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The brutal truth of me, without all the sugary coating.
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Monday, June 29, 2015

My Mid-Life Crisis: Part 1

Let's just jump right in, shall we? It's been a long while since I wrote anywhere except my personal diary. Now is not the time to pretend I could catch you up even if I wanted to, so we'll just begin where we are.

I'm having myself a little mid-life-crisis or something. Is thirty old enough for a mid-life crisis? You know what I mean, don't you? That moment when you realize you've done a grand total of almost nothing with your life, and you've already reached your no-more-exciting-birthdays age. With what to show for it? Next to nothing.

Before you argue with me, yes, I know I've (partially) raised three awesome boys, but stick with me. This one isn't about that.

I spent many years (I'm old enough to say that now) trying to prove to the world that having a baby at age 18 didn't make me any less capable, or give me any less potential than anyone else. Here I am, nearing my thirty-first birthday, facing the uncomfortable truth that I was wrong. I'm not like the others. I didn't accomplish what my peers did. My marriage WAS more likely to fail than theirs was! My stubbornness kept me from admitting that my added difficulties did, in fact, put me behind.

I started out life like my little Max, ahead of the game. People told me so many times, I accepted it as a core truth about myself, that I was more "mature", advanced, intelligent than others my age. But here's the thing about being ahead of the game: If you don't keep up the pace, the game catches up and passes you by. With an ego like mine (yes, I'm aware how unattractive this is), it's easy to not even notice I've come to a stand-still.

All this life experience with children, marriage, army, and divorce has further fooled me into believing I was moving forward, maybe even ahead of those silly "happy" people I grew up with. Sure, they went to college and married men with established careers. They may have started their families out in large houses, with working cars they could afford to register on time every year. But I was gaining real, salt-of-the-earth life experience, the kind that builds character and requires courage and endurance.

(See what I'm doing here? I'm insulting basically everyone I know who's ever been to college or married their sweetheart before reproducing. smh.)

In reality, "they" were right when they said the time between high school and marriage is crucial. It's just that I misunderstood them! I thought they were referring to the time you could spend having fun before you're "tied down". That was an easy sacrifice for me to make. Being "tied down" was my idea of fun! It turns out what they mean is, having children will stunt your emotional growth, leaving it wherever you were when you changed from personhood to motherhood.

Yes! I've learned much through motherhood! Don't get me wrong. But mostly what I've learned about is THEM. The children. Becoming a mother shifts all your efforts toward your offspring, and you, yourself, your core, independent being, is inevitably (and rightfully) neglected.

It's not that I regret one moment of it, but I am here now, feeling as if I'm sitting at Grand Central Station, trying to decide which city to buy a ticket for. And I'm ten, twelve years late in making the decision.


Part 2 of this post can be found here, or just click the "newer posts" link.

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