Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Best Present is Enjoying the Present

I'd found pictures from last year's dinner to see just how dressy people get for this thing. I'd picked something that was both comfortable, but appropriate for the occasion. I'd changed shoes, after Sylvia had chimed in, and agreed that they looked better. I had resigned myself to, "yeah, this is as good as it's going to get."

And then I remembered. No one really cares! Beyond the fact that I was dressed appropriately, no one would be paying much attention to what I looked like. In fact, most of them would be mostly concerned with what they themselves were wearing! We're all pretty self-absorbed that way. And I am reaching the age where frankly, to try much harder would be completely inappropriate! And then I completely let go of any anxiety and could actually enjoy the event.

I can't imagine wishing to be younger, like the protagonist in 29. Maybe I can't appreciate it yet, as there will be 38 candles on my birthday cake, not 75.

Still, unlike the character, I feel pretty confident that I'm living in my present. I don't long to change the past, I don't think much of the future beyond when's the next free weekend we have. Mostly, because I don't want things to change.

I love my job (most of the time), I feel like I've finally got a handle on parenting one day at a time (most of the time), I look forward to spending time with friends, and I also look forward to having no plans at home. While my life isn't perfect, I am perfectly content with it.

When I was 29, I was pretty sure it was just a matter of time before my marriage was over. When I was 29, I couldn't figure out just what I had accomplished in the past decade, beyond having two beautiful girls. But I knew I wasn't living up to my own standards of motherhood. I knew I wasn't living up to my own potential in any aspect of my life. Just after 30 was when I changed my life completely.

At 38, I am exactly where I want to be. Happy birthday to me!

*This post is inspired both by that inevitable changing of the age, and also by this month's From Left to Write book club pick, 29. Read more posts inspired by 29 at From Left to Write. While I was given the book to read for free, I have not been compensated for this post, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.


BigLittleWolf said...

And all good wishes to you and those 38 candles!

At 50ish, I would wish for the health and strength of my 38 year old body, but not to go back to that life, to that time, or really - to any other.

I think you write from a place of great wisdom - accepting where we are and what we have, which doesn't preclude facing a future with imagination and hopefulness, amply armed with pragmatism.

Emily said...

Totally agree. No one cares what you wear, no one is looking at you, unless you are walking a Red Carpet!

I am happy that you are content with your life, but remember, we grew up in different times, I am 41.

I was a complete MESS at 29, nope, don't wish to relieve that year!

Unknown said...

Thank you for your beautiful post. How fortunate you are to grow up in a time where, unlike Ellie, the choices you have made in your life are your own.
While people may not be looking at you for what you wear, judging by the confidence and strength your comments demonstrate, I have no doubt they are admiring you for who you are.
-Adena Halpern

Amy H said...

It sounds like you celebrated this birthday the perfect way, by celebrating the woman you've become and the life you're living now. You certainly have a lot to be proud of and that's worthy of celebration every day!

DarryleP said...

It took me so much longer to discover what you've already discovered---the importance of living in the present. And now that you have, I bet you will feel the same at every age, including 75.


It's great that you realize being in the present is far better than living in the past! I feel exactly the same way!

Brenda Bartella Peterson said...

Happy happy birthday! What a gift that you have realized at such a young age (relatively speaking!) the important things in life!

Melissa said...

Yes, I would take greater self-confidence over fewer wrinkles any day. Thanks for the post!

Kristin said...

As you said, I have no desire to go back to 29. It sounds like you have done incredible things with your life, and you are a strong, confident person. Great post!