My Half-Life

January 22, 2013 at 4:50 am | Posted in Family, Me | 14 Comments
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In exactly two months, I’ll be 35.

If I’m lucky, I still have half of my life to live. And if I’m not so lucky … well, I have less.

Contemplating that has led to a few heart palpitations in the shower, a few nightmares involving wildcats and curvy roads and getting lost in the grocery store.

What have I done with the time that’s gone? What haven’t I done? What do I want from the time that remains?

I have no idea. And no time to contemplate it between the loads of laundry, the sticky breakfast dishes, the cat puke, the potty training, the freelance work, the sleep I’m not getting, the calories I’m not burning, the endless piles of toys, and the downloaded movie queue I’ll never, ever make it through.

Or maybe I should put it this way. We have clothes to wear, meals to eat, and dishes to eat them on. We have healthy pets and healthy kids. We have work that pays the bills. We have more fun ways to spend our free time than we have actual free time. We have each other, and we are lucky. I am lucky.

But I still can’t ignore this emotional tug to take stock and re-prioritize, to dig around in my mental sandbox and see what’s buried in there. Won’t that ultimately make me better? A better woman, a better mother, a better partner, a better person?

Too many days, I feel myself bracing for the chaos and noise and dirty socks I know are coming. I wish for something to be different, but I’m not sure what. Or how. Or even why I want something to change.

Because I am lucky. I am. I know this.

Like the plastic gold coins my boys just unearthed in the playroom, my own treasures are already within reach.

How do you make time for a little honest-to-goodness soul-searching? What helps remind you that you’re lucky? And what’s been recently rediscovered in your family’s playroom?

14 Comments »

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  1. I think it’s a good thing to reflect. I know right now everything seems so rushed, but it will be soon that the kids will grow up and you’ll be wishing you had them back. Enjoy them while they are at home and do your soul searching later. That and read a good book instead of watching one of those movies.πŸ™‚ Happy birthday!

  2. Happy almost birthday! I think the reflection you seek is wonderful (as you know, I’m a believer in that sort of thing – and on a regular basis), but you really are smack in the middle of those “noisy years” when there’s so much physical need for you (as well as mental), that it’s depleting. You’re just too damn tired at the end of the day (and if you’re lucky, there is indeed an end of the day when you have 6 hours to yourself called “sleep”).

    I can’t help but feel that what you are feeling is absolutely natural – which doesn’t make it any easier. Not only because 35 feels like a milestone to you (it wasn’t to me – 50 on the other hand, was a bit of a shock, especially with two kids still at home) – but because you are well aware of how much world there is to see and explore (after all, you’re recently back from that extraordinary adventure), and you know how much “you” there is that isn’t being tapped.

    When my kids were the age yours are, I also worked a corporate job – partly because it was less depleting (to me) than being home with them all day and all night, especially with a traveling husband. I think the fact that you’re aware of your good fortune is wonderfully wise, but that you’re tugged at by other parts of yourself is probably a good sign that those pieces of you will find a way to see more light, when these early parenting years have advanced just a little bit.

    That doesn’t mean you’ll be less busy exactly, only busy differently and with – possibly – a bit more ability to find even a small amount of time to pursue something for you.

  3. I just sped past that milestone myself, feeling like there should be more thought about what’s been and what I hope will be,mixed with a tremendous gratitude for what is. But, instead, the day vanished and time kept pushing me forward. That’s so much better than the alternatives though.

    Happy almost 35!

  4. I always have trouble with the 5 birthdays. Not the zeroes, like you’d think, but the 5’s.

  5. Half Life. Hmmm. I thought I had a half life at 45.πŸ™‚ I like these two perspectives. I live something like this when I’m washing dishes. I grumble about all the things I hate: “I’m all alone with these dishes. I’m ALWAYS alone doing these chores. Why am I the one washing egg off everyone’s dish?!” And then I breathe. And go thru the list again. “I’m all alone. Ahh. What I would have given to be alone a mere 5 years ago.” I breathe again. My skin softens and I remember those toddlers who hung on my leg. I’m glad to remember them rather than still FEEL them because my life is so rich. “My son took out the recycle this morning and my daughter dusted the wineglass shelf so nicely before she left for college. I’m lucky we have REAL farm eggs, that’s a treat.”

    You reinforced this little ritual for me. Thanks.

