Normally I would be sharing with you my weekly book review but tomorrow is my 34th birthday so I’m going to take a moment to celebrate me and what my 30s have taught me the most. My birthday rocks. It’s my day, weekend, okay, I take the whole week and I’m not ashamed of that. I would take the whole month but I have to share it with my husband. 😛 I deserve it, it’s the one time of year when I can celebrate me without people looking at me like I’m full of myself. As I prepare to usher in my 34th year I find myself reflecting on all that my 30s have taught me.
I was seven months shy of 30 when Addie entered our lives and changed the fabric of who I was forever. By the time my 30th birthday rolled around I was deep in the throws of new motherhood and very much trying to figure out who the hell the woman was staring back at me in the mirror each morning. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom and I love this little human with more fierceness than anything or anyone (sorry babe) I have ever loved before. The thing about becoming a mother though is that you quickly forget who you are and for a time you’re stuck in this limbo between who you used to be and who you are becoming. I imagine the length of time it takes a woman to truly adjust to the new version of herself after becoming a mother varies but for me, I was still trying to figure it all out.
FINDING ME AGAIN
Things are a bit hazy from 30 to about 32 as I adjusted to being a mom and tried to claw my way out of my old shell of who I was and get comfortable in the new shell of who I had become. My late nights out partying with my friends and being able to decide at the drop of a hat that I wanted to go away for the weekend were long gone. Also gone was my familiarity with my body. In many people’s eyes I “bounced back” right after having Addie but to me, my body was foreign to me. Suddenly my breasts that had only served as an appealing curve I had to dress were a food source. The thought of anyone seeing them any other way seemed crazy to me. Also different was how my once taut stomach was taking longer than I liked to “bounce back” and still isn’t the same, even though I eat well and work out. Don’t even get me started on the sneeze factor. Any mom will attest that once you birth a child, a sneeze means more than, you might be getting a cold or there is dust in the air.
Then there were the hormones. After baby hormones make PMS hormones laughable and almost cute. I was a crazy person those first few months but once things started leveling out I thought I was in the clear. Man was I wrong, suddenly it’s as if your emotions are super heightened. The slightest cry from a child, an emotional scene in a movie or show with anything upsetting happening to a child, or basically anything meant to tug at the heart strings continues to reduce me to tears. Just the thought of my daughter being upset, hurt (physically or emotionally) or anything other than her spirited and happy self makes me weep. Mommy hormones are no joke and nothing prepares you for them. I’m a blubbering mess people.
From 32 to 33 I finally started to feel like I was adjusting to this new me and I was discovering what I wasn’t willing to live with anymore. One of the biggest things I wasn’t willing to live with was staying in a career that brought me no joy. I fought this realization for a long time though because my brain kept telling me I was nuts to leave a stable career and income for the uncertain world, of what? I had no idea what I wanted to do when and if I made the huge life choice of leaving a successful career and the security it brought me and my family. Finally though, I reached my breaking point and something had to change. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So with my husband’s blessing I left my career and we moved our family from NY to IA.
WHO I AM NOW
Holy shit people, this past year still makes me stop sometimes and say to myself, “Are you out of your fucking mind? What are you doing?!” At the time though, and even still, I knew that it was the right decision and what I was supposed to be doing. Some would say that it’s absolutely insane to leave a successful career and uproot your family with no plan, and I will agree with them. It is insane but I knew in every fiber of my being that it was what was supposed to happen. I had to make the final yank of the band-aide, close my eyes and prepare for the short burst of pain. If I didn’t, I risked remaining in limbo and potentially being stuck in a life I couldn’t stand. I wasn’t going to live like that.
Thirty-three to thirty-four finds me now adjusting to a new shell, after once again clawing my way out of my old shell. It hasn’t always been roses and I have questioned the decision more times than I can count but I know that I will eventually adjust and emerge a newer and better version of who I am now.
My 30s have been riddled with huge life changes that have pushed me to the breaking point and back again and I’m a better person because of it. I’m still not completely comfortable in my skin, though I’m pretty damn close, and I’m nervous for what the future has in store but with the love of my husband, daughter, family and friends I know I will make it through. I’m excited for this next year and for what the rest of my 30s have in store for me. The only guarantee is that they will be full of more life changes and more growing. So I’m celebrating me and what my 30s have taught me the most.
What have the 30s taught you the most?