Okay, so I’ve changed it, but a few posts ago I originally wrote about having “done good” enough. This is a loaded phrase for a few reasons. One, my high school running coach always said, “Girls, you’ve done good.” That was the ultimate compliment. He said it with a twinkle in his eye. He knew we actually “did well” but preferred to keep it simple – almost more pure in a way – and say we’d “done good.”
Well, the second part to it is that I now live in the deep South, where everyone “done good” or “ain’t bad” or “don’t care to” and we just “bless her heart.” I don’t have an ear for grammar anymore. Period. So…unfortunately, my life is going to be peppered with these mistakes while I live here and I just hope that, one day – when I escape “God’s Country” – I’ll find my grammar ear again. Until then, I hope you all (well, the five of you or so that know about stealing nectar!) can just overlook and enjoy! 🙂
Illuminated. Illumination. When I lost my job, deflation, restlessness, and confusion was abound. To realize I was not valued indefinitely. Ego. Check. I no longer was illuminated professionally. Did I reflect the light of my job, my title…or did the light come from within? In other words, do I still have it? Do I despair? Do I explore if I actually miss working for men whom may or may not have let me go because two months ago, after six and half years of noteworthy work and sacrifices, I confided in them that I might be thinking of having a family soon (when they all have no less than two kids each with wives whom stay at home)? Do I tell my parents? Do I tell my husband’s parents? Is it a sign of weakness if I don’t tell them? The severity of the secret seems to be somewhere between not telling them I am a drug addict (I actually am not) and not telling them I sharted in my pants very publicly at a work function (I actually didn’t do that either, thank God!).
Do you know what I did do though? The morning after the bomb fell, I made it my mission to save the pair of jeans that got shrunk in the dryer passed the point of return (which is the point directly following being able to wear them without creating a muffin top). I thought, well, I haven’t eaten in 16 hours because my stomach feels like it has gasoline and fertilizer in it after hearing the unfortunate employment news, so…I have nothing going on today…maybe I should rescue my jeans. I am a doer. I get things done. I like to have goals. I’m a little closer to fitting into them now than I was 24 hours ago or last week and, don’t they deserve another chance? Too many good things in this world are getting discarded one way or another…
I’m sure you are ecstatic to hear they live on to hopefully have another 4+ years of glory with me.
So, on my (now) short journey to thirty, I am exploring those ego-centered questions that drive women to do crazy things. Do I try to cheat the calendar by doubling my normal workout routine? Should I buy wrinkle cream with a high concentration of retinol…or should I just get botox like Kim Kardashian? (Just kidding!) Is my career/personal life/savings where I thought it would be (agh)? At the heart of all these superficial inquiries is the real question: Have I done well enough or, possibly, have I done well enough to own my age? Women who tell their age are queens; they have nothing to hide and rule their own dynasties. Why not be proud of a full, prosperous life if you believe that is what you have created?
My whole life I’ve always been good at most things (except ball sports – I am TERRIBLE at ball sports)…but never the best at anything. Never the best used to haunt me. In my teens, it made me feel subpar and depressed. When complaining to my mom about my plight, she once told me, “…but, J, it is very hard to be well-rounded. You need to be proud of being pretty good at most things. A lot of people don’t have that gift.” Even though I am pretty sure I rolled my eyes at the time, her sweet words freed me from a life of not feeling good enough. It allowed me to learn, early on, that moderation was a worthy goal. It taught me to appreciate people’s quirks and resist putting anyone on pedestals – or cast them downward in rank – because of strengths and weaknesses. I think when we detach our age from our ego, the number stops scaring us. Further, if we detach our ego from whatever is haunting us, our ghost loses its power.
So, I will not turn my body into a slave for my ego. I will embrace wrinkles and TRY REALLY HARD to embrace the cellulite found on my rear and my thighs. After all, my face is just starting to resemble one that has earned some stripes via laugh and furrowed-brow lines, and I can still do a mean, white-girl bootie shake. I mean, really, what else is there for which to aspire?
As I approach thirty, I think of all the things I’ve done with my life and those still to come. I’ve fallen in love and have gotten my heart smashed into little pieces. I’ve fallen in love again and married the chips to my salsa, the wind to my kite. I’ve moved halfway across the world and then back home again. I’ve moved across the country – which was unsurprisingly fun – and then I moved across the same state, which I found to be surprisingly much less fun and much more of a culture shock than moving across the country.
I’ve defended not having kids seven years into my marriage. I’ve defended working moms. I’ve defended stay-at-home moms. I’ve cried from the relief of not being pregnant. I’ve tried to get pregnant. I’ve cried because I wasn’t pregnant. I’ve cried in front of those I swore I’d never cry in front of: employers, coaches, hell…a massage therapist (yes, during a massage…aren’t I a treat). Would you believe I actually don’t have a reputation of a crier or someone whom falls apart at a pin’s drop?
Well, the countdown is officially ON. I have less than one month until my 30th birthday. (!) So, of course there are some petty, superficial thoughts bursting through my brain as the crossover approaches. There are also some deep “this will take opening a bottle of wine with my best friend” thoughts. I’ll go from a celebrated, “the world is your oyster” twenty-something to a what-do-you-have-to-show-for-your-life-you-are-not-so-young-anymore thirty-something.
As I’ve said before, I believe in commencement. Even though it would be easy to say this birthday is “just another day” and glide, I prefer to mark the occasion – contemplating it to the finite point where my husband stops listening – and celebrate the tidbits & tribulations, triumphs & tales, of this unique life, my journey on uncharted (preferably seafoam green) waters.
I believe in prayer. I believe in celebrations and commencements. I believe in eating your vegetables and buying too many swimsuits because – the day you are destined to be on the beach – one might look better than the other four in your closet. I believe in indulging regularly, but in constantly different circumstances – so moderation presents itself in all things.
Stealing nectar. I think life isn’t sweet enough on its own. I think we need to steal the sugar we get in our lives. Work harder. Be gentler. Try to forgive. Pilfer as much good stuff from life as you can because you’ll always get surprise challenges and disappointments…so take a little sun when you can.
I say this as a woman prone to anxiousness and worry. I say this as the advice I’d give myself and, with enough practice, I believe I can begin to live this way without as much effort. I open this corner of the earth – this blog – with a prayer because I believe it’s the way we all begin anything worthwhile, spoken or unspoken.
The Great Winds take shape around me
swirling their bodies like modern dancers
asking me to join the prayer
I take their breath
somewhere in the light of things
or was it the dark –
I reach my soul down into myself to find my center
my balance, my spirit, which I’d misplaced
between the store and Lucina’s kitchen
between the earth and clouds
I take their breath to find my own
I wait for nothing to overtake me
to be underwhelmed in the serenity
of my hands, my skin, my space