I turned 42 on Sunday.
Sometimes, it hits me and I’m shocked because I don’t feel 42. I’m not sure what 42 is supposed to feel like.
I often still feel the same way I felt at 15 and 21 and 29 and 32. I have the same dreams and fears.
We live in such a casual time that it doesn’t matter what I wear, how I style my hair, or which fork I use.
During my mom’s generation, women over a certain age didn’t wear the color pink or their hair long. That was for younger women.
Sometimes, when I go out with my teen daughter, people mistake us for sisters and that’s delightful.
Other times, I feel very old and persnickety. My knees crackle when I stand up. My back hurts when I stand for a long time.
I’m past the desire to get tattoos or piercings. I’d rather spend my money on other things – experiences.
Sometimes, I feel panicky that I haven’t accomplished anything important. My time is too short and I have to hurry and do something, anything, quickly, write write write, create create create.
Then, I feel overwhelmed and it’s been all done before. I have nothing to offer. Do I?
I usually lie in bed at night and listen to the night sounds and make myself ill about what I should have done or could do better.
Then I think about all the things I have done and I’m able to breathe a little easier for another night.
I’m accepting that I’m an INTJ and a 1/5 combo on Enneagram. This is who I am and I constantly improve and grow.
I had some amazing experiences that shaped me into who I am today. When I look back on what means the most to me, my priorities are clear.
My top 40:
- I flew alone to Washington, D.C., when I was 9, to visit my grandma. It was a fun week.
- My parents took me to Puerto Rico when I was 14. It was a business trip for my dad. I missed a week of school, excused for “educational purposes.”
- My intro to art class in 10th grade. The teacher was quite a bitch, but I still remember the projects and techniques I learned. It ruined me but I’m rediscovering it.
- Entering college early. Dual enrollment was a new concept and my high school wasn’t too keen, so I just bypassed them. I got a double scholarship.
- “Wasting time” on college classes in Spanish, French, and German. The lessons I learned serve me well now in Europe and teaching my kids foreign languages!
- My college classes on art history and music theory still affect me today. Those professors were passionate and delightful.
- Overcoming depression. It’s a daily battle.
- Getting my Master’s in education. It was a joke of a program, but I jumped through those hoops and have the paper to prove it.
- Teaching in public school. I learned so much about kids, parents, learning, government school systems, bureaucracy, and more. I’ve taught at many levels, mostly middle school and high school, including ESL and gifted. I worked in elementary after school programs. I was also a substitute teacher in many different kinds of classrooms.
- The birth of my first daughter.
- Teaching college writing. Almost my dream job.
- Getting married. (The first two don’t count…) Surviving PCSes and a deployment. Deployment #2 coming up.
- Moving to Texas. This was a quite a catalyst for change. I couldn’t find work. We began homeschooling. It was the first time I ever lived away from my parents and home state. My husband’s parents both passed away. My husband changed job fields in order to remain in the Air Force. I birthed two babies. It was a stressful two years.
- Homeschooling. It’s been an amazing adventure!
- Starting a blog. It sure has evolved since 2005!
- The birth of my second daughter.
- The birth of my third daughter. A C-section is not a failure. I’m still telling myself this. Medical bullying and trauma is a thing though.
- Living in Hawaii for 3 years.
- My husband adopting my first daughter.
- Changing our lifestyle to be healthier and more natural.
- The birth of my son. VBAC, for the win!
- Stopped attending a legalistic fundamentalist church. Wish we’d left sooner!
- Introducing my husband and kids to camping.
- Family road trip to Yellowstone National Park.
- Living in Germany for 3 years. Being able to explore Europe!
- Traveling to Paris. Twice.
- Traveling to Prague.
- Traveling to Netherlands.
- Traveling to Greece.
- Traveling to London. Twice.
- Traveling to Porto.
- Traveling to Rome.
- Traveling to Ireland.
- Traveling to Normandy, France.
- Traveling to Florence.
- Traveling to Venice.
- Deciding to practice respectful parenting.
- Becoming credit card debt-free. We’re almost there!
- Doing Bible study at home instead of attending church.
- I have found my voice. I am still angry. I am not afraid.