Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Turning 30: Or Why I'm Slowly Going Crazy

In 3 months I turn the big 3-0. A year ago, when asked how I felt about this event, I replied with a wave of the hand and a scoff. Turning 30 meant leaving my capricious 20s in the dust and really owning up to this adulthood thing.

Now, as the date draws near, my attitude has changed. Not insignificantly either. Since about January Dan has sighed patiently when he comes home occasionally to find me in tears. Lost youth, impending elderlyness, and the feeling of failure have all got me way down.

When I was a kid I wanted to be so many things; a scientist, a veterinarian, a teacher, a social worker, and a little later on-a politician. When I got to college I changed my major a total of 8 times before I graduated. I was in the Middle Eastern Studies program for a while studying Arabic so I could go work for the State Department as a cool something-or-rather. Then I was a PolySci major who wanted nothing else than to work for a good nuclear proliferation think tank in Washington (little known fact about me; I'm way into nukes). Finally I transfered over to the Humanities Department and dreamed of taking my degree to a Master's Program in screen writing and be the next Tina Fey or at least Chuck Klosterman.

But 30 is coming, and I have done none of those things. I have a degree. I also have kids. I love my kids and I love staying home with them. I think though, that part of my serious anxiety over this coming birthday is the fact that I feel like I have let my younger self down. I have an Etsy store where I sell burp clothes and baby dresses...what?! That was never the plan.

Having kids is a funny thing because it feels sometimes like maintaining any previous life goals is both futile and almost frowned upon. I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty when I'm in, what I call, and 'Oscar Daydream'.  This is where I stare out the window while holding a bottle of ketchup and, in my head, give the best damned Oscar acceptance speech ever for my amazing *screenplay* *leading role* * cinematography* *directing* or whatever it is. I think the guilt comes because there's no good way to reconcile my role as a mother and my dreams of doing big things in life. I either stay home with my children, something I am very passionate about and something, honestly, I'm very good at OR I farm them out somewhere during the day and go to work pursuing my other dreams.

The former is something I will probably always do. My kids are my life. As soon as Eli sprung forth into this world I was as dependent on my offspring as they are on me. I love them and I am the only one I want taking care of them. The later, the pursuing dreams thing, is something I'm just going to have to come to peace with. And this is the peace that I'm having such a hard time finding as 30 comes nearer.

I wish sometimes I could lead two lives simultaneously  One would be the one I'm in right now, nothing changed. Married, kids, house, mortgage, dog, chickens, walks to the park, and talking to other moms about bowel consistency and sleep routines. The other would be the one with the masters degree, the awesome job, the constant traveling, the fame, the fortune, and the clothes. Oh the clothes. I wouldn't even want to live in that life. Just have it hanging on the coat rack where I could throw it on every once in a while for a few hours.

But for now, where I am, I just need to be still and happy. In the words of Candide, "Let us cultivate our garden".

1 comment:

  1. That's just how I felt a few years ago, that I had disappointed and let down my younger self down. I hadn't even crossed the Sahara on a camel! As well as a few other things... but you, you have done wonderful and remarkable things. And we can see them every day in all of their kid glory. 30 is the best. Live it up.