  6. I’m right behind you. I almost posted this on your Facebook, but I didn’t want to share my feelings with all of our shared friends. At least I’m kind of anonymous on here. I’m in a panic at least once a week. I don’t mind turning 35, but I also spend time thinking that my life is half over. I spend so much time rushing through or wasting time to get to something, but like you, I don’t know what that something is. It drives me crazy! I can’t waste my life like this! My kids are growing up before my eyes, and I desperately need to quell these feelings of emptiness. I just don’t know how.

  7. I started hearing a drum beat, if you will, around 35. I just turned 40. What I can say is that from 35-40 I got clearer and clearer about what I won’t do anymore (and maybe a little less clear about what I want the future to hold). The good new is that getting clear about what I don’t want made me appreciate the present more!

  8. Turning 38 soon, and I know what you mean about the daily chaos, mess, noise, etc. Very similar here, except no cat puke or freelance jobs. Since I haven’t been blogging, I find I haven’t been reflecting much either. Such a challenge to find/make the time and mental energy to do so. I did read a book review the other day, about a book that touched some of the issues I spent years with in my academic work. All of a sudden, I felt a huge sense of loss. Wait. What I am I doing? What am I NOT doing? But it was only a moment. I’m in the right place right now with, as you say so beautifully, my treasures right in sight. I’m going to hold steady and trust that I’ll always find what I need, hope that I’ll find the courage to open the doors cracked open for me when it’s time.

  9. Stacia,

    I read this post a few times and your words gave me pause. I will turn 40 this year. Oh my – I still can’t believe I had the courage to type that out. It looks different when you can read it on the screen. I digress. In many ways, I am more clear about my purpose and knowing also that there will be certain ways I won’t be enough. I am not doing many things, but at the same time, there is SO much that I do that fulfills me and my loved ones.

    Have you read Katrina Kenison’s book, The Magical Journey? It speaks to many of the themes and thoughts you mention in the post.

  10. Stacia, I read this a few days ago but didn’t have a chance to comment until now. I’ve been thinking of similar things as I am turning 44 (!!!) this weekend and hopefully I can get a post out on it soon too…I agree with BLW above who said that you’re right in the middle of some very hectic and demanding years as a mother. You’re doing SO much, but it’s for everyone except you. But I think this will change as your youngest one goes off to school. My life is drastically different now that my son is 8 and it’s been a very mixed experience to see him arranging his own playdates, entertaining himself on days off from school (we’ve stopped trying to find childcare on those days we need to work), getting in and out of the shower on his own. I now have so much time on my hands (well, I mean compared to when he was a toddler) and I actually feel more wasteful now. At least when I was mothering I was so distracted and I felt very satisfied that I was doing something meaningful. Now I never feel I am doing enough. I am not working enough, not cleaning enough, not writing enough, not exercising enough. Full-on mothering filled my days without my even trying but now I have to be more purposeful, to find meaningful ways to spend my time, and I don’t feel that I am doing it. Anyway, I love hearing your thoughts. Keep blogging and reflecting and maybe the answer(s) will start to come. But you’re definitely not alone.

  11. It’s funny you have this now – I didn’t have this til 40. But at your age I had one baby and one big belly.πŸ˜‰

    To answer your question, I am constantly taking stock and prioritizing.

  12. Great to reflect. I am 51 and I have learned that the saying..you make plans and God laughs ..is true. Good to reflect and to plan but we need to remember that all we have is today. Enjoy the kids being small….they grow up so fast. Embrace the moment.

  13. Belated happy birthday! I have just read your blog and just remembered exactly what you are going through. I turned 35 last year and my head was cramped of things to do. In my head it was all lined up since when I was 30 just waiting for that spare time and energy to make it happen. I wanted to run a half marathon, quit my 7 years of corporate job and open up an online business so I can enjoy my kids while they are little.

    Like all moms and as a mom of fraternal twins who are now 4, our first priority is always the kids. We can’t help it, its in our nature. Nothing else comes first, everything else like husband/partner, things to do, things to achieve goes back on the line, till we have a spare moment then it moves up. I had this motto stuck in my head, “its now or never” on repeat. How did I make time? I did what I had to do when they’re asleep. Afternoon naps and night sleeps. It’s the only time we can truly say its ours! So I can say 35 was a turning point for me and a wonderful year because I achieved them all. I couldn’t have done it without my husbands support of course! And in saying that, I am lucky. We all are like what you said in your blog.

    “Its now or never” on repeat, that’s the year to make things happen. The power of the mind over matter.

  14. Oops it’s not your birthday yet! But advance happy birthday! Mine’s next week already! Here’s to 36!


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