and abilities, trying on every mental illness for size and for answers, if it fits. It’s trying to fill my life with art and creativity, with play-dates and Bachelor nights with friends, with depth and compassion and honesty.
It’s simultaneously being obsessed with, and bored with, social media. It’s being one of the last to remember a childhood without the internet and still rolling my eyes and judging myself a little bit every time I take a selfie.
It’s being a little too wild to the grandmas, and a little too boring to the teenagers. It’s finally finding firm ground to plant my feet and grow while understanding that I can expect the ground to shift soon enough. It’s planning with a twinkle in my eye, and taking deep breaths while turning to face my demons.
It’s soul-stretching and ground-breaking, like every other year before it.
This is my thirty-two.