Friday, May 11, 2007

In which reach a milestone

My birthdays kind of freak me out. Not in an oh-mi-gosh-i'm-getting-old kind of way, because I'm such a nerd that I'm only now catching up to the age I've been acting since I was born...but because I tend to set goals around them and get all introspective and want them to be, you know, SPECIAL.

So I usually can't sleep the night before.

Thursday night was no different. I'd like to say I stayed up rewriting my personal mission statement, or maybe scrapbooking this past year, but the truth is I just read blogs--yarnharlot archives, anyone?--and drank a glass of wine and thought...hmmm...When I was 18, is this where I thought I'd be when I was 31? Am I happy?

The answers, in order: no, and yes.

Some things are what I thought. I'm married; I have children; I have a career I love; I own a house. In other ways, I'm not where I expected. I am a teacher--the one career I swore (in all my high school wisdom) I'd never pursue, and the career that continues to challenge me every day. I thought I would have traveled more.

But there are unexpectednesses to this introspection. Some things are surprising simply because, at 18, I had no idea who I could become or what would end up being the things that would change and mature.

Surprising things at 31:

1. I am still best friends with my high school best friend. Like, we e-mail every day, talk on the phone a couple times a month (we're busy, hey), see each other not enough but several times a year. We have been best friends for almost half my life.

2. I care less about what other people think of me regarding things like my body and my interests. I used to really hide the fact that I love science fiction, for instance. And I have given up on having cool hair and am settling for "not crazy." And though I want, for myself, to shed this baby weight and be strong and healthy (OK, and a size 8/10, which is, really, where my body wants to be! I swear!)

3. I still care what other people think of me, but about different things: my professional reputation, for instance; my follow-through on commitments; my parenting.

4. I am more likely to want to use swear words (something I did rarely in my teens and twenties) but less likely to actually USE swear words (because I have little kids). Though sometimes I do spell them out. Holy S-H-I-T that's nerdy.

4.5. I don't care if people think I'm nerdy. This has taken me 31 years to achieve.

5. I am getting better at having conversations about uncomfortable subjects with those I love. I am getting better about finding the middle ground between passive-aggressive and shouting-match, my previous two examples of communication between family members.

6. I don't attend church regularly, and I am not involved in music of any kind right now. These items bug me, and I want to change them by 32.

7. I have a blog, where people can read what I write and this only scares me a little bit. Even though I love writing, even though I write all the time in my mind and in my redjournalbooks, I am still not (very) comfortable putting myself out here like this. Maybe one my surprising things for 32 will be that I actually TELL someone I KNOW that I have this blog.

8. I don't feel the need to engage in intellectual one-upsmanship. (Very often.)

9. I am a knitter. Not, "I knit"--I AM A KNITTER. This has been the best surprise of the past year. (edited: the best surprise not counting the baby. Sheesh! I must really love knitting.)

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