I turn 31 today. I didn’t get a chance to wax sentimental last year when I entered my third decade, (something about having a baby or something) so I’ll do so now. The decade of my twenties was pretty magical. I spent the first half pursuing my dreams of advanced degrees, travel, and marriage. I spent the second half fully absorbed in my career as mother. And now I’m in my 30s. I can’t say it feels weird. I feel 30. For much of my 20s, even after I was a mother, I didn’t feel like a woman. Now I do. I’m not sure what changed, I’m sure some of it is that I feel the weight of life more now. I’m less carefree, more reserved. Motherhood has humbled me and laid bare many of the naive assumptions I’ve made in the past about life and child-rearing. Tom’s residency has been intense for both of us, and too often we’ve given up our own interests and passions for convenience sake. Looking ahead is interesting. What will my 30s hold? What are my goals? Who do I want to be when this decade comes to a close?
Today, in church I was pondering upon a realization I’d had earlier that I’ve been less pushy about Chiara walking. I remember being much more eager with Scotland and Anders. I kept thinking Come on, you ought to be able to walk by the time you’re one! I’d practice with them, and create situations where they’d have to walk between me and the couch for example. But now, I feel at content with the knowledge that Chiara will walk when she’s ready. It’s clear she’s working hard at it, she’s interested, she begs me to walk with her, I have faith that soon she’ll walk. Today, I was touched by the thought that Heavenly Father probably feels similarly about me. He has faith that one day, soon (in eternal terms) I’ll demonstrate the traits of godliness that I so dearly desire. He sees my effort, He acknowledges my growth and He’s not worried by my slips or falls. This came as a great comfort to me, because much of my big projects for this upcoming decade are in regards to my character and spirit. Full-time mothering has exposed a certain number of serious weaknesses in my character, weaknesses that I’m determined to overcome. I want to be more charitable- when others make it hard, I want to be more respectful- when others don’t seem to deserve it, I want to be more in tune and willing to hear and follow the promptings of the spirit. I want to be better at asking questions and sticking with them until I find answers. I want to engage more, appreciate more, and let negative things fall off my back easier.
In some ways, it’s hard to look back at that girl who was ten years ago, because there are parts of her I really want back. What I need to do, however, is not pine for the past, but rather determine in the now to merge the decidedly happy me of my twenties, with the more experienced and slightly more life-worn woman of my 30s into co-existence.
And so, this year, I determine to think deeper, love more, listen longer, feel fuller, and be more forgiving of myself and others when I do none of those things!