It hit me this week. It started with me almost puking during an exercise class because I got so winded that I couldn’t breathe. But it really hit me with what I have lovingly dubbed the “furniture fiasco’. My husband put our couch up for sale on a whim and it sold in an hour flat. That night, we had nothing to sit on to celebrate our victory lap- you know, the last part of the day when the kids are in bed and you get to sit on your couch and watch whatever you want on TV. My husband suggested we lay on the floor. I heard myself rebuke his idea with such utter disgust that I knew I had to finally acknowledge what I have been afraid of for quite some time; I am getting older. My back will hurt, I complained. I followed with, my hip will do that weird thing where it goes numb when I lay on it to long. He just laughed and teased me for being an old lady but the truth is, I am getting o-l-d-e-r. This is my last year in my thirties. I can’t think about it to much because it kind of gives me this panicky feeling. Something about knowing you have probably lived half your life already really punches me in the gut. I was talking to someone the other day and he told me that he had calculated how many days he had left on this Earth if he lived to be double his age. I was intrigued so I ran some numbers myself. If I live 39 more years, I have 14,235 more days to wake up and live. Giving it a number might seem morbid but it has helped me to put some things about growing older into perspective.
I live loud. For some people I am always to much. For others, I am never enough. I have spent the better part of my life trying to mold myself, my quirks, annoying behaviors and personality into something, someone, to make those people like me. I have always wanted so badly to fit in. In my teenage years, I was the outsider who was always trying to squeeze her way into the “in” crowd that had grown up together. In my twenties, I wanted to be accepted by all the super beautiful girls on campus that seemed to have in all together. And as an adult, I have sought out relationships, even within my own family, that I so desperately desired. The funny thing about life is that it rarely gives you what you think you want. Despite all the bending and turning I have done to make myself someone I am not, I have never been able to get away from myself. My constant anxiety and plotting to change to fit someone else’s mold has never, not even once, gotten someone to love me more.
Love me or leave me, I am who I am. When I get tickled, I laugh obnoxiously loud. I am not even the least bit funny, no matter how hard I try. Actually, I am a cheesy nerd who laughs at her own jokes. I can make a funny situation awkward in about two seconds flat. I never know what to say in small social talk and usually wind up endlessly stringing a bunch of confusing words together. I don’t have a good poker face so you never have to guess how I am feeling..my face will tell the story. I can sound like a snob in social situations because I occasionally forget my raisin’. My mind moves faster than you can imagine and sometimes it causes me to cut off others in the middle of their sentence just so I can blurt something out. I am habitually running late. I have no idea why. I love hard and wear my feelings on my sleeve. Some people see me as dramatic because I am expressive and theatrical. I am impulsive and moody. My emotions change as much as the direction of the wind. I am loyal to a fault and will be there for you, even when you don’t deserve it. I’d rather eat wings and have a Pepsi in my blue jeans than get dressed up and go to a snooty restaurant to eat food I can’t pronounce. I love a good roller coaster and I’d eat junk for every meal if my husband would let me. If you invite me to go out on a weekend, I won’t come. But if you don’t invite me, I’ll be sad and worry why you didn’t. I will helicopter the crap outta of my kids and lose sleep about things that are out of my control. I am honest and try to be kind but if I am not prayed up, I can be a little ugly. I am mess most days but no matter what, I made a promise to myself that this is the girl who is apologetically showing up from now on.
My late 30s have taught me that the people in your tribe will love you hard just the way you are. They will see your faults, your screw-ups and your awkward moments and will continue to show up, day after day. They will be there when you need them and even when you think you don’t. My tribe might not have as many people as I used to think it needed but I wouldn’t trade the people who love me with reckless abandon for a hundred people who are fair-weather family or friends. Life actually does go by in the blink of an eye and I mourn for all the time I’ve wasted worrying about the people who don’t see the value in me. In my twenties I had far fewer wrinkles and way less cellulite but I also had far less self-esteem. In my thirties, my glorious thirties, I have learned to love myself and love those who appreciate the real me. It hasn’t been easy but with approximately 14,235 more days to leave my mark on this world and live for Jesus, I don’t have time for anything less.