My Life: A Plateau

"So what's left to do in this life?" I asked John as we retired for bed on a Friday night before 9 pm. My frankness was not only disheartening, it was a little morbid, too. It's been a few months since I turned 31 and I catch myself repeating the same phrase in my head every once in awhile. "I can't believe I'm already 31. I am the mother of TWO kids. I can't believe I'm already 31. I am the mother..." I remember lying awake at night in junior high giddy with the thoughts of my future, the anticipation of my high school prom (THAT was a let down!), those golden days of college academia, wild college parties, wilder college boys, moving out of my parent's house, "finding myself", finding my soul mate, falling in love, choosing a career, planning my wedding, the blissful years of newlywed life, buying our first house, getting pregnant for the first time, and then the second time (oops). And so I reflect on the "Back 30" as a mountain of accomplishment. Every year a new event, more exciting than the last. And now, suddenly, it's all happened. I've climbed to the top, I've checked everything off the "To Do List". Now I spend my days maintaining all those things I acquired in the previous 30 years. Like the wrinkles on my forehead and the teaching credential I have to renew. The mortgage payment and the gym membership I keep in hopes of restoring my twice pregnant figure. They say that depression often rides the curtails of a major accomplishment like finishing a marathon or completing a degree. You get such a high from the finality of it all, that soon afterward, you find yourself slipping into the doldrums. What goes up, must come down. Well, in a sense, I'm a little down. And no, this doesn't equate to any disappointment in my life or my marriage, and certainly not in my children. I am thrilled with where I am, more in love with my kids every day, and captivated by the intricacies of my ever changing relationship with my husband. I suppose I've just added it all up and determined the sum of all the parts and stand here scratching my head because I can't believe all the parts are already in the equation. Wait, I really got them ALL? There's not one more little peak over this valley? And no, I'm not hoping to get pregnant again, so I guess that answers that question. And now that I've looked back over the last 30 years, I slowly turn my head toward the future. A future that is no longer just about me, that is full of my children's futures, a life that is shared wholly with my better half. A group effort from here onward. What shall I lie awake at night and think about to conjure up that giddy excitement of my preteens? Menopause? Well, for now, I'll focus on everyone else because right now, it's their lives that bring excitement to mine. Their futures, his career goals, his dreams about new business, their first days of kindergarten, learning to read and draw, their first date. And here I am, reshaping my figure on the treadmill, packing their lunches, padding my retirement account, and waiting for my next big climb. I'm packing my newfound selflessness, strapping on my humbled confidence, tying on my open-minded appreciation, and bringing the whole family for this next leg of the journey.


Anonymous said...

Are the days of just living for oneself are trully gone! I once thought that those parents who reach the emptynest time in their life and really said byebye come back when you have grandkids were a little selfish I couldn't understand whatelse a 40 something year old person had left to do. Having two children and having given every inch of me to them (and my hubby and their lives ) that I am very much looking forward to the day my life becomes my own again (and I'm sure 40 somethings do have a lot left to do in their lives). I will obviously get a taste of myself again when kinder mornings become school days and playdates become sleep overs and Daddy days become daddy weekend trips away. I know the day will come again when I can look out and see another peak (as you said) but I also know that the grassy meadow that is nuturing our families is one that is so very special and I don't want to run off just yet. I see that you (and I) are in the most amazing challenging powerful CEO job we'll ever have. When you master that peak you will trully be on top of the world (and be pretty famous as it think every parent out there is striving for the same result) Hang in there and know you have a lot of friends going through the same emotions. PS You have a fabulous body post 2 children, we should all be so lucky!!!!! Love you

Anonymous said...

G...Don't despair...this time in your life will go by sooo quickly that when you have grandchildren and they do such cute things you will wonder why you can't remember your kids doing the same cute things. It will seem so new with the grandchild, so clear and so wonderful and you'll wonder why you don't remember it!! So, pay close attention to it, record it (as you do for all of us to enjoy)and find every way you can to remember it.

What you can look forward to is your most creative juices starting to flow again...and having the fun of using them not just dreaming of the time when you can. Start keeping idea files because some day you are going to look for them and use them.

In the mean time keep up the good work...you will be so proud of yourself when this job is complete, the girls are launched and you can relaunch yourself.

XOXOXO Neighba