Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Welcome, 30's

I will be in my 20's for one more month. 

Here is what I have learned.

If you want something, ask for it. 
If you need something, go get it. 

I have spent far too much of my life waiting for what I want to come to me falsely calling it destiny. I dreamed of a life full of music and art. Instead of painting, I settled on the fact that supplies are expensive. Instead of taking a class on watercolor or pottery, I fell on the fact that I couldn't afford a class. Instead of auditioning for musicals and showcases I fearfully decided I wasn't talented enough.
I have learned from my husband that failing is only failure when you pause and stop. To begin painting and never pick it up again. To turn down the opportunities to sing despite the need to. 
I have learned to ask to join someone in their music and to dive in and begin a project my heart is aching for instead of waiting for it to work out for me on its own. That mindset also carries further past art and into relationships and other ventures. If I need to connect with a friend, I need to ask. If I feel left out, I need to jump in. If I feel empty, I need to refill and recharge. Destiny does not come on the tides of laziness and self doubt. 

Complaining helps no one.

Social media is full to the brim of negative, guilt inducing hashtags and global crisis that not a one of us can find a way to remedy. There's a rapist being set free after a heinous act and little time served, people calling for a football player to show respect to his country and another group of people demanding we change the national anthem and a devastating flood in Louisiana and people being shot for being black and an earthquake in Italy and death tolls hanging high in the middle east daily and people dying of starvation and a Native American tribe fighting for the respect of their land and sanctity of their water and all of us desperately wanting to fight the political corruption and WE ARE ALL SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT IT AND DO SOMETHING IMMEDIATELY. Oh my gosh. My ability to even empathize is so low. I fear what this is doing is desensitizing everyone to humanity's needs and hurts. I am learning to lend my voice to where I can help. Of course, there is nothing wrong with sharing a cause or discussing a problem. But people stop listening when your megaphone is always on. 

DOING is what works.

I truly believe so many problems could be eradicated if we bound together to fix it. The potential for communities to help each other from within is astronomical. We can feed each other, house each other, care for each other, teach each other. The hungry and homeless population would be lowered immensely if we helped our neighbor. I am absolutely not trying to say I am a saint over here. What I am trying to say is we can easily fix this together. Look for how YOU can help and refer back to my first point and do it. 

You can learn something from everyone around you.

When I turned 18 and graduated high school, I was certain I was destined to do something different. I had a better grasp on the world and the people in it and I would do something with it. Every year after that that self certainty, which is a beautiful thing, turned into arrogance and ignorance. And an ignorant, arrogant idiot is the worst idiot of all. Okay, cutting myself some slack, I wasn't an idiot, just very immature. 

I was one of those teenagers who thought I knew better than any adult. And then I was a young adult who thought I knew better than anyone jaded by the world they've settled with. And then I was a Christian who desperately tried to be the best Christian and thought I knew better than any non-Christian. And then I was a first time parent who thought I knew better than any other parent who wasn't doing it right. And then I was trying to shed the old skin of the mean spirited Christianity I had learned but thought I knew better than other Christians. Then I turned 28 and was so exhausted from knowing so much I realized I knew nothing. 

What I really know is every single person's journey looks different than yours. 
Therefore, "everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't." - My favorite genius Bill Nye 

Be open to what the person next to you can teach you. My husband taught me something valuable about failure. I have learned true compassion, humility and bravery from the people I have met and opened myself up to. 

Embrace yourself.

I have struggled with healthy eating habits that led to eating disorders for most of my young to adult life. I was never happy with how I looked or who I was. The body positivity movement through almost every social media platform is a crucial and beautiful thing that our world needs. I will preach body positivity all day, son, and yet it just took me until, oh, a few months ago to truly accept and embrace myself. 

After 3 children, I was in an all out war with my body and the scale. I worked so hard and counted every calorie and deprived myself of so many things I loved to try to get to a place where I was happy. And guess what? It didn't work. It never has. I can't explain what really clicked but after my trip to India, I found I was reconnected with myself, my life and where I'm at and part of that was my body. I'm healthy. I have 3 healthy children. I'm in a really good relationship. I'm surrounded by incredible people. I'm ever growing and changing. The fact that my pants are a double digit DON'T FUCKING MATTER. I have never in my life been a confident person. In fact, I'm not sure I even know what it feels like to be truly confident. But if there were ONE thing I had to choose as something to take away from this whole piece, it's to not waste your time not learning to at least like yourself. If you don't like something about yourself, figure out why and a healthy way to change it.  If you can't, ask for help. (Therapy was a fantastic option for me, personally.) Ain't NOBODY got time to waste not loving yourself. 

It is what it is, folks, and I'm totally fine with that. Finally.

Hating America isn't cool. 

This is something I've been struggling with how to communicate. I don't want to come across as a "world traveled know it all" now that I've taken a life changing trip. I also don't want to make the mistake of being yet another version of my "thought I knew better" self I mentioned earlier. But this is something striking I brought back with me from my trip. 
I met people who lived in feces. I met children who played in garbage. I stayed in a country where I did not feel safe alone. Despite a world opposite of my own, I connected with children who had the sweetest smiles and big open arms. I was welcomed in by people who hold hospitality to a high standard. And while I was over there, the few times I had WiFi I could not spend it on Facebook because to go from seeing the slums and log on to see people whining about Barbie's and screen time, I could not handle it. 

Now I completely understand all of India is not dangerous or dirty and I understand not all of America is safe and clean. I also know that as a white person living in the suburbs, I have not seen the worst of it. But I live in a place with clean water and the ability to go for a run safely on well paved roads and enjoy a glass of artisan wine and fair trade chocolate and by God, so do most people on Facebook who hate our country. I think Nationalism is a dangerous thing but I came home happy that this is my home. I do not take my country for granted anymore. My heart for travel is sparked even brighter and I am constantly plotting future endeavors to aid people like the amazing ones I met. We are not the best country in the world but we are not the worst. This is when my earlier point about complaining plays a big part, in my opinion. 

Vegetables are good. 

If you don't like vegetables, you're doing them wrong. This is serious. And this is also when you know you're a real live grownup. 

That's a leek, guys. A LEEK. And it was GOOD.
Vegetables can be beautiful, too.

Patience leads to more. 

The fact that I've rediscovered true patience is brand new to me. I find it's helping me parent better. It leads to me being a better listener to those I disagree with. It helps me deal with mean people at the grocery store. I beat levels on Candy Crush faster (I think so, let's go with it). I can deal with other people's children better too. (That's a big one.) I had no idea I lacked patience until just recently and I think we could all, including myself, exercise more of it. 

Take a big dose of patience, Snow. 

Take the selfie. 

Something seemingly very trivial that I've discovered I have changed my mind about are selfies. I don't like taking selfies of myself looking nice. If I do, I want someone else in the picture. If I take one of myself I need to look silly. I felt sharing pictures of just myself was vain and juvenile.
But I was part of a special day and I happened to feel refreshed and comfortable in my skin - which made me feel more beautiful than I have in a long time. However, I didn't want to capture that for fear of being too much like my teenage self. But now I have no pictures to remember that day. And when I'm having a bad day in the future that would be nice to look back on. And there's something about looking back and finding no evidence of yourself that feels a little...empty.

I am in no way trying to communicate that a picture of yourself is the only way to capture a moment or feeling or experience. But my aversion to pictures, especially selfies, has changed and I think it's good. Take more pictures of yourself without hesitation. Don't be afraid to share them if you'd like. You deserve to feel beautiful, strong and brave in your own being and capturing that in a picture is something you deserve as well.

So next time I'm on a rooftop with a gorgeous view about to see my husband and friend's band play after witnessing a friend's engagement, I will take a real picture as well as one where I just make a dumb face.


Reconnect to the people around you. To what you love. To where you are. To who you're with. You will either love it or find you need to change something. It's then you can weed those things out. 6 months ago I was in a pit of depression and I chose to remove myself from my world and go to the Upside Down for perspective. (Joking, but for real.) Do that. It will lead you to greater things. 

20's. You were good. Not really good to me but good for me. You were full of discomfort, but therein lies growth. You held heartache but that's how you know you're living. Several new chapters opened and closed. I met my 3 babies and kissed their faces. I saw parts of the world I dreamed of. I learned that my oblivious lack of knowledge gives me more in common with Jon Snow than I ever realized. (I do have my birth parents and don't have a direwolf and haven't been resurrected from the dead yet but I have no idea what my 30's have in store.)

And with that, I welcome my 30's.

1 comment:

  1. Very well-written! So glad you went to India. Love your insight.