I turned 40. An event I anticipated would be heralded with some impressive celebrating and a hearty dose of grown up frolicking. Instead all I wanted to do was crawl in a cave and hide out until it blew over. What is wrong with me? I apologize in advance - this will be a different post from the usual here. I was raised that sharing your upsets, your heartbreaks, your sadness, your frustrations - all of these were not allowed. They just upset other people and that is a no-no of epic proportions. But...yet...here I go.
I had this idea in my head, one where 40 would be older, wiser, more in control. I would exude that confidence associated with people truly comfortable in their skin. I would have children that people wanted to be around. They would be the epitome of amazing homeschooled kids that would *prove* without a doubt that I was making the right choice for them. I would have a house that invited people in and made them want to be here. I would have a business that supported our family and our community. I would have a wonderful group of friends that stretched far and wide. I would be both cougar sexy and motherly. I would homestead, work, school, create, volunteer, nurture, inspire, change the world and do it in size 6 yoga pants and matching tiny tees. I would live up to at least some semblance of the overblown impossible ideals that are foisted upon women in my generation - the idea that you CAN have it all - that women for generations before us fought for us to be able to do ANYTHING.And you should do it all FABULOUSLY all the time.
You already know where this is going. Of course, that ideal is impossible. Of course I'm none of those things. Of course I'm not the only one that feels this way. Of course, I shouldn't let these feelings bog me down. And yet, it feels so...final. Like if I haven't gotten somewhere in the zip code of this ideal yet, there is no longer hope for it to happen. I'm overweight. I'm unhealthy and likely to kick off before my kids are grown if I can't fix that. Sexy isn't even in the running for an adjective in my descriptors. Size 6 was 17 years ago. My business continues to putter along - not supporting anyone, but taking time, energy and money. Our third home is in its fifth year of remodeling. Although doing it yourself is rewarding and cheaper, it takes so. darn. much. time. I have many, many acquaintances but few friends because I am a bad friend. My children, although delightful in so many ways, are frustrating...and frustrated. With me. With our chaotic life. Our schooling is sporadic - wonderful some days, not so much on others. Sara is starting into the pre-teen years of questioning - herself, me, the world as a whole. Alex has learning issues that make everything we work on...harder.
Then I start in on the self-doubt. Is it my fault he is that way? Something in the womb? Not enough stimulus in those first months? Not enough time together? Not enough intervention from outside sources? Do we work too much? Not enough? Why didn't we buy an easy house? Why do I volunteer with things that don't reward me back? Why can't I say no? Why don't I make friends easily? Why does my willpower suck? Am I ruining my children? Am I ruining me? Am I ruining EVERYTHING?
I *know* without a doubt that I should stop my whining. There are so many people in the world, and in my immediate life, that have it tougher by a stretch. Friends with kids who are sick, so sick that their time here is limited in ways I can't imagine. Friends who are losing parents. Friends with financial struggles that make my business grumbles pale in comparison. People with a whole host of problems that leave my little whines in the dust. But then there are also the people that make my life look just as cruddy as it feels. Friends with the proverbial "world on a string". Marathon running moms with impressive jobs, amazing children, perfect homes and adoring husbands. Are they really all of that? Probably not. The fabulous (and horrifying) thing about the internet is you can be just about whatever you want. Pinterest the right things, post the right things, link to the right things - anyone can create the idea of a perfect life. I *know* this all in my head...but my heart is another matter.
So, what now? A little baring of the soul is good for a cathartic cleansing (and I know that so few people read this blog that it isn't really like I'm throwing everything out to the whole wide world - one of the few times I am grateful for not being a big time blogger type!). I suppose it is good that the first born perfectionist in me will not allow me to just wallow in this for too long. People might find out how lame I really am. Better get on it and fix that. Therein being one of the problems. How? If I was capable of "fixing" it, wouldn't I have already done so? Why aren't I willing to make changes that help myself...my family...my life? Is it really that hard to put my well being first? Or maybe that is the problem...I'm too selfish? And back to the doubting we go. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.