Sometime in the past few weeks I celebrated an epic milestone birthday (why on earth we decide to keep counting after 25 just blows my mind) and watched a Big Bang Theory episode about a professor who died leaving mountains of papers in boxes and an unopened bottle of champagne and it made me feel completely depressed. I’m at my own turning point from Stay-at-home-mom to Stay-at-home-mom-with-no-kids-at-home because my kids just started school and it’s a really enlightening learning period, but it’s a little lonely and difficult and getting older and watching that episode put me in that weird place I remember when I just finished college and was wondering what to do and I imagine I’ll probably feel this way again one day when the kids go off to school or the hubby and I retire.
“It must be pretty tough right now but you’ll figure it out” I told a babysitter who was telling me about what she’s trying to do now that she’s come home from college and is in that whole uncomfortable looking for a job or graduate school phase and finding it a little overwhelming. Her face just started to glow and she said “Thank you! Most people tell me I’m so lucky!” And it made me so happy because I totally know that feeling and I’m right in the thick of it too. It is so much harder to figure out what you’re doing when you have to explain it to other people and saying it out loud sometimes makes it feel even more depressing. At least at my age, I’m realizing that this is just part of growth and eventually I’ll get through it too.
It is hard to grow. When you are a kid, we celebrate the milestones no matter how big or small they are and somehow as we grow older, we question our growth and forget to look back on how far we’ve come and we are really tough on ourselves. When I look back on my six years at home with the kids when I’m trying to figure out what I want to do next, it’s hard to see how all the sweet and grueling moments we had were actually accomplishments. That learning to potty train two kids, or making lunch, or driving to a lesson without forgetting anything might not have earned me any degrees but these were things I learned and did and experienced and lived.
They were my life.
And in these past 6 years I’ve learned that the only thing I really need in life is my family and friends. I am so thankful for these lovely people who celebrate my life and invite me to share in their celebrations (even when I say we’re way too old for birthdays!).
Who eat cake and cookies and coffee with me and join me on crazy adventures.
Who read my musings and share their musings with me in blogs or texts or facebook updates.
Who buy me birdhouses to get me to just sit with a cup of coffee, take in the beauty all around me and figure out what I’d like to do next. Or talk to me about sloths or puffins because they know I’m mildly obsessed.
We all need people to help us find our dreams and get us centered when we get a little off-track or when time just forces us to change. And I’m thankful that I have people in my life who make me realize that I’m more than what I’m sometimes labeled: I’m not just lucky, or just a mom or just a wife or just what I used to be as a job-title, but I’m valued for me and I’m a valuable part of my village.
And I may never have any on-paper big achievements in life, but I’m so thankful for people who love me regardless of what I do, and that I know I have a place and I belong and I can’t thank them enough for that. I think I could live on this alone. And I hope I can pass this feeling on to my kids somehow-the empowering feeling of no matter what they do they are loved and that they belong.
So I’m glad for times of growth even though they’re tough and for the fake professor on Big Bang theory who made me cry about his boxes of unfulfilled accomplishments and made me me question if I had done anything real with my own life, and got me into this funk about about my year (or maybe years) as a stay-at-home-mom without kids at home and who made me think about all I have to celebrate and be thankful for.
Who would have thought that tv could be so enlightening?
(PS. If you’re in the same boat, you might want to watch it too and I’ll gladly share a toast with you to celebrate life and accomplishments big and small and birthdays way beyond 25.)