If there is one thing I have learned as I get older, it is that I don't know very much. So often the strong convictions and opinions that I once held about life and the living of it are ironed out through time and trial into much more gracious and humble positions. So for those of you coming up behind, here are a couple things that I have learned are not nearly as taboo as I once thought.
1. Skip a day (or two) washing my hair and shaving my legs...because time with that little guy who is finger painting bubbles onto the bathroom mirror matters more than having the legs of a Venus Goddess.
2. Exchange gospel music and Wee Sing for country music, bluegrass banjos and the Top 40 Countdown...because it turns out that you can love Jesus, love the all-American South and love a good bass line.
3. And also cuss a little too...because sometimes you just can't tell the story right without a colorful, four-letter word.
4. Have more children...because those pesky and demanding toddlers that kept the twenty-something me from earning all those important pieces of paper that we frame and celebrate grew into the joy and center of my thirty-something world, so another crop of toddlers just means more slobbery-sweet kisses and more hand-drawn birthday cards (the truly important papers) and more time during the midnight hours to rock snuggly, little cubs and memorize the smell of their velveteen skin. It passes all too quickly.
5. Exchange fruity liquor drinks for bitter beers and wines...because life truly is too short a journey to bustle and bump through its gardens haphazardly and heavily-marinated; a leisurely stroll with a lovely Riesling in hand just seems more appropriate.
6. Skip a day (or three) on dusting, sweeping and mopping....because no child ever lovingly eulogized their mother with the nostalgic smells of bleach and the meaningful absence of crumbs. (or an admirable size four waist, for that matter)
7. Live an honest and integrated life that has been freed from the criticism and opinions of others...because you are yours and I am mine, and life runs much more smoothly if we both just water the seeds and pick the weeds within our own picket fences.
8. Give up the chase of celebrity for the treasures of simplicity and sincerity...because comparison and discontent are the thieves of joy, but gratitude is the filter through which all of life comes into brilliant color.
9. Find myself happily single and solitary, yet neither alone nor lonely...because solo-parenting is hard, for sure, but relationships are hard too, and it is a blessing in this season to pour my undivided attention and energy into the five people who depend on me the most.
10. Exchange the polished perfections of Pottery Barn and Victoria Secret for the beauty and bliss of this hand-stitched, stretch-marked, finger-printed, scratch-and-dent, home-grown life. Just because.
It turns out that transitioning from a twenty-something to a thirty-something is much less like outgrowing Disney and much more like graduating middle school. And thanks to a strong, leading generation of sleepless dreamers and ageless writers, innovative artists and genius inventors, soul-spent hippies and wisdom-rich intellectuals... forty- and fifty-something aren't looking too shabby either. Cheers!
about the writer.
“Words are only postage stamps delivering the object for you to unwrap” (George Bernard Shaw)