Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Might Be a Thirty-Something Crisis

One of the annoying bits of posting your personal life online is having to eat your words publicly.

I mean, at least when I'm putting my foot in my mouth, the shoes I'm choking on are admittedly pretty righteous, but . . .

It's that life running behind my meticulously Type A Minus planned schedule that's been getting to me lately - yes, that very subject I droned on about getting zen with not so long ago. Funny thing is, I hadn't even realized that was the problem - again - until reading an Invisible Internet Friend's eloquent thoughts about thirty.

Here I am on the precipice of . . . of . . . thirty-five and . . . well, not exactly where I'd thought I'd be. Again. Wondering again where the picket fenced dream house (complete with red door, two stories, and family-friendly suburban-but-not-dull neighborhood, please and thank you) and Ralph Lauren-ad family of four I've dreamed of is, exactly. Annoyed with myself that I haven't met certain financial goals yet (see shoe reference above). Watching loved ones struggle with their own health battles and demons. Wondering why things aren't quite falling into place for us.

Thirty-five just sounds like a big number. Halfway to 70 (!) and such. The beginning of what OBGYNs oh-so-alarmingly refer to as "advanced maternal age". It's just . . . I dunno, does this mean I no longer get the "youth" hall pass for not having my life in order yet?

On top of that, I'm frustrated by the fact that I'm frustrated - for starters, who said what Eighteen Year Old Me wanted was what should be happening? What did that immature and, frankly, materialistic (yes, even more so than now) young whippersnapper know about reality? Who said I am guaranteed what I imagine(d) to be The Life - is anyone? Why can't I just be grateful for the abundance I do have and stop whining about these first world problems?

Speaking of - I am attempting to be grateful, to recognize that I'm lucky beyond measure to have a perfectly good roof over my head, a husband I still want to hang out with, a delightful wee CEO, and friends who still tolerate me. I've had travel and adventures aplenty. Yada yada yada.

I am attempting to be patient, to live that verse that comes back to me time & again during episodes like this - be still. Easier said than done for us Type A Minuses, of course, but .  . .

I am attempting to give the benefit of the doubt and smile when well-meaning, inevitably pregnant friends intone phrases like "It will happen for you!". To kick that beast, envy, right in the shins when I see others who appear to be living the life I want.

I am attempting to remember that life so far has worked out differently but better than my young self imagined. It doesn't look how I'd imagined it, but substantively - yes. There's a plan at work, and sometimes we need to sit back, be still and not frantically be doing.

My head knows all of this and is in negotiations with my (icy, dead) heart. Rinse, lather, repeat. I'll get there.

In the meantime, I may be a bit more quiet here on the interwebs. I'm trying to walk the "be still" talk and get patient with all of this. Please send help (shoes).


TUWABVB said...

I say this ONLY to impart perspective and not to belittle, in any way, your thoughts - but as I was bemoaning the state of our lives recently, I thought of you and how put-together and perfect your life seemed to me.

In other words, I guess the grass is always greener or whatever Erma Bombeck said.

Your complaints are so valid, you deserve everything that you want - but it's funny how we are such harsh judges of ourselves. I know we both appreciate what we have, but it's so hard not to compare to others and then to cast a critical eye back to ourselves. (This comment does not apply to the want of another child, only to the more material things we both love.)

But, I just wanted to tell you, in case it helps in some small way, that you as you are right now - my dear friend - are my goal.

Also, you owe me lunch. Or alcohol. Whichever seems more appropriate at the time.

And you can wear those shoes.

Mrs. Type A said...

I think this is a verryyy common feeling and I can relate to it. I feel generally uncomfortable complaining about anything in my life because I have a great husband, a new house, and a job.

But the fact is-- we all have goals and things in our life that we want to achieve. While I'm lucky to have a job (and know it!), that doesn't mean I am not allowed to want to do something different or "more."

Nat said...

I think we all feel like this, I know I do more often than I should. I sometimes just feel so unsatisfied with my life and what I've accomplished so far but as you said how does my 18 or 20 yr old self know what I should have accomplished by now, I'm pretty sure at 18 I thought I would be married by 24 (at the latest obvi) and have at least 2 kids by 28... that clearly didn't happen and I'm so glad it didn't happen that way either. So I'm trying my hardest to feel satisfied and realize that everything will happen in its time.

So remember you're not alone!

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

At 31 my life was in complete flux. By 35 it was beginning to shape up, despite some major issues. By 40, though, the view was much, much better.

Not perfect by any means, but so much better. Sometimes I wonder if it all improved or if it is just easier to be happy when you reach a certain point in life. I'm not sure, but I remember feeling just as you do and am happy to report . . . it's always darkest before the dawn.

Cari said...

Oh Melissa,

I'm 36 today and I've been a wreck all day, week about it. I've wasted today feeling sorry for myself instead of enjoying what I do and who I do have in my life.

I can really relate to this post. I'm going to try to make 36 a great year if I can :)



phiphis blog said...

it happens to us all, i think. i also believe that if you don't have these thoughts, it can make a person complacent. because you ask these questions, and wonder, it makes you strive to keep at it. i don't think i've reached the milestones i've set for myself yet, but it just makes me want to strive for it more. you aren't letting these thoughts consume you or spiral into a pool of negativity, so i peg it as being just one of those "life questions" that come up when you hit certain birthdays or about to. hugs dear.

xox P

phiphi's blog

AEOT said...

I, too, will be um......thirty-five.........35 (!!!!!) in about a month. I'm certainly happy with my family (though am not sure it's complete), like my job, adore B, etc. I'm a happy camper, for sure. Do I have everything I want? No, most definitely not. And my wants are not nearly as big as your one current huge want/need (I would classify a baby as a need and shoes as a want!). I just know that while my life isn't perfect (and never will be), it's pretty d&#* good and wayyyyy better than most. Hello, I get to blog about my sweet boys and dress them in adorable outfits and know that I can afford to put a healthy, home cooked dinner on the table every night and pay for them to go to college. While that may be the norm of the people we read about/are friends with, that is most certainly not the norm, not only in America, but throughout the world. We're a lucky bunch. I know this might come off as rude/belittling and I don't mean it to be that way at all. I do think that milestone birthdays often bring about thoughts on what should I be doing/how should I be doing it/what is coming next/why things haven't happened the way I planned and those thoughts can bring up a whole host of issues for anyone. I just choose to believe that if you are willing to work hard at whatever you do (which you obviously do) and you are a kind individual with an open heart, then life will give you good things back.

Okay, I'm sure this makes no sense and I am starting to ramble. Peace will come. Maybe not at an A- pace, unfortunately, but it will come (as will another baby- though I'm not sure I'm the one you want saying that :/).

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, M. Once again I wish I could just knock on your door with a bottle of wine and chat (and I could beg to try on your shoes...ok, that sounds creepy.)

This balance of goals/contentment is something I think so many of us struggle with. Especially us Type As when it is in regards to things we can't control. Acceptance/letting go is a hard pill to swallow. I'm struggling with that myself right now and I know it makes it difficult to focus enough to write and be your cheerful and humorous self.

Know that you are an awesome wife, mom and friend. How you live your life says much more than where and with what you live, yada, yada, yada.

{Jessica} said...

I completely empathize with you on the whole questioning where you are in life and whether it's where you thought you'd be thing. As a fellow Type A (i.e. completely impatient) person, I'm always wondering if there's something else that I should be doing in order to attempt to attain that ideal I think I should have. Lately, I've been so convicted over this in my own life. I have to remind myself to slow down - be still - and be thankful for the blessings that I do have. My husband and I are just beginning the pregnancy road. We lost our first pregnancy a couple of months ago, and are starting the process of trying again now. So, I totally empathize with you on the whole wanting to be pregnant and wondering if I will be thing too. Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in your struggles. And thank you for sharing them so openly; I appreciate knowing that I am not alone either! Love to you:)

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way, and so many of us do. It is a struggle to maintain equilibrium, no? My go-to phrase is "Be Wise" and it helps me think before I speak and act.'s good to know we are not alone and that there is so much more beyond the day-to-day. I hope you will continue to write about it; maybe the answers will eventually be revealed. I have had my own issues with ages 29 and 30 and I will soon feel terrible about my 31st birthday, yet I have EVERYTHING I NEED and more. We all do. I also think of the "unbearable lightness of being." I know you have it, too. Thanks, Melissa!

What Kate Wore said...

Please don't slap me after I say this. Please. But as someone told me once (and I might have slapped them), you're probably right where you're supposed to be. (Ouch! I asked you not to!)

It was said in the sense that the discomfort was created by some genuine issues that were painful, and I think the ones you're talking about are the same. Recognition of one's good fortune doesn't translate to a sense of ease and serendipity, far from it, especially for Type As. I wish I could give you a big hug in person, I hate thinking of you in heartache. :(

I have to go now and put on some concealer, there's a big red spot where you smacked me.

Meg said...

Keeping it real.

I hear you. I have to tell myself how lucky am to have what/who I have and know that as we evolve so does our idea of a happy life.

Anonymous said...

I hope you continue to post whatever thoughts you feel able to share. I really appreciate reading your blog because it feels great to read about things I am going through, but from someone else's perspective. Does that make any sense?

PS Someday, I will buy your book, too!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

So very well said. And thanks for the shout out. :)

I have to remind myself that our 18 year old selves had no clue that pregnancy wasn't always easy (or attainable), that jobs come and go (people get laid off?! what is that??), and that money, actually does not grow on trees. It's easy to make all these plans when you're eighteen because you just don't know better.

Unfortunately with age, comes a bit of disappointment. Which sucks. But it also comes with gifts we didn't even know we wanted (I'm sure we never dreamed of children as awesome and unique as BG and Master P). Keep on trucking on girl. The gifts will keep on coming. Just maybe in different packaging than we expected. :)

Love your heart girl. We need to split a bottle of wine soon.

Amy - OPC said...

I don't have an eloquent piece of advice to add here but know that I am thinking of you and can relate to much of your message. Thank you for sharing.

Tiffany said...

A very thoughtful, open post, M. I think what you're feeling is completely normal. I'll just say two things that I thought of while reading your post:

1. "Comparison is the thief of joy." I try to tell myself this ALL THE TIME. It is difficult. Here, I'm surrounded by such wealthy people - they literally jet off around the globe on weekends. They buy whatever, whenever. I try to remind myself that we are doing just fine and we will probably not ever be in their (Prada) shoes and THAT IS OK. Try to stop comparing yourself to either others or where you thought you'd be by now. It steals the joy of what you do have.

2. If there are goals you haven't yet achieved - and are within your control (this is key, because you can't control everything, which sucks, right?) - then set out stepping stone goals to achieve them. If you achieve the little goals on the way to big goals, it makes the road a lot more encouraging. For goals you don't have control over, go back to thought 1.

I shouldn't be giving anyone advice. I'm not where I want to be and I'm almost schmorty (please don't make me say the real word!). But I think you're an amazing mother, amazing writer, amazing person. Remember to take into account how others see you. We have pretty good taste. ;)

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