I've also endured challenges in my recent years far tougher than anything I experienced in my twenties. I thought marrying young and being flat broke, scraping by was tough. In comparison though, those were fun times and we learned to get creative with finances (and how to pay off credit cards, even if slowly, ha!).
They say you don't know how tough you are until you have no other choice - I think that's a very true statement. Through the challenges I've faced in the first couple years of my thirties, I learned to be tougher and to speak up for myself. And, I think when you go through things that test your very ability to press on, thoughts like "does that person I met twice, who's a friend of so-and-so like me?" or "does that guy who told me hell no when I asked him to Sadie Hawkins in high school, that's on my Facebook now think I'm acceptable?" seem very unimportant.
The truths of who I really am and how I really feel are varied, but I'm learning to be ok with them outwardly in addition to inwardly - and when the outside and inside versions of me match, and people still want to hang out with me (no, not all of the people, and that's OK!) I am HAPPY. Like, truly happy.
The things I can openly think and feel, now that I'm in my thirties...Thoughts about sports...
(in no logical order whatsoever)
(in no logical order whatsoever)
I don't care for sports. I don't really enjoy watching or going to games, I don't care to spend money on tickets (I'd rather put it to other uses), I watch the clock when I'm at or watching a game. I think this partially stems from not really understanding the rules and fouls and finer points of most sports, so scoring and not scoring doesn't really make sense to me. My P.E. teachers didn't explain rules too much (that I can recall) and when I asked for clarification, I was the only kid who still seemed in the dark and that kind of explanation was too time consuming. Most my classmates had been playing sports for years by the time I played soccer for the first time (freshman year). It just wasn't something I did or understood well growing up, so it's kind of lost on me.
I also just can't get past the logic of it - I don't want to sit and watch someone play a game of sport any more than I want to watch someone else play Super Mario Brothers without giving me a turn, or watch two people play a game of chess. There are two exceptions to this rule: 1. Baseball - I kept score for high school baseball and I understand the rules. If I were to choose to watch a game, it would definitely be baseball, and I'd probably enjoy it, too. 2. My son's games. Whatever he wants to play, I'm there. Just because I didn't do the whole sports thing growing up, doesn't mean I want him to miss out on that experience and the opportunity to love and play sports.
I was raised in a conservative Christian household. Until recently, I'm pretty sure my beliefs better reflected my parents' or friends opinions than my own. I was uneducated on issues, candidates, policies, so I went along with what they thought. I was a registered Republican until about 4 years ago, when I switched to being an independent. Truth is, I absorb as much information as I'm able to (trying my best to find unbiased sources), then mentally do my best to play devil's advocate to both sides and motivations behind something. "Why would people want that? Who will it affect? How will it affect them? What costs will come into play? What are the consequences if it doesn't happen? Is it progress?" and then I have to decide based upon the issue. I can't side with either party all of the time or even most of the time, and despite my upbringing, I try really hard to separate church and state when I'm having these internal debates because I respect my own faith, and should it stop being the most common faith in the country, I wouldn't want to be forced to observe laws based on a faith I didn't have, so I can't believe in that for others either.
I'm not a perfect mom. I'm so far from perfect, I can't even see it in the rear view. But, I'm a loving mom. I have NO doubt that my kid knows I love him. I also know he's safe, happy, confident, healthy and has all of his basic needs met. I didn't make anything I found on Pinterest for his birthday party. I don't make home cooked breakfasts on weekdays (and when I do on weekends, usually he or the hubs complains about it anyway!) and he's perfectly happy with cereal and fruit or yogurt and Eggos. He even likes the healthy cereals you guys! I must be doing something right, right? (Kix and PLAIN Cheerios?! Who is this kid?) On the weekends, he probably has too much screen time. He's been playing with an iPhone since he was 2 and I'm pretty sure learned most of his letters and shapes from the apps I downloaded onto it for him. If knowing letters and shapes at two is wrong simply because it was delivered via screen - I don't need to be right. I love my kid so much, and even though I'm not the crafty mom, the on-time mom (hardly ever, sorry world), the perfectly-themed-handmade-holiday-class-treats mom (though I know her, she's my friend and she's ah-maaaaaazing), I've learned to accept that and be happy being the cuddly, snuggly mom who plays Wii and splits Icees and popcorn on Target runs.
When your goal is to please everyone, you always put yourself last. You don't value your free time, you feel like it's something you only "deserve" when everyone else has everything from you that you can give first. You can't say "no I can't" to a commitment, you find a way, even if it means giving up your last free weekend hour after working all week long.
I can't do this anymore!
EVERYONE deserves a chance to just BE. To decompress. To spend time alone, or with their immediate family or a couple close friends. Saying no sometimes is ok! I've learned that I need to value my time as much if not more than I value money (and I am good at being frugal and paying attention to my spending there...). I can't help but fixate on the thought that these are the "good old days" and I don't want to miss the fun times playing with my son, or chatting with my husband or being with friends who bring so much to my life. So, I've been working on passing on things and saying no for a change. It feels surprisingly good.
I'm really girly...
I used to think that admittedly enjoying makeup and shopping made me shallow. It made me high-maintenance or vain, so I'd try to downplay it. Then, I met a friend who loved those things as much as I did, and was totally open about it. Her fun blog posts about these things made me feel more normal for really liking them too. I love makeup because it's my creative outlet! I'm not good at crafts or sewing and I usually get tired of painting things halfway into the first coat - but with makeup, I get to experiment with color and shadows and light and accentuate the positive. When I apply it on someone else, I get to help them feel more beautiful than they typically see themselves. I get to mix and match and change looks each day. It's FUN to me.
I like shopping because the thrill of a bargain drives me. Finding something that is unique and beautiful in color, texture, pattern is like a treasure hunt. Liking these things doesn't make me shallow. They're just things I like - hobbies! Yay for hobbies!
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So... that felt good! I got to be honest here, in my little space of the web. I really like my thirties so far - and I hope this post will encourage others to embrace their truths and voices, maybe even sooner than I did! ;-)