Monday, March 12, 2012

Ten Years from Last Friday

Dear Anna,

Today, you turn 40 years old. I am full of so many hopes for you! I’m sure you remember that turning 30 was a difficult thing for you. You mourned for weeks about the passing of so many years of ‘wasted’ time. You hadn’t accomplished all that you thought you would. You were scared about feeling the same way at 40 as you did at 30.

Well do you?

Do you own a house? Did you graduate from WGU and go on to become a teacher? Do you and Jack both have steady, sturdy jobs that you can build the rest of your life on? Do you have money in a savings account and not live paycheck to paycheck? Did you have another child? What child(ren) you do have, have they lived happy, fun-filled, active lives up to this point? Did you finally figure out what it would take to make you lose weight and stick with it?

Anna, even if the answer to any of those questions is “no”, I want you to remember that that is okay. At 30, you beat yourself up over the loss of time. How silly is that? What were you hoping to do with it, lasso it up and keep it in a jar in the cupboard? It doesn’t work that way, kiddo. (And yes, even at 40, you’re still a kiddo). What ever you HAVE accomplished is exactly good enough.

At 30, you had a really hard time believing in and accepting that last sentence. Instead, sentences that began with, “I should have…”, “I didn’t…”, “I was supposed to…” consumed your thoughts on those long weeks leading up to the big day. (Which you spent in St. Louis because you have an amazing husband, remember? Have you told him thank you for that lately?) You thought of all the things you didn’t do, and all the time you had “wasted.”

You had a hard time reminding yourself that, by 30, you did have several accomplishments under your belt. You were able to say that you had not been without an income since you were 14 years old. You had met and married a wonderful man, and had worked very hard at a happy, mutually respectful relationship with him. You carried, gave birth to, and nurtured a beautiful baby boy, who was (and probably still is) the light of many peoples’ lives. You maintained friendships with people whom you cared about and who cared about you.

I’m sure at 40, you have even more great accomplishments that are the markers of time well spent. My hope is that you did accomplish some of those things on that list above – mostly that you completed your degree and had another child. But if you didn’t, I don’t love you any less.

The whole point of your 30 Meltdown was to help you to remember that no time is truly wasted. The life you lead is the life you live, and the cliché is true: you only live once. So DO NOT spend another minute lamenting the shouldas, couldas, and wouldas of the past 10 years. Hopefully, you learned the lesson way back when you were writing this next sentence…

Every minute of every day, you choose to live a certain life. Acknowledging the life you chose in the past is the only way for you to purposefully choose a different life in the future. The power is in the realization that it is ALWAYS a choice, and the choice is YOURS.

Choose wisely.

Unconditional Love Always,