Today was my last day of work before a much anticipated (and needed) summer vacation.
Today is also the last day of my twenties.
When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll be 30. I’m not anxious or sad about it, though the idea of entering another decade has made me reflect a little on my life and where I am today.
More specifically, on who I am today.
My twenties were good to me. In the last ten years, I got married, finished university, lived in two cities, started my career and bought our first car and home.
In those years, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life and fell in love with teaching. I’m just beginning my sixth year in this profession, and despite it’s challenges, I can say without hesitation that I love what I do. I am so proud to be able to say that I am a teacher because I find it so exciting. Even though the road to find permanent full-time work is sometimes a little soul-crushing, it still feels worth it to me. I know that someday I’ll end up where I’m supposed to be, and I can only hope it might be at the school I’ve been privileged to work at for the last three years.
Over the course of the last ten years I spent a lot of time figuring out who I was, and who I wanted to be as a woman, wife, daughter, sister, friend…
I have wanted to be a mother since before I can remember. In fact, before I fell in love with teaching, I always thought I would be a stay-at-home mother, just like my mom. If there was some magical way to teach high school and stay home with my kids, I would totally do it.
The moment I first held Ruby was an experience I will never, ever forget. You spend almost 10 months with this little blob in your belly that hiccups and kicks, and even though I loved her then, nothing will ever, ever compare to that moment when I held her for the first time. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone so small with a love that big. In an instant my own needs became secondary and I knew my heart was attached to hers. It was overwhelming, exhausting, emotional and exhilarating.
She made me a mother, and every day I am so thankful that she picked me.
And then sweet Hank arrived and I fell in love all over again. Even though I sometimes feel like I’m failing in every aspect of my chaotic life–he toddles over, arches his back and reaches up for me as high as he possibly can. When I pick him up and settle him on my lap, he snuggles in as close as possible, and I realize that despite it all, I must be doing something right.
Over the last ten years I’ve gained weight, lost weight, fallen in love with running and fallen off the wagon. I figured out that it’s okay not to have everything figured out as long as you keep trying. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, as long as you keep picking yourself back up and moving forward.
I’ve learned that happiness isn’t a destination you arrive at when your trials are over, but rather that joy is in the journey itself.
I’ve learned that the boy I married ten years ago is a supportive partner and friend, a wonderful father and a hard working provider for our family. I’ve learned that marriage is not like it seems in the movies–that real romance is in the little day to day things that make me fall in love with him all over again.
I’ve learned that most of the time, my mother really did (and does) know best. She has always been there as my cheerleader and champion, and her shoulder is always available when I need something to lean on. I’ve learned that my dad is still my hero, and is a well of wisdom and strength that I often draw from.
In the last ten years I experienced great loss, but also so much joy. I’ve made new friends, missed old ones and felt so grateful for the people who have walked a while with me on this journey.
In the last ten years I grew up, but I also realized that I’m not done growing.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve been crying pretty much the entire time I’ve been writing this post… but it’s not because I’m sad. It’s because as I’ve spent tonight reflecting on the years that have passed, I feel so incredibly blessed. My life is far from perfect, but this ride I’m on has been nothing short of spectacular.
In the classic words of my father: “life is good”.
So, bring it on, thirties. I don’t expect it to be easy, but if it’s anything like my twenties have been, I know I’ll figure it out.
Peace out, twenties.