I just had a birthday which officially launched me into the last year of my 30’s. It’s only been a week, so I think I’m still adjusting to this reality. I’m not happy about it, but not quite sad either…just can’t decide if I should celebrate or mourn the impending death of my third decade in this crazy world.
To be perfectly honest the 30’s didn’t treat me all that well, with the last year being especially unkind. I don’t intend to take up space here in my new cyber home with negative junk, but a brief synopsis of the last six months may be in order. Let’s see, my marriage hit a big ol’ Michigan pothole that tore the tires right off of it and sent my husband and I in opposite directions. A few weeks after he left, I got a late night call telling me that my sister had been arrested and I was asked “do you want to come pick up her baby or should we give him to the state?” Off I headed for my first ever encounter with the police to pick up my one year old nephew. As I drove home with a scared little B in my backseat, I laughed and cried at the irony of that day. It was my oldest son’s 19th birthday and I had just been thinking about how my days of child rearing were nearing an end. God sure has a funny sense of humor.
So, here I am. 39. Divorced. Now working full-time. Mother of 6 (including 3 teens, 2 still fairly well-behaved younger kids and my newly acquired 1 year old.)
I don’t like the feeling of my life spiraling out of control. Not one bit. So after about a week of feeling sorry for myself and my crappy situation, I decided that if my life was going to spiral, it was not going to go downwards. Nope. I will not become the bitter-middle-aged woman that hates men and life and everything in general. I just don’t have the time or energy for that.
Some might argue that it’s harder to spiral upward, and with that I would agree. My life is not about to get easier any time soon. I have kids in elementary, middle and high school and now I drop a toddler off at day care before heading in to my own full day of work. My days start earlier now and end later and I have more laundry to do than probably all of my neighbors combined. I have the upcoming expenses of a high school graduation, a party and senior pictures and the cost of child care on my sole income (which is not nearly enough to cover those). These things are my new reality. So, I can either lay down and cry about it or stand up and persevere. I’ve decided to do the latter.
The first thing that I had to do was simple. I had to stop thinking about those things. I am not trying to make it sound simplistic. I know that it’s hard not to think about crap when you’re in the midst of chaos. But I’m finding that the more time I spend not thinking about that stuff, the more time I have to think about things that are not those things. Duh.
I spend a lot of time now thinking about how fortunate I am. I have great kids…I mean, like REALLY GREAT kids. They are funny and thoughtful, smart and helpful, kind and compassionate and a hundred other really awesome adjectives. And I have not one or two, but SIX of these incredible people in my house! (Yes, I’m counting little B, who I’m sure will become these things too:) How blessed am I?!
I have a job that I LOVE. Seriously, it might be the best job in the world…and it’s mine! I don’t wake up thinking “ugh, I have to go to work today”. Sure, sometimes I’m tired in the morning, but it is an honor for me to get to do what I do and get paid for it. And when I really spend time thinking about my job, sometimes I am honestly moved to tears because I love it so much.
My friends. The best group of people you can imagine…yep, they’re in my life, up close and personal. I can call them anytime and they are willing to listen, to talk, to set me straight and call me out when I’m being stupid. Everyone needs some friends like mine.
So, yeah it’s been a rough few months. But in the big scheme of things, it’s just that: a rough few months. I have so much to be thankful for and I am certain that the future holds much more for me than my human mind could even begin to imagine. In the mean time, I am going to stay focused on this reminder from Romans 5:2-5 “Christ has also introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. But that’s not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love.”
So as I move forward towards 40, I’m sure that I will mourn the loss of some things that I once held dear. But more often this year, I will celebrate the things that I still have, the things that I have yet to receive and the promise that in the end I will have developed character by enduring through my sufferings. And I will spend my 39 in an upward spiral